Thirteen US states led by Washington Attorney General Robert Ferguson (D) filed a lawsuit over the Trump administration’s new “public charge” rule, The Hill reported .
The states are suing the Department of Homeland Security over the new rule that expands the government’s ability to deny entry or green cards to legal immigrants based on their use of public services. The rule, announced Monday, is set to go into effect on October 15.
The lawsuit, co-led by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, is the first to be filed by states against the rule and the second overall challenge since the government rolled out the rule. The other attorneys general filing suit include those from Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Rhode Island.
In the 169-page complaint, Ferguson said the rule is unlawful as it changes the “longstanding meaning” of the term “public charge,” arguing that it violates the Immigration and Nationality Act.
“The Trump Administration’s message is clear: if you’re wealthy you’re welcome, if you’re poor, you’re not,” Ferguson said in a statement.
The lawsuit also has the support of Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat hoping to take on Trump for the presidency in 2020.
“I fully support this action by the Attorney General to stand against the devastating impacts of this xenophobic policy,” he said in a release announcing the lawsuit.
The Trump administration has defended the rule change as a way to promote “the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility.”