Judge blocks Trump administration from denying green cards to poor immigrants

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The so-called 'public charge' rule was set to take effect on Oct. 15.

A federal judge in New York has temporarily blocked Donald Trump's so-called "public charge" rule, a plan to deny green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps and other government benefits.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels' ruling Friday prevents the policy from taking effect Oct. 15.

The Trump administration had proposed that immigrants be disqualified from getting legal U.S. residency if they were likely to become a burden on public welfare programs.

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The injunction puts the policy on hold while a lawsuit over the police advances.

The lawsuit in New York is one of several legal challenges nationwide to one of Trump's most aggressive steps to cut legal immigration. Advocates say the rule changes are discriminatory because they would deny legal residency and visas to immigrants who don't have money.

In August, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, came under fire for his response to questions about the public charge rule, after he revised the words from the poem "The New Colossus" at the foot of the Statue of Liberty to be less friendly to poorer immigrants.

"Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus' words etched on the Statue of Liberty, 'give me your tired, your poor' are also part of the American ethos?" NPR's Rachel Martin asked Cuccinelli at the time.

"They certainly are. 'Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,'" he said, notably adding to the famous poem.

The original poem, written in 1883 and mounted on the statue in 1903, in fact reads, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me."

Others in the Trump administration, including senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, the architect of many of Trump's most draconian immigration policies, have previously tried to dismiss the poem's original meaning for their own benefit.

In an angry exchange with CNN's Jim Acosta in August 2017, Miller suggested "The New Colossus" was only added to the Statue of Liberty "later" and was not actually reflective of the country's values.

White nationalists like former KKK grand wizard David Duke and Richard Spencer have used this argument in the past.