Judge blocks Trump’s plan to bar immigrants who can’t pay insurance

PORTLAND (US: A federal judge in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday put on hold a Trump administration rule requiring immigrants prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas.
US district Judge Michael Simon granted a temporary restraining order that prevents the rule from going into effect on Sunday. It’s not clear when he will rule on the merits of the case. Seven US citizens and a nonprofit organisation filed the federal lawsuit on Wednesday contending the rule would block nearly two-thirds of all prospective legal immigrants.
The suit also said the rule would greatly reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants who enter the US with family sponsored visas. “We’re grateful that the court recognised the need to block the health care ban immediately,” says Justice Action Center senior litigator Esther Sung, who argued at Saturday’s hearing on behalf of the plaintiffs.
The proclamation signed by President Trump in October applies to people seeking immigrant visas from abroad. It does not affect lawful permanent residents or apply to asylum-seekers, refugees or kids.
The proclamation says immigrants will be barred from entering the US unless they are to be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering or have enough financial resources to pay for any medical costs. The rule is the Trump administration’s latest effort to limit immigrant access to public programmes while trying to move US away from a family based immigration system to a merit-based system.
The White House said at the time the proclamation was issued that too many non-citizens were taking advantage of the country’s “public health programmes,” and said immigrants contribute to the problem of “uncompensated health care costs.” According to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, 57% of US immigrants had private health insurance in 2017, compared with 69% of US-born.