New York and two other states are suing the Trump administration to block the changes to the "public charge" rule from taking effect. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 20 (UPI) -- New York and two other states are suing federal agencies to block the Trump administration from implementing new citizenship rules.
New York Attorney General Letitia James wants to challenge the "public charge" expansion rule that would deny immigrants green cards, visas and other status changes if they used public welfare or benefits.
Connecticut and Vermont joined New York in the lawsuit, arguing that many families eligible for public assistance have dropped out because they don't want to hurt their changes at getting a green card and, eventually, citizenship.
"Quite simply, under this rule, more children will go hungry, more families will go without medical care and more people will be living in the shadows and on the streets," James said. "We cannot and we will not let that happen."
The Trump administration said the rule protects American taxpayers and ensures "that non-citizens in this country are self-sufficient and not a strain on public resources."
The rule is scheduled to take effect in October but the lawsuit will ask a judge to block it.
The idea of basing an application decision on whether the applicant used food stamps, Medicaid or housing subsidies has been around since 1996. But the new proposal would affect more people.
The plaintiffs argue that the rule discriminates against people of color.
"Generations of citizens landed on the welcoming shores of Ellis Island with nothing more than a dream in their pockets," James said. "The Trump administration's thinly veiled efforts to only allow those who meet their narrow ethnic, racial and economic criteria to enter out nation is a clear violation of our laws and our values."
The lawsuit also lists other times the Trump administration targeted minorities, including attempts to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the ban on travelers from Muslim majority countries and ending protections for refugees from Central America.