Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James said Monday that her office was suing the Trump administration over the new "public charge" that could deny permanent residency to hundreds of thousands of immigrants for being too poor.
"President Trump’s new public charge rule is yet one more example of his administration turning its back on people fighting to make a better life for them and their families," James said in a statement.
"Under this rule, children will go hungry; families will go without medical care. I am committed to defending all of New York’s communities, which is why I intend to sue the Trump Administration over this egregious rule," she said.
The rule, to take effect in mid-October, would reject applicants for temporary or permanent visas because they are unable to meet income standards or because they receive such public assistance as welfare, food stamps, public housing or Medicaid.
The change in the "public charge" rule seeks to ensure that immigrants "are self-sufficient" and "not depend on public resources to meet their needs, but rather rely on their own capabilities, as well as the resources of family members, sponsors, and private organizations," according to a notice published in the Federal Register.
"We certainly expect people of any income to be able to stand on their own two feet," Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said Monday. "A poor person can prepare to be self-sufficient ... so let's not look at that as the be-all end-all."
Two top California Democrats, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, also bashed the change, with Newsom saying in a statement that the state was "actively reviewing the details to determine next steps."
"This is a reckless policy that targets the health and well-being of immigrant families and communities of color, with widespread implications for our state’s health care, housing and affordability," Newsom said.
Becerra also said he would fight the change.
"It will harm our communities, schools, and workplaces by weaponizing essential healthcare, housing, and nutrition programs," the attorney general said in a statement. "We will not stand idly by while this administration targets programs that children and families across our state rely upon."
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