A New York federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from implementing a rule next week that would have targeted lower-income immigrants as part of an effort to curb legal immigration.
"This rule would have had devastating impacts on New Yorkers and our nation, and today's decision is a critical step in our efforts to uphold the rule of law," New York Attorney General James said on Twitter, after the judge's decision.
The rule is part of President Donald Trump's broad push to favor skilled and wealthy immigrants over others.
Roughly 380,000 more applicants seeking legal immigration status would have been reviewed under the new rule, according to the government's own analysis. Hundreds of thousands more could have been affected if they avoided public benefits because they feared it would disqualify them from obtaining legal status, according to immigration advocates.
The new regulation would take an expanded look at public services, to include Medicaid and food stamps, that would be used to test whether an immigrant would required taxpayer-funded assistance.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services took a step forward on Wednesday, releasing "self-sufficiency" forms to evaluate prospective immigrants' income, debt and education levels.
Multiple lawsuits from states and from immigrants nationwide were in progress when Judge George B. Daniels of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York made his ruling on Friday. With further judicial review expected, the Trump administration official in charge of implementing the new policy doesn't appear to be backing down.
"Long-standing federal law requires aliens to rely on their own capabilities and the resources of their families, sponsors and private organizations in their communities to succeed," USCIS acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said Friday. "Through faithful execution of the law, we will ensure immigrants are able to successfully support themselves as they seek opportunity here."