The city of Baltimore has sued the Trump administration due to a rule change at the State Department that they believe is discriminatory against immigrants.
In filing the suit Wednesday, Nov. 28, city officials said the State Department changed the “public charge” rules in January to deter immigrant residents from claiming benefits they’re entitled to, such as food stamps, housing vouchers and Medicaid.
The city officials argue the change will scare lawful immigrants from seeking assistance and make it harder for their relatives to get visas to come to the U.S, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The nonprofit Democracy Forward, which filed the lawsuit with the city, aims to expose injustices within the federal executive branch.
“These aren’t benefits that an immigrant or their family is going to rely on exclusively — these are benefits that are supposed to give families a little extra help when they need them,” said John Lewis, an attorney with the organization.
The suit names President Donald Trump, the State Department and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo as defendants. It said the change violates federal laws governing administrative agencies, including the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, The Sun reported.
In its lawsuit, Baltimore asserts the U.S. State Department earlier this year quietly expanded its definition of “public charge” — someone, or an immigrant the United States deems likely to be primarily dependent on government aid. It says the change is not only frightening legally entitled immigrants from applying for public programs but impeding otherwise eligible immigrants from entering the country in the first place.
Mayor Catherine Pugh said her city is “known for embracing immigrants” and that the Trump administration’s creation of “additional obstacles” is un-American and a perversion of national ideals, The Associated Press reported.
“We are determined to resist this latest attempt to deprive our immigrant communities of basic services,” Pugh said.