Appeals judges skeptical of lifting pause on President Trump’s ‘public charge’ immigration overhaul

A panel of appeals court judges appeared inclined Tuesday to allow a nationwide pause on President Trump’s plan to overhaul immigration policies for people on public assistance to remain in place.

An attorney from the Department of Justice asked the three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan to let the Trump administration proceed with changes to the “public charge” rule targeting legal immigrants receiving benefits like food stamps, Medicaid and housing vouchers.

But Judge Guido Calabresi didn’t see why the government was in such a hurry.

“Has there been a declaration by the president or by anyone that this is an emergency?” Calabresi asked. “That this has to be done immediately?”

DOJ Attorney Daniel Tenny conceded Trump had not declared such an emergency.

Judge Susan Carney questioned the government’s claims it would be “irreparably harmed” by a delay.

The government was appealing a scathing decision in October by Manhattan Federal Judge Charles Daniels, who imposed a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the rule from going into effect.

Daniels called the policy change “repugnant to the American Dream.”

The Trump administration has said the changes will protect American taxpayers from paying for immigrants who are not self-sufficient.

Ken Cuccinelli, Trump’s Citizenship and Immigration Services director, notoriously defended the policy by suggesting an edit to the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” only applied to “people coming from Europe,” Cuccinelli said.

The poem, he suggested, should be updated to “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge.”

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