Federal Judge Blocks Trump Health Insurance Mandate


Last month this blog reported on the Trump Administration’s attempts to stymie family-based migration by introducing a new health insurance mandate. The  mandate required visa applicants to identify a specific health-insurance plan they had purchased and would be covered by within thirty days of entering the country.

Under the policy, immigrants were not allowed to use Medicaid, nor were they allowed to use Affordable Care Act subsidies, both of which are considered to be “government funds.”

Recently, US District Judge Michael Simon, a Federal Judge in Oregon, issued a preliminary injunction blocking this policy. This was the result of a law suit filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Innovation Law Lab, and the Justice Action Center, among others, as a class action complaint.

In the complaint, Plaintiffs noted: “The Proclamation seeks to unilaterally rewrite this country’s immigration laws, imposing a new ground of inadmissibility that Congress has expressly rejected, and creating requirements that will be extremely difficult, or impossible, for most otherwise qualified immigrant visa applicants to satisfy. In so doing, the Proclamation contravenes well-established and duly enacted immigration and healthcare laws, exceeds the scope of the President’s statutory authority, and violates Constitutional separation of powers and equal protection principles.”

They also noted that the ruling in fact “undermined its own stated goal of cutting some of the uncompensated care costs from the U.S. health care system.

A preliminary injunction doesn’t put a permanent end to the policy. It does ensure that the policy can’t be active while it’s moving through the courts.

In his opinion, Simon ruled this was “the sort of decision that fell to Congress to  make, not the president, and that the administration’s rule conflicted with the Immigration and Naturalization Act.” Simon also noted that this proclamation would have affected approximately 60% of all visa applicants. Finally, he said, “the president offers no national security or foreign relations justification for this sweeping change in immigration law.”

The law already prevents lawful permanent residents from getting Medicaid for their first five years in the country, though refugees, asylum seekers, and other types of non-citizens may take advantage of Medicaid. The ACA does make subsidies available to non-citizens who are in the country legally.

In the previous blog post we suggested it might be a good idea to reschedule visa interviews in the hopes that something like this would happen. Now that it has, it’s a good time to schedule an appointment with your immigration attorney to try to get your visa application pushed through and completed, before the administration tries anything else.

See also:

Is It A Crime to Encourage Undocumented Immigrants?

Three Legal Wins for Immigration

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