New Health Insurance Requirement for Immigrant Visa Applicants Temporarily Halted by Court

On Saturday, November 2, 2019, a judge in the U.S. District Court in the District of Oregon issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) halting the new presidential proclamation on health insurance for immigrant visa applicants from taking effect.

The Presidential Proclamation on Health Care, if its policy had taken effect, would have required that all people applying at a U.S Embassy or Consulate abroad for an immigrant visa to the United States demonstrate that they either will be covered by an approved health insurance plan within 30 days of entry or that they have the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical expenses.

The policy was intended to take effect on Sunday, November 3, 2019 and would have applied to anyone attending an interview on their immigrant visa application on or after that date.

The case, Doe. v. Trump, was filed as a class action by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Justice Action Center, and the Innovation Law Lab, on behalf of United States citizens seeking to sponsor family members for immigrant visas to reside in the United States.

The complaint filed on behalf of the plaintiffs argues that the proclamation is internally inconsistent and too vague, that the health insurance requirements would be difficult, if not impossible, for many of those affected to comply with, and that it conflicts with the United States immigration laws by creating a new basis for the denial of an immigrant visa that does not exist under the law.

The TRO is not a final decision on the merits of the lawsuit. The TRO only halts the implementation of the proclamation temporarily while the judge considers the case on the merits and makes a decision whether to prevent the policy from taking effect permanently.