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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Northwestern: Medical Student Helps Examine Impact of Public Charge Immigration Rule

In October 2018, the Trump administration published a broadened proposal of the Public Charge Rule which would deny green cards to immigrants in the U.S. who might be dependent on government assistance programs like Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers.

Last summer, second-year medical student Ms. Salem Argaw began working with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and was, as she recalls, in the right place at the right time. She joined ICIRR staff and administered a survey to its 23 partner organizations, asking how the proposed rule might affect immigrants in Cook County and the likelihood that their clients would remain enrolled in government assistance programs following the rule’s enactment.

That research then was used to support a class-action lawsuit filed by ICIRR and Cook County in federal court to block the rule deemed as discriminatory against poor immigrants. The study’s findings among other evidence and testimony ultimately helped persuade a federal judge in Chicago to issue a temporary injunction on the rule, standing with other federal courts including New York, California and Washington state and preventing the rule from going into effect nationwide in October 2019.

Recently in a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court permitted the Trump administration to move forward with the rule, lifting the temporary nationwide injunction. In the coming months, lower courts are expected to hear lawsuits regarding the proposed rule once again.

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