Judge Blocks Trump Order Mandating New Immigrants Prove They Have Health Insurance

November 4, 2019 Updated: November 4, 2019

A federal judge temporarily blocked an order from President Donald Trump’s administration that made new immigrants prove they have health insurance or are able to afford it, in the latest clash between the judicial and executive branches.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon, an appointee of President Barack Obama who is married to Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), ruled that the administration cannot apply the new order for 28 days. Another hearing on the order is slated for Nov. 22.

Simon said he believes the order is against the law. He also said he thinks the way it was issued violated procedures guiding public comments and other requirements of new rules the government institutes.

“Further, Plaintiffs have shown, at least thus far, that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of temporary relief, that the balance of hardships tips sharply toward Plaintiffs, and temporary relief is in the public interest,” he wrote in his order, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Trump had issued a presidential proclamation in early October calling for immigrants applying for green cards to prove they can get health insurance within 30 days of entering the country or show they could afford their own medical care.

texas border
Border Patrol agents apprehend seven illegal immigrants from China, one from Mexico, and one from El Salvador after they tried to evade capture after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States near McAllen, Texas, on April 18, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

“Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs,” the presidential proclamation stated. “Continuing to allow entry into the United States of certain immigrants who lack health insurance or the demonstrated ability to pay for their healthcare would be detrimental to these interests.”

Plaintiffs expressed relief over Simon blocking the rule.

“We’re very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the health care ban immediately,” Justice Action Center senior litigator Esther Sung, who made arguments for plaintiffs over the weekend, told The Associated Press. “The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped.”

The White House released a statement criticizing the decision.

“We strongly disagree with the district court’s decision to impose a nationwide injunction against the President’s policy on a preliminary, emergency basis over the weekend without even affording the government an opportunity to provide a written defense. Once again, a nationwide injunction is permitting a single judge to thwart the President’s policy judgment on a matter where Congress expressly gave the President authority,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

“Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act plainly states that, ‘[w]henever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens would be detrimental to the interests of the United States,’ he may ‘impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.’ As the Supreme Court held in a recent landmark case, this statute ‘exudes deference to the President in every clause.'”

“It is wrong and unfair for a single district court judge to thwart the policies that the President determined would best protect the United States healthcare system — and for the United States taxpayers to suffer the grave consequences of the immense strain inflicted on the healthcare system from subsidizing uncompensated care for those seeking admission,” she added.

“The Administration looks forward to the opportunity to make its defense in court, and it will continue to vigorously defend the President’s policies to protect the interests of the American people.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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