New Jersey joins 12 other states in lawsuit against green card rule

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New Jersey, along with 12 other states, filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to challenge new rules surrounding green cards for legal immigrants.

Under the new rules, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will now weigh whether applicants have received public assistance along with other factors such as education, income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.

New Jersey leaders say that the new rule “effectively imposes a means test on legal immigration.”

“No family should ever have to choose between staying in America and having access to health care, food, and housing,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal reiterated the governor’s thoughts.

RELATED: Over 700K in NJ could lose benefits under Trump administration new immigrant rule 
RELATED: New rules to deny green cards to many legal immigrants 

“The American Dream has always been about opportunity for all, not just the wealthy, but now our federal government is trying to keep out immigrants seeking to build a new life here, as families have done since the founding of our nation,” he said in a statement.

The lawsuit states that the new policy is inconsistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act, which does allow immigration authorities to deny admission to the U.S. to someone likely to become a “public charge” – or someone primarily dependent on the government for support. The complaint says the administration’s move “expands the definition to deny admission to adults who make nearly any use of various government assistance programs.”

But those who oppose the policy say that it could potentially “deny admission to adults who make nearly any use of various government assistance programs, including Medicaid, Section 8 housing assistance, and food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”

But White House officials say that the new policy is to make sure that new immigrants are able to support themselves.

“Throughout our history, self-reliance has been a core principle in America. The virtues of perseverance, hard work, and self-sufficiency laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States,” Head of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli said Monday when announcing the policy.

The rules will take effect in mid-October. They don't apply to U.S. citizens, though immigrants related to the citizens may be subject to them.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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