Harlem’s Rep Espaillat And Tri-Caucus Members File Amicus Brief Opposing Trump’s Rule

September 13, 2019

This week, Members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus – which includes the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) – filed amicus briefs opposing the Trump Administration’s public charge rule.

The cases La Clínica de la Raza et al. v. Trump et al. (Northern District of California), State of California et al. v. Department of Homeland Security et al. (Northern District of California), State of New York et al. v. Department of Homeland Security et al. (Southern District of New York), and Make the Road New York et al. v. Cuccinelli et al. (Southern District of New York).

The amicus briefs argue that the public charge rule was written with discriminatory intent against non-white, non-European immigrants and violates both the Equal Protection Clause and the Administrative Procedure Act. The brief cites as evidence statements by President Trump and high-ranking officials in his administration and data showing the disproportionately harmful impact on Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, and Black immigrants the public charge rule would have if it goes into effect.

The public charge rule would expand the definition of who is considered a “public charge” and consequently make it more difficult for immigrants to come to the United States or receive green cards if they are likely to use benefits they are legally entitled to such as Medicaid, housing assistance, and nutrition assistance. The rule will go into effect on October 15, 2019 unless a preliminary injunction is granted.

The amicus brief was led by Tri-Caucus leaders including CAPAC Chair Judy Chu, CHC Whip Harlem’s Adriano Espaillat (photo), CBC Immigration Task Force Chair Yvette D. Clarke, CHC Chair Joaquin Castro, CBC Chair Karen Bass, CAPAC Immigration Task Force Chair Pramila Jayapal, and CAPAC Healthcare Task Force Chair Barbara Lee.

The members released the following joint-statement on behalf of the Congressional Tri-Caucus:

“The Tri-Caucus believes the Trump Administration’s public charge rule was written with the clear intent of intimidating and discriminating against immigrants of color. The rule is yet another attempt by the Trump Administration to create an immigration system that is stacked against non-European, non-white immigrants in favor of the wealthy.

“If this rule goes into effect, its impact on communities of color will be staggering. Under the rule, immigrants who utilize benefit programs they are legally entitled to or who fail to meet specific income thresholds would have negative factors applied to their applications for admission or requests for changes to their immigration status or classification. Within the Latino community, 33% of all Latinos in the United States would be negatively impacted and 81% of immigrants from Mexico and Central American would have at least one ‘negative factor’ applied to their application. Within the AAPI community, 41% of immigrants from Asian countries who are currently recent lawful permanent resident would now have two or more ‘negative factors’ applied to their applications under the rule. Within the Black community, Black immigrants who face employment and wage discrimination would be disproportionally at risk for having ‘negative factors’ applied to their applications. As a result, we have already heard heartbreaking stories of immigrant families disenrolling from critical programs their families need due to fears of jeopardizing their future in America.

“The public charge rule embodies the Trump Administration’s blatant and consistent disregard for our nation’s historical commitment to an immigration system that values diversity and the contributions of immigrants from all walks of life. The Tri-Caucus will continue to speak out against this cruelty and fight both through legislation and in the courts to ensure this rule is never implemented.”

The full amicus brief can be viewed here.

The below Members of the Tri-Caucus signed on to the brief:

  1. Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán
  2. Rep. Karen Bass
  3. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester
  4. Rep. Salud O. Carbajal
  5. Rep. Joaquin Castro
  6. Rep. Judy Chu
  7. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke
  8. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver
  9. Rep. J. Luis Correa
  10. Rep. TJ Cox
  11. Rep. Danny K. Davis
  12. Rep. Val Demings
  13. Rep. Veronica Escobar
  14. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo
  15. Rep. Adriano Espaillat
  16. Rep. Ruben Gallego
  17. Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia
  18. Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García
  19. Rep. Jimmy Gomez
  20. Rep. Al Green
  21. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
  22. Rep. Deb Haaland
  23. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton
  24. Rep. Steven Horsford
  25. Rep. Pramila Jayapal
  26. Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
  27. Rep. Barbara Lee
  28. Rep. Ted W. Lieu
  29. Rep. Grace Meng
  30. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
  31. Rep. Grace F. Napolitano
  32. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  33. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard
  34. Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
  35. Rep. Linda T. Sánchez
  36. Rep. José E. Serrano
  37. Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
  38. Rep. Albio Sires
  39. Rep. Darren Soto
  40. Rep. Mark Takano
  41. Rep. Bennie Thompson
  42. Rep. Norma J. Torres
  43. Rep. Juan Vargas
  44. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez
  45. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman

First elected to Congress in 2016, Rep. Adriano Espaillat is serving his second term in Congress where he serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Small Business Committee. He serves as a Senior Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) where he also serves in a leadership role as CHC Whip. He is also chairman of the CHC Task Force for Transportation, Infrastructure and Housing. Rep. Espaillat’s Congressional District includes Harlem, East Harlem, northern Manhattan and the north-west Bronx. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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