Class-Action Suit Filed Against NJ Over Legal Immigrant Benefits

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey is being sued over a new state policy that denies Medicaid benefits to certain groups of legal immigrants.

Lawyers for Seton Hall University Law School and the firm Gibbons P.C. filed an amendment Thursday to a class-action suit first filed in June on behalf of the estimated 12,000 legal permanent residents they say are no longer eligible for FamilyCare, a public health program for the poor.

New rules for the state-funded program say immigrants who are parents or guardians must have had green cards for at least five years to be eligible. Pregnant women and children are exempt from the new regulations, which are part of a larger package of budget cuts across the state.

The suit, filed in state Superior Court in Mercer County by the university’s Center for Social Justice, contends that the cuts by the Department of Human Services violate federal and state equal protection laws by singling out certain groups of immigrants.

“You can’t cut people off the health care rolls on the basis of the fact they are an immigrant,” said Jenny-Brooke Condon, and associate professor at Seton Hall. “We’re not arguing they can’t have budget cutbacks, but to single these people out on the basis of their alienage or their immigration status is unconstitutional.”

Attorney General Spokesman Paul Loriquet said they are reviewing the amended complaint.

The five named complainants in the suit are all legal permanent residents who are low-income, working parents or guardians, according to Condon.

“They can’t afford health care without state subsidies,” Condon said. “Many are outraged that they are working and paying taxes to the state, but the state has turned around and singled them out.”

New Jersey is one of several states that have tried to pass similar restrictions. New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts have had legal challenges filed against similar regulations, according to Condon, with mixed legal outcomes.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • lodeika

    Why not blame the the employers for not providing benefits to their employees do you know
    how many businesses get away with not providing any type of benefits to their employees by
    playing around with their hours. Do you know how many people work 2 or 3 jobs to pay rent and
    put food on the table and they don’t have healthcare benefits. Another thing what makes one person have the right to be
    here than another whether you or your family came in 1682 or 2002 we are all immigrants.
    Somebody in our family came from some place else. What about all the 4th and 5th generation
    so called AMERICANS that bleed our system.

  • Rosanna

    Guess all you people can’t read do you not see the part that it’s says ” they are working and paying taxes”

  • Johnny

    It’s about time they start cutting the freebies. How about these legal immigrants start taking personal responsibility instead of relying on the state for countless years?

  • Mentalist

    They should be sent back to whatever country they came from……how hard is it to get a green card…..notice they didn’t have a problem getting their Welfare Cards, WIC Cards etc……….GO GREEN OR GET OUT!

    • RJ

      Did you read the story, it said they were LEGAL immigrants. I’d understand if they were talking about illegal immigrants, about illegal immigrants, but that is not what the story is about.
      That being said, I do believe these benefits should only be open to American citizens. But until then, they cannot cut them off unless they have a legitimate reason to.

  • satan6

    whities ? what is that suppose to mean ? and your color is

    • Dan Te

      Sorry, I’m a jerk.

      • Dan Te

        Cute. You have no point, so you impersonate Dan Te. Things like you never learned that Lying just tells folks you’re useless.

  • Dan Te

    All immigrants should be cut off from social support networks. Especially those whities that barged their way in and squatted on other people’s land.

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