A federal judge has struck down a rule that long-term care advocates previously warned could limit immigrants’ access to long-term care services and hurt the industry’s workforce.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman on Monday vacated the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule nationwide. Feinerman ruled that the policy violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the process by which federal agencies develop and issues regulations. 

The Trump administration is expected to appeal the decision, which could wind up being decided by the Supreme Court, the New York Times reported. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said the agency would fully comply with the ruling. 

The “Public Charge” rule was first announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in August 2019. The rule targets poor, legal immigrants who are seeking to become permanent U.S. residents. 

It allowed the government to base the green card decision on whether that immigrant could later be seen as a financial burden on taxpayers — meaning poor immigrants could be denied if they use government benefit programs, such as Medicaid and food stamps.

It was originally set to go into effect later in 2019 but was blocked several times in federal court. The rule finally went into effect earlier this year after the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could begin enforcing the policy. 

LeadingAge was among the groups that opposed the rule when it was first published. The organization said the policy would make it “difficult for workers in long-term care to extend their status as an authorized worker with a green card because of their wage history and current receipt of nutrition supports (SNAP) or housing assistance in the form of public housing, vouchers or project-based Section 8.”

The National Council on Aging President and CEO James Firman also denounced the policy, saying it would force “immigrant seniors who have played by the rules … to make an impossible choice between going hungry and avoiding needed long-term care support or losing their immigration status.”