Budget concerns raised over judge's ruling
Washington: On Tuesday, March 22, Federal Judge Marsha Pechman denied a request made by the state of Washington to reconsider a preliminary injunction she made in February that forced the state Department of Social and Health Services to restore a program it had cut from its budget on January 31. The program cut was the Food Assistance Program for Legal Immigrants which provides benefits to immigrants ineligible for federal food stamps. Judge Pechman found in that the state was violating the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause by serving some immigrants, by continuing to operate and provide funding for the federal food assistance program, but denied the same assistance to a certain class of legal immigrants. The state had planned to save $7.2 million for the remainder of the current biennium and about $60.5 million for the next one by cutting the program.