President Trump’s animus toward immigrants was on display again last week when he used an interview with Breitbart News to again promote his biased view that immigrants are a drain on public resources: “I don’t want to have anyone coming in that’s on welfare” and “we’re not allowing it.”
Indeed, Trump and his administration have acted on his hostility towards immigrants, especially immigrants of color. In January 2018 the Trump administration sought to limit immigration to the United States by illegally expanding the State Department’s definition of who may be considered a “public charge,” in order to deny more visas on that basis.
This policy violates federal laws governing administrative agencies, including the Constitution’s guarantee of Equal Protection, so we and the City of Baltimore are taking Trump to court to stop it.
According to recently-released State Department data, visa denials increased more than 300% after the unlawful change was implemented.
The State Department’s unlawful change allows consular officers to consider whether visa applicants, their family members—including U.S. citizen family members—or their sponsors have received a wide range of non-cash benefits, including vaccinations, Head Start, and free school lunches.
Since the enactment of the expanded public charge definition, FY2018 visa statistics show that the Department initially rejected 13,450 immigrant visas. This represents a 316 percent increase from 2017, when 3,237 immigrant visas were initially denied on public charge grounds.
The State Department’s change was cut from the same cloth as the President’s hateful stereotypes about immigrants. This attempt to discriminate against and harm immigrant families is illegal and must be stopped.