The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a preliminary injunctions against the immigrant visa public charge requirement issued by a presidential proclamation. Originally implemented on November 3, 2019, immigrant visa applicants at U.S. Consulates abroad must prove either that they will acquire approved health insurance within thirty days of their entry into the U.S. or that they have means to pay for reasonable medical expenses while they are in the U.S. Failure to do so will result in a denial. This new regulation will apply for employment based, family based, and diversity visa applicants abroad. It does not include applicants applying for adjustment of status in the U.S. For more information about the proclamation and the type of applicants that are exempt, please click here.
A lawsuit was filed to challenge the requirement in November 2019 and the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon temporarily blocked the proclamation. In upholding the preliminary injunction, the appeal court ruled that the president’s authority to restrict the entry of foreign nationals to the U.S. on “purely long-term economic grounds” is not limitless. The court also ruled that the proclamation likely conflicts with other federal laws, including the Affordable Care Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and the public charge provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
While the preliminary injunction will remain in place for now, its immediate impact is limited as immigrant visa issuance at U.S. consulates is largely suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump Administration is likely to challenge the appeals court decision.
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