WASHINGTON (CNS) — A federal judge Oct. 11 blocked an attempt by the Trump administration to deny legal status to some immigrants who applied for social safety-net programs from the government.

Judge George B. Daniels of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York said the rule, set to go into effect Oct. 15, would have caused “irreparable harm.”

Some Catholic groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, had launched a legal fight against its implementation, and they lauded the action.


“We welcome this commonsense decision,” said Anna Gallagher, executive director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., known as CLINIC. “We hope it will ease the worries of our immigrant brothers and sisters who are fearful of using services to which they and their families have a right.”

The rule would have placed a roadblock on the path to legal immigration for immigrants who are poor and would have had to choose between facing hardship or obtaining a green card or other legal documents to stay in the country.

The USCCB had long argued against what came to be known as the “public charge rule.”

The chairmen of two USCCB committees voiced the bishops’ opposition to the proposed rule in an Aug. 13 statement.

“We have already seen the culture of fear that the anticipation of this rule has created in our communities. Ultimately, we believe that this rule is in tension with the dignity of the person and the common good that all of us are called to support,” said Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Migration, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

The National Immigration Law Center tweeted after the Oct. 11 decision was made public: “To immigrants and your families: Your families should continue to use the services for which you are eligible without fear.”