On Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, the U.S. government faced intense questioning from a Seventh Circuit Appeals panel considering whether to lift a lower court order temporarily blocking the Trump administration from enforcing its public charge immigration rule in Illinois. Under the rule, immigrants could have their applications for permanent residence in the United States rejected if they used, or are deemed likely to use, even minimal amounts of non-cash supplemental benefits, including Medicaid.
Goldberg Kohn Principal David Morrison argued the case for Cook County before a three-judge panel. Cook County is partnering with a coalition of 100 non-profits to enjoin the new rule. Mr. Morrison asserted that a predictable effect of the new rule is that some immigrants who would be eligible for public benefits will choose not to take them out of fear that using public benefits would hurt their or their family‘s immigration status. He said this would result in more visits to the emergency room by immigrants cut off from or afraid to apply for benefits such as Medicaid, and shift the financial burden of care from the federal government to Cook County.
But the predictable chilling effect on non-citizens is perhaps most damaging. “It is an untenable choice to make someone choose between their health care and their immigration status,” Mr. Morrison argued.
The arguments before the court were covered by a number of media outlets with stories linked below.