Federal judge blocks Trump's insurance mandate for immigrants

By Darryl Coote
A federal judge blocked a proclamation by President Donald Trump to deny visas to immigrants who lack healthcare. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A federal judge blocked a proclamation by President Donald Trump to deny visas to immigrants who lack healthcare. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 27 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Oregon has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against a Trump administration rule to require immigrants to show proof of insurance before being granted visas.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon issued the injunction Tuesday, saying the proclamation President Donald Trump made early October to bar immigrants from entering the United States unless they had proof of insurance or had the financial resources to pay for medical costs was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.


In his ruling, Simon also said the case's main legal question was not whether requiring immigrants to have insurance is "good public policy" but whether the Constitution armed either Congress or the president with the power to make such a proclamation, which he said it did not as "the proclamation was not issued under any properly delegated authority."

Trump issued Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants who will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System on Oct. 4, saying it is detrimental to the nation and its healthcare industry to continue allowing entry to immigrants without assurances that they can care for their medical needs.


"While our healthcare system grapples with the challenges caused by uncompensated care, the United States government is making the problem worse by admitting thousands of aliens who have not demonstrated any ability to pay for their healthcare costs," Trump said in the proclamation.

Simon issued the order to a case brought against the Trump administration by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Innovation Law Lab, Sidley Austin LLP and the Justice Action Center who described the proclamation as an unconstitutional effort to "permanently separate families."

"During this Thanksgiving week, we are so grateful for this court ruling that will keep families together and allow other families to reunite," said Esther Sung, senior litigator at the Justice Action Center. "This decision is an important check on the Trump administration's effort to rewrite our nation's immigration and healthcare laws in violation of the boundaries set out in the Constitution."

Those who would have been subjected to the rule change include spouses, parents and children of U.S. citizens and immediate family members of lawful permanent residents.

The ruling follows Simon issuing a temporary injunction on Nov. 2 against the proclamation that was to go in effect the next day in order to hear arguments on the new rule.


The lawyer groups, in a joint press release, said that in the month since the injunction was awarded, approximately 25,000 visas were granted that would have been declined if the proclamation was enacted.

"The egregiousness of the proclamation demanded urgent action to save so many affected immigrants and their loved ones," said Jesse Bless, director of federal litigation for AILA. "We are tremendously grateful that our efforts have stooped the president from harming so many immigrant families."

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