Courts Block Trump Public Charge Regulations

October 11, 2019

Hayley Burgess, NILC, 202-805-0375, [email protected]
Barbara Semedo, CLASP, 202-906-8010, [email protected]

Courts Block Trump Public Charge Regulations

WASHINGTON, DC — Federal courts today issued national injunctions blocking any implementation of the Trump administration’s “public charge” regulations, which threaten the health, nutrition, and housing of millions of families. The orders, issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, find, in part, that the plaintiffs are likely to prevail at trial. A third court arrived at similar legal findings but limited the scope of its injunction. As a result, the public charge regulations, which were scheduled to be implemented on October 15, are blocked across the country.

“CLASP applauds the work of the committed litigators, brave plaintiffs, and numerous amici who worked together to fight back in the courts,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy. “The public charge rule is rooted in discrimination and racial animus, targets lawfully present immigrants, and sends the message that only wealthy and white immigrants have a place in the United States. But today, once again, the courts have stepped in to stop this administration in its attempt to implement a policy that divides us as a nation and damages the lives of millions of immigrants, their families, their children and their communities. Today’s ruling means a temporary halt in the implementation of the public charge rule. The rule will not be implemented as scheduled on October 15th. We encourage immigrants to continue to seek the services they need to take care of their families and to ensure their children’s health and economic security.”

The regulations were finalized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in August, despite receiving a record-breaking 266,000 public comments, the overwhelming majority of which opposed the proposed rule. The regulations represent a drastic departure from how the public charge test was previously administered and are opposed by experts who predict large-scale increases in poverty, hunger, and unmet health and housing needs if they take effect. They would have taken effect on October 15. As a result of today’s orders, the regulations will not be implemented, and families can continue to access the services they need.

“Today’s decisions by numerous courts blocking Trump from implementing the public charge rule are a great victory for our courageous plaintiffs and others who joined lawsuits filed across the country, from the San Francisco Bay Area to New York. These orders will preserve dignity for countless families, who will be able to continue making empowered decisions about their well-being without concern,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “We have known from day one that this racially-motivated public charge rule is unlawful. The public charge attack is about sending one message: If you’re not white or you’re not wealthy, you’re not welcome. We will continue to fight to defend children and their families until the public charge rule is ultimately struck down, because it has no place in a country that’s supposed to be the land of freedom and justice for all.”