Public Charge Rule Update: Court Limits Nationwide Injunction To Connecticut, New York, Vermont

Jackson Lewis P.C.

On August 12, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit limited the nationwide injunction on the Department of Homeland Security’s Public Charge Rule to three states: Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.

Since August 14, 2019, exactly one year ago today, when DHS published the final version of the new Public Charge Rule in the Federal Register, there have been multiple court challenges and the Rule has been widely criticized. With the new Rule, the Trump Administration is imposing additional requirements and background screening for foreign nationals who hope to obtain green cards or secure temporary non-immigrant status.

Due to the litigation, it is still not clear how the agencies will enforce this rule. The following recaps the twists and turns of the litigation:

  • The Rule was supposed to go into effect on October 15, 2019, but just before that could happen, several courts issued injunctions.
  • By February 21, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court had lifted the last remaining injunction and the Rule went into effect on February 24, 2020.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic crisis began and, on July 29, 2020, the Rule was once again enjoined nationwide by a federal district court in New York because it impeded efforts to combat the disease – immigrants, many of whom are essential workers, were afraid to seek testing and this was detrimental to efforts to combat the disease.
  • USCIS issued guidance that, while the injunction was in effect, petitions and applications would be accepted without public charge information.
  • On August 12, 2020, in response to a request from the Administration, the Second Circuit limited the nationwide injunction to Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.

A USCIS spokesperson reported that the agency is reviewing the Court’s Order and “will determine the administrative viability of reimplementing the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule where applicable.”

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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