Things That Matter

Trump Suffers Another Court Loss As A Federal Judge Blocks Rule Requiring Migrants Have Health Insurance

The Trump Administration has been working hard to limit who can and cannot come to the United States as a migrant. From policies that force migrants to ‘remain in Mexico’ while their claims are processed to separating families and locking them away, Trump has proved that cruelty is the point of his immigration policies.

The government, under Trump, has been moving to severely limit immigration to the US and a rule requiring immigrants secure health insurance within 30 days of arrival was one such rule that flew in the face of traditional American immigration policy.

A federal judge has, at least temporarily, blocked Trump’s xenophobic policy from taking hold.

A federal judge in Portland, Oregon, has put on hold a Trump administration rule requiring immigrants to prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas.

US district judge Michael Simon granted a temporary restraining order that prevented the rule from going into effect Sunday. It was not clear when he would rule on the merits of the case.

Seven US citizens and a non-profit organization filed the federal lawsuit on Wednesday, contending the rule would block nearly two-thirds of all prospective legal immigrants. The lawsuit also said the rule would greatly reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants who enter the US with family sponsored visas.

“We’re very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the healthcare ban immediately,” said Justice Action Center senior litigator Esther Sung, who argued at a hearing on Saturday on behalf of the plaintiffs.

“The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped.”

The legal decision protects migrants from the anti-American rule change.

Judge Simon said the potential damage to families justified a US-wide ban. 

“Facing a likely risk of being separated from their family members and a delay in obtaining a visa to which family members would otherwise be entitled is irreparable harm,” his legal order read.

Would-be immigrants had been struggling to establish how to get the required insurance coverage. The US healthcare system is complex, and has not generally catered to people yet to arrive there.

Trump’s proposed rule would of placed an undue burden on already marginalized groups.

The proclamation signed by Donald Trump in early October applies to people seeking immigrant visas from abroad, not those in the US already. It does not affect lawful permanent residents. It does not apply to asylum seekers, refugees or children.

The proclamation says immigrants will be barred from entering the US unless they are to be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering or have enough financial resources to pay for any medical costs.

It is the Trump administration’s latest effort to limit immigrant access to public programs while trying to move the US away from a family based immigration system to a merit-based system.

The White House said in a statement when the proclamation was issued that too many non-citizens were taking advantage of the country’s “generous public health programs” and said immigrants contribute to the problem of “uncompensated healthcare costs”.

Under the government’s visa rule, the required insurance can be bought individually or provided by an employer and it can be short-term coverage or catastrophic. Medicaid doesn’t count, and an immigrant cannot get a visa if using the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies when buying insurance. The federal government pays for those subsidies.

Many pointed out the xenophobia behind the rule change and how it goes against American ideals.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan immigration thinktank, 57% of US immigrants had private health insurance in 2017, compared with 69% of US-born individuals, and 30% had public health insurance coverage, compared with 36%.

The uninsured rate for immigrants dropped from 32% to 20% from 2013 to 2017, since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to Migration Policy. About 1.1 million people obtain green cards each year.

“Countless thousands across the country can breathe a sigh of relief today because the court recognized the urgent and irreparable harm that would have been inflicted,” said Jesse Bless, director of federal litigation at the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Earlier this year, the administration made sweeping changes to regulations that would deny green cards to immigrants who use some forms of public assistance, but the courts have blocked that measure.

Rihanna Revealed A Childhood Experience That She Says Connects Her To Mexican Migrants In The U.S.

Entertainment

Rihanna Revealed A Childhood Experience That She Says Connects Her To Mexican Migrants In The U.S.

Badgirlriri / Instagram

Rihanna has never been afraid to speak her mind. She’s a woman who speaks up for issues she cares about and people listen to her. That’s why so many love her – present company included.

The ‘Umbrella’ singer, how has been kind of off the musical radar as of late, spoke out in a new interview with British Vogue and she had a few things to say about her upcoming music, where she’s been living, and her relationship with migrant communities.

Rihanna continues to use her platform and reach of over 200 million followers across social media to bring awareness to social issues that are important to her.

Credit: Chesnot / WireImage

In an interview with Vogue, the creator of “Fenty Beauty” explained feeling empathy with Mexicans and Latinos who are discriminated against in the United States, since she says that she knows how it feels to be on the end of discriminatory policies.

“The Guyanese are like the Mexicans of Barbados,” she said. “So I identify—and that’s why I really relate and empathize with Mexican people or Latino people, who are discriminated against in America. I know what it feels like to have the immigration come into your home in the middle of the night and drag people out.”

Similarly, she recalled the times in which she suffered and the difficulties her and mother experienced when they emigrated from Barbados.

Credit: badgirlriri / Instagram

Rihanna was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in St. Michael, Barbados to a Guyanese mother and Barbadian father.

In the Vogue interview, she added: “Let’s say I know what that fight is like. I have witnessed it, I have been there. I think I was eight years old when I had to live that in the middle of the night. So I know how daunting it is for a child, and if my father had been dragged out of my house, I can guarantee you that my life would have been a disaster.”

In that same Vogue interview, Rihanna confessed to something that few people outsider her inner circle even knew.

Credit: badgirlriri / Instagram

She explained that in recent years she has become a bit of a nomad, having a house in London, Paris, Barbados and Mexico, where she feels more relaxed.

“I just love Mexico. I really need to do my DNA test,” she jokingly told Afua Hirsch of Vogue. Perhaps she was an agave plant, in a past life, she pondered.

Rihanna has been vocal about immigrant rights in the past and takes great pride in her origins.

Credit: badgirlriri / Instagram

The Grammy Award winning singer and entrepreneur has very publicly thrown shade at President Trump over his cruel immigration policies.

Rihanna, who’s been appointed as the ambassador of her native country Barbados, is no stranger to political matters. She sent a cease-and-desist letter to President Donald Trump in early November after he played her music at one of his rallies. She also rejected the opportunity to perform during the Super Bowl LIII in February 2019 out of protest for Colin Kaepernick.

Plus, in an interview with The Cut last year about the word ‘immigrant’, she said: “For me, it’s a prideful word. To know that you can come from humble beginnings and just take over whatever you want to, dominate at whatever you put your mind to. The world becomes your oyster, and there’s no limit. Wherever I go, except for Barbados, I’m an immigrant. I think people forget that a lot of times.”

He Was Slow To Address The Crisis, Now Trump Says You Need To Prepare For ‘Painful Two Weeks’

Things That Matter

He Was Slow To Address The Crisis, Now Trump Says You Need To Prepare For ‘Painful Two Weeks’

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Experts have agreed for weeks that the Trump administration has severely dropped the ball in handling the current Covid-19 health crisis. With one look at the initial lack of a strategy and the current crisis unfolding at hospitals across the United States, many believe that President Trump fumbled the response at the beginning of the outbreak and that’s why the crisis is spiraling out of control in the United States.

But with press conference after press conference, and health professional after health professional – it seems that Trump may finally be understanding just how serious the situation is.

At a somber press conference on Tuesday, Trump warned the country of the ‘painful two weeks’ that lay ahead.

Credit: CDC

In fact, in his own words, Trump warned the U.S. to brace for a “very, very painful two weeks.” This dire warning comes as the White House projected that the Coronavirus pandemic could claim 100,000 to 240,000 lives, even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.

It was a stark message from the man who spent weeks downplaying the severity of the virus and questioned its potential impact in the United States.

In this press conference, Trump did not minimize what has become the gravest public health crisis in decades. Instead, he advised Americans that darker days are still to come.

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks,” Trump said, setting expectations for a scenario where death rates spike.

Fatalities in the U.S. are forecast to peak in 14 days, when around 2,200 people will be dying daily.

Credit: Pixabay / Daniel Ortega

These shocking projections are even considered to be conservative by many experts. And they’re based on the assumption that the current restrictions are universally adhered to by the public. 

Even as the outbreak begins to fade it will last for months, with scores of people still dying throughout June.

The warning came during a press conference meant to inform the public about the administration’s plan to extend social distancing guidelines.

He was speaking during a White House news conference meant to formally reissue nationwide coronavirus guidelines after Trump — faced with dire models showing hundreds of thousands of potential American deaths, polls indicating support for social distancing and calamitous scenes at New York hospitals — determined another 30 days of social distancing were necessary to avert disaster.

Trump’s dire warning may have at least pushed many more states into taking action to protect their residents.

Credit: @_BlakePitcher / Twitter

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who for weeks has resisted more stringent statewide measures to slow the spread of the virus, on Wednesday ordered the state’s more than 21 million residents to largely stay at home.

DeSantis, a Republican, relented after a morning telephone call with President Trump – just hours after the administration warned of the expected death count.

The governors of Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada also announced new plans for stay-at-home orders. A vast majority of Americans — more than 290 million people in 37 states and Washington, D.C.— are now under orders or instructions to stay home, or will be in the coming days.

AOC has also had very harsh criticism for the administration’s handling of the crisis.

AOC’s hometown is experiencing the worst spread of COVID-19 infections than any other city in the U.S. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addresses the press every morning offering updates on how the virus is spreading through New York state in comparison to the U.S.

“I have several major hospitals in my district from Jacobi Medical Center to Elmhurst Hospital, New York-Presbyterian, and one of the things that we are hearing over and over again from hospitals again is this point on personal protective equipment,” AOC says. “There are not enough face masks, gloves, ventilators, [and] hospital beds to get us through this. Many hospitals are already at capacity or are approaching capacity and there is kind of no real stream insight from the federal government on where these materials are coming from.”