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(Stock photo)With the death toll from COVID-19 surpassing 150,000 in the United States, a Manhattan federal judge on Wednesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing its controversial “public charge” rule until the worst of the pandemic is over.

The ruling, from U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York, granted New York Attorney General Letitia James’ request to temporarily block nationwide enforcement the rule, which would make it easier for the federal government to deny legal status to immigrants who might apply for public assistance. Connecticut Attorney General General William Tong led along with James in making the request.

Related: New ‘public charge’ rule will affect health insurance purchasers

The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 27 lifted Daniel’s previous injunction preventing the rule from going into effect, while a Manhattan-based federal appeals court mulled an appeal in the case. Under the high court’s stay, the public charge rule was allowed to take effect Feb. 24.

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