Public Charge Litigation
Update: June 10, 2020
Today the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming the preliminary injunction issued by the Northern District of Illinois. The 7th Circuit found the new public charge rule violates federal law, including by discriminating against people with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (citing the amicus brief filed by CPR and other disability advocates). Unfortunately, because the Supreme Court in February issued a stay of the preliminary injunction — meaning that it said the government could implement the rule during the litigation — today’s decision will not have an immediate impact until the Supreme Court reviews the decision on the merits.
Update: March 16, 2020
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that in response to the coronavirus pandemic (also known as COVID-19), it “will neither consider testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19” in making public charge determinations, “even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits, as defined in the rule (e.g. federally funded Medicaid).” This means that immigrants can receive treatment without an impact on their immigration status.
Please continue to visit this page for the latest updates on the public charge litigation. For more background information on the rule, check out our webpage here. For more on the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on people with disabilities, visit our webpage here.
Lawsuits Challenging the Final Public Charge Rule
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) public charge rule, which will go into effect on February 24, 2020, will be devastating for immigrants with disabilities, and means individuals could be denied admission or have their application for lawful permanent residency denied because they used (or even might use in the future) a wide range of government programs, including Medicaid, housing assistance, or food assistance.
The rule was scheduled to go into effect on October 15, 2019, but twenty one states, led by California, Washington, and New York, filed cases against the Trump Administration to block the new rule and were initially successful in delaying implementation of the rule. However, the Supreme Court, in a pair of 5-4 decisions (which you can read here and here), decided to allow the rule to go into effect while the lawsuits make their way through the courts, and the Administration then announced the rule would go into effect on February 24, 2020. For more on the rule’s implementation, you can read our alert here.
The Center for Public Representation, American Civil Liberties Union, and sixteen other national disability advocacy groups represented by the global law firm Latham & Watkins filed amicus briefs in support of the litigation. The advocacy groups – representing tens of thousands of people with disabilities and their families across the country – claim that the new public charge rule will prevent people with disabilities from entering this country or becoming legal residents in violation of federal disability law.
Below are litigation highlights and links to filings in all of the lawsuits against the rule. To learn more about the rule, visit our main public charge page here and for more on how DHS’ public charge rule will affect people with disabilities, check out our fact sheet and explainer.
For more resources and information, please visit the Protecting Immigrant Families website.