Baltimore sues Trump administration over immigration policy

Baltimore sues Trump administration over immigration policy
© Greg Nash

The city of Baltimore is suing the Trump administration for its efforts to make it more difficult for immigrants who receive public benefits to gain legal status in the U.S.

The Trump administration has moved to treat noncash benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing vouchers as a negative factor against immigrants who are seeking to remain in the United States.

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Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said in a statement that the Trump administration's efforts are "an affront to the ideals and principles on which this nation was founded."

“Baltimore is a welcoming City, known for embracing immigrants and also benefiting from their many contributions,” Pugh said. “We are determined to resist this latest attempt to deprive our immigrant communities of basic services and are confident we will prevail.”

Baltimore filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

The State Department in January revised the Foreign Affairs Manual's definition of "public charge," which refers to a person who is dependent on cash assistance. If a person is considered likely to become a public charge, they can be denied entry into the U.S or legal status.

The State Department's amendments allow consular officers to also consider whether visa applicants or their relatives have relied on noncash benefits, according to the city of Baltimore's press release Wednesday.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also announced in September that it was proposing a similar change that would make immigrants who receive or are likely to receive noncash benefits ineligible for legal status.  

“Under long-standing federal law, those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenPentagon authorizes B in counter-drug money for Trump's border wall Clinton calls for people to sign petition to help DACA recipient detained by ICE Hillicon Valley: Nunes sues Twitter for 0 million | Trump links tech giants to 'Radical Left Democrats' | Facebook settles suits over ad discrimination | Dems want answers over spread of New Zealand shooting video MORE said in a statement at the time the rule was proposed.