Court Orders Temporary Halt to Medicaid Cutoffs in ACLU Suit on Behalf of Legal Immigrants
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Apr 1, 2003
Granting an emergency motion filed by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado (ACLU), a federal court judge issued an order late this afternoon that temporarily stops the State of Colorado from cutting Medicaid medical assistance benefits to approximately 3500 legal immigrants in Colorado who cannot afford to pay for their own medical care.
The cutoffs are required by Senate Bill 03 -176, which Governor Owens signed into law on March 5 as a budget-cutting measure. The new law ends medical assistance to certain categories of legal immigrants but continues benefits for citizens who are in the same financial situation. The ACLU filed suit last week to stop the cutoffs, arguing that forcing legal immigrants to bear the burden of the budget cutbacks violates their constitutional right to the equal protection of the laws.
Today's order, issued by United States District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn, temporarily bars the State from implementing SB 03-176. The order will remain in effect at least until April 11, the date set by the Court for a hearing on the ACLU's request for a preliminary injunction.
"Judge Blackburn's ruling is a welcome victory for thousands of legal immigrants who faced an immediate loss of vital medical care if SB 03 -176 went into effect on April 1 as planned," said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. "At the upcoming hearing on April 11, we will argue that Judge Blackburn should renew his order and preserve our clients' medical assistance while this lawsuit is pending."