Federal judges in two states on Friday issued national preliminary injunctions blocking the Trump administration's public charge rule from taking effect next week.
Judges in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Eastern District of Washington both issued national injunctions. A federal judge in California also issued an injunction on Friday, although it was more limited in scope.
From here, the government may choose to appeal both national rulings, said Ed Walz, a spokesman for groups behind one of the public charge lawsuits in California, including the National Immigration Law Center. If so, it will need to go through appellate processes in both districts.
"Having two nationwide injunctions is better than one," he said.
The states of Connecticut, New York and Vermont, along with New York City, sued the Trump administration in August over the rule, which would broaden the federal government's ability to deny green cards and visas to immigrants who use or have used government assistance programs like food stamps or Medicaid.
The rule was set to take effect Oct. 15.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge George Daniels in New York wrote that preventing the economic and public health harms the plaintiffs alleged would take place if the rule was implemented provides a significant public benefit. He cited language from the government's notice of proposed rulemaking that acknowledged the rule could cause worse health outcomes, increased emergency room use and increased prevalence of communicable diseases, among other harmful effects.
"Moreover, there is no public interest in allowing Defendants to proceed with an unlawful, arbitrary, and capricious rule that exceeds their statutory authority," he wrote.
In a news release, New York Attorney General Letitia James said the rule would have had devastating impacts on New York and states across the country.
"Once again, the courts have thwarted the Trump administration's attempts to enact rules that violate both our laws and our values, sending a loud and clear message that they cannot rewrite our story to meet their agenda," she said. "This rule would have had devastating impacts on all New Yorkers—citizens and non-citizens alike—and today's decision is a critical step in our efforts to uphold the rule of law. As long as our communities are under attack from this federal government, we will never stop fighting back."
The California Hospital Association is among the groups that oppose the public charge rule. The group's CEO signed a declaration to that effect.
"People shouldn't have to worry how they're going to get care if they get sick, regardless of what their immigration status is," association spokeswoman Jan Emerson-Shea said. "Hospitals have never been a place where we ask the citizenship question. That's just not what we do."
Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said in a statement that the public charge attack is about sending one message: If you're not white or you're not wealthy, you're not welcome.
"We will continue to fight to defend children and their families until the public charge rule is ultimately struck down," she said, "because it has no place in a country that's supposed to be the land of freedom and justice for all."
Beth Feldpush, senior vice president of policy and advocacy with America's Essential Hospitals, said in a statement that her organization applauds the ruling.
"The public charge rule puts the health of millions of people at risk by making it more likely they forgo care to avoid putting their legal immigration status at risk," she said. "It also threatens to destabilize hospitals for the vulnerable by adding new uncompensated care costs to already thin margins."