Little over a month ago, I published this article which included – among other things – information regarding a proclamation made by the President of the United States which was due to take effect early this month. The proclamation concerns all immigrant visa classes and requires would-be U. S. immigrants, including Diversity Visa applicants, to either possess a certified U. S. health care insurance prior to emigrating, or prove at their visa interview that they would acquire same within 30 days of their arrival in the United States.
Implementation Would Have Been the Duty of Consular Officers
Consular officers would have had the task of verbally asking immigrant visa applicants – using their discretion – questions regarding the applicants’ intention and ability to obtain health insurance, the specific insurance plan concerned, details relating to such insurance, as well as other information relating to the insurance plan; or if they possessed sufficient financial resources to cover medical expenses relating to their current health issues after arriving in the country.
Proclamation Implementation Halted
Presidential Proclamation No. 9945, as the proclamation is official named, was intended to come into effect a minute past midnight Eastern Daylight Time on Sunday, November 3, 2019. A day earlier, however, United States District Judge Michael H. Simon of the District of Oregon, issued a Temporary Restraining Order against the proclamation, thus preventing it from taking effect as was previously expected.
The Temporary Restraining Order or TRO issued was the result of a motion filed as part of a lawsuit by a Civil Rights Coalition, which was intended to halt the implementation of the Proclamation, arguing that, not only was contrary to law, but also that it would cause irreparable harm to would-be immigrants as well as U. S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, if implemented.
The TRO was thus granted, for a period of 28 days at most, to allow the parties sufficient time to decide whether the Court should suspend the implementation and enforcement of the Proclamation, considering that the lawsuit remained unresolved. The Court also took into consideration the fact that the complaint filed included allegations on behalf of several plaintiffs residing throughout the United States, and that a reasonable amount of time was required to locate such persons in order to obtain the facts needed to support the case.
Preliminary Nationwide Injunction Granted
The 28-day lifespan of the TRO would have elapsed today. But before the TRO actually expired, the United States District Court of Oregon, on last Tuesday, November 26, 2019, granted a Preliminary (nationwide) Injunction, thereby suspending the implementation or enforcement of Presidential Proclamation No. 9945 until one of two specified conditions (not elaborated on in this article) is fulfilled, which can be interpreted as indefinite duration.
This news comes as a relief, not only to Diversity Visa applicants and non-Americans vying to emigrate to the United States (their visa interviews will not – at least for a reasonably length of time – or perhaps never again include discussions relating to their ability to possess U. S. healthcare coverage), but also to sections of the U. S. population who now see some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to them permanently reuniting with close family members; and the civil society coalition whose legal efforts have produced such immense result.
Summary of Events
To wrap up this good news, let us briefly consider how it all happened:
October 4, 2019: U. S. President signs Healthcare Insurance Proclamation intended to come into effect on November 3, 2019
October 30, 2019: Civil Rights Coalition files lawsuit to halt implementation of Healthcare Insurance Proclamation
November 1, 2019: Civil Rights Coalition requests a TRO to halt implementation of the Proclamation
November 2, 2019: U. S. District Court in Portland, Oregon issues a TRO, halting the implementation of Healthcare Insurance Proclamation
November 26, 2019: U. S. District Court in Portland, Oregon issues Preliminary Injunction, suspending the implementation or enforcement of the Healthcare Insurance Proclamation