Attorney General Kwame Raoul confirmed with ABC 7 that Illinois is among the states to join the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in Richland, Washington. The suit follows a similar one filed Tuesday by two California counties.
Illinois AG @KwameRaoul says Illinois has joined a lawsuit filed by the AG in Washington state challenging the Trump administration’s “public charge” that requires immigrants to prove they will be self-sufficient if they come to America. @ABC7Chicago— Craig Wall ABC 7 (@craigrwall) August 14, 2019
The legal action comes after the Trump administration announced Monday that it is moving ahead with one of its most aggressive steps to restrict legal immigration, denying green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.
Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S. - a "public charge" - but the new rules detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.
Much of President Donald Trump's effort to crack down on illegal immigration has been in the spotlight, but this rule change targets people who entered the United States legally and are seeking permanent status. It's part of a push to move the U.S. to a system that focuses on immigrants' skills instead of emphasizing the reunification of families.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers will now weigh public assistance along with other factors such as education, household income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.
The attorneys general argue the expansion will cause "irreparable harm" and deter noncitizens from seeking "essential" public assistance.
The lawsuit names the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. A spokesman didn't return a message left by the Associated Press on Wednesday.
The states involved include: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.
The rules will take effect in mid-October. They don't apply to U.S. citizens, even if the U.S. citizen is related to an immigrant who is subject to them.