District Court Issues Two Temporary Injunctions against Public Charge Rule

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on July 29 issued two nationwide injunctions temporarily blocking the Trump administration’s “public charge” rules. One is a temporary injunction against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) public charge rule. This order bars the implementation, application, and enforcement of the rule nationwide so long as there is a declared national emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second, a parallel nationwide injunction, was issued in a separate case challenging the Department of State’s (DOS’s) own public charge rule as well as the president’s Health Care Proclamation requiring visa applicants to show proof of private health insurance.

Last year, DHS published its final “public charge” rule, meaning that any non-U.S. citizen or legal resident who receives government assistance—including public housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance—could lead an immigrant to be considered a potential public charge and therefore can be denied a green card or visa (see Memo, 08/19).

The District Court ruling would allow immigrant communities across the United States to access public assistance safely. While the long-term impact of the ruling is unclear, and an appeal by federal authorities is likely, it represents a victory for immigrant communities across the United States who have disproportionately been impacted by the effects of the pandemic. As long as the court injunction remains in place, the public charge rule will continue to be blocked nationwide, removing some fear for immigrant families to pursue the care and services they need during this crisis.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued a statement: “Today the federal courts have once again blocked the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant measures. The court rightly recognized that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must take care of everyone in our country, and that Trump’s public charge regulation was not just cruel but also dangerous to the health and well-being of our nation. We stand with our courageous plaintiffs in their victory before the court and will continue our work to ensure that everyone — regardless of their race or birthplace — has access to the testing, health care, and economic relief they need. We will only get through this crisis if we come together and take care of everyone in our communities.”

NLIHC will continue to provide updates regarding this injunction and its long-term implications.

Read the temporary injunction to the DHS Public Charge Rule at: https://bit.ly/2XfEuMl

Read the temporary injunction to the DOS Public Charge Rule at: https://bit.ly/3k0OdQk

Read the press releases from litigators at: https://bit.ly/31cNlj4