Advocates Applaud Court Order Blocking Trump Public Charge Regulations

July 29, 2020

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

Advocates Applaud Court Order Blocking Trump Public Charge Regulations

WASHINGTON, DC — A federal court today issued nationwide injunctions, blocking any implementation of the Trump administration’s public charge regulations, which threaten the health, nutrition, and housing of millions of families. One order bars implementation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s public charge rule, while the other bars implementation of a companion rule issued by the U.S. State Department. The orders, issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, come as the COVID-19 death toll approaches 150,000.

“Today the federal courts have once again blocked the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant measures,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director for the National Immigration Law Center. “The court rightly recognized that, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must take care of everyone in our country, and that President Trump’s public charge regulation is 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.”

Research confirms that the public charge policy has undermined access to health care for millions in immigrant families, even before the coronavirus pandemic. Frontline health care workers have urged Congress to block its implementation as a critical element of effective coronavirus response.

“Scaring millions away from health care is dangerous during the best of times, and during a pandemic, it’s disastrous,” said Olivia Golden, executive director at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “By ensuring that everyone can access care without fear, today’s ruling protects America’s immigrant families and improves our nation’s response to the COVID-19 threat.”

The same court blocked the regulation in October 2019, but the U.S. Supreme Court lifted that injunction, allowing the Trump administration to implement the policy in February 2020. In March, the administration announced an exception to the DHS public charge regulation for testing and treatment related to COVID-19. In April, litigants challenging the policy, including the New York attorney general, the attorneys general of other states, and New York City, asked the Supreme Court to reconsider that decision in light of the pandemic. The Supreme Court declined but gave litigants leave to file again with the trial court. Today’s rulings follow oral arguments on that motion. The Trump administration has not yet indicated whether it will appeal.