Advocates Sue Trump Administration Over Rule Targeting Immigrants of Color

By Shani Saxon Aug 19, 2019

Several immigration rights advocacy groups filed a lawsuit on Friday (August 16) in opposition to the updated Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, also known as the public charge rule, according to an emailed statement. 

As Colorlines previously reported, the new rule, which will disproportionally impact people of color, “…seeks to limit immigration by broadening what it means to be a ‘public charge,’ or someone who depends on federal benefits. And it makes factors like wealth, education, age and English-language skills more valuable to those looking for a path to citizenship.”

The suit—filed by La Clínica de la Raza, African Communities Together, California Primary Care Association, Central American Resource Center, Council on American Islamic Relations—California, Farmworker Justice, Korean Resource Center, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County and Maternal and Child Health Access—calls the rule change “unlawful.” The nonprofit groups say the Trump administration’s decision to implement the rule was driven by racism. From the emailed statement:


…the regulation was motivated by racial bias against non-White immigrants and asks the court to strike it down as a violation of Equal Protection under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As indicators of a motivating racial animus, the complaint cites the administration’s acknowledgement that the policy will have a disparate impact on families of color, President Donald Trump’s own racist statements and his administration’s other racially-biased policies.

Antionette Dozier, senior attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, one of the organizations representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, stressed the importance of calling out the administration’s biases. “This rule change is a direct attack on communities of color and their families, and furthers this administration’s desire to make this country work primarily for the wealthy and White,” she said. “Our immigration system cannot be based on the racial animosities of this administration, or whether or not people are wealthy.”

California, Maine, Pennsylvania, Oregon and the District of Columbia also filed suit on Friday, USA Today reports. That complaint says the new rule targets “marginalized populations, such as children, students, individuals with disabilities, older adults and low-wage working families." The suit also asserts that the policy interferes with states’ rights. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra spoke at the state capital on Friday, where they took aim at the president and his team. “Not everyone starts out life with millions gifted by daddy,” Becerra said of Trump. “We are going to fight against this rule in court not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is an economic imperative to do.”