Federal Court Vacates Public Charge Rule Nationwide

For Immediate Release: November 2, 2020 
Contact: Arianna Rosales, media@ilrc.org 

Federal Court Vacates Public Charge Rule Nationwide 
USCIS Cannot Apply it to Future Green Card Applicants 

(WASHINGTON)A federal district court today vacated the Trump Administration’s harsh new public charge rule, finding that the administration’s changes to public charge violated the law. Effective immediately, DHS is blocked from using the new rule nationwide. Public charge is a test used to determine if someone applying for permanent residence or a visa to enter the U.S. is likely to become dependent on certain government benefits in the future.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) has called the public charge rule a campaign of fear against immigrant families, causing confusion that resulted in many immigrants and their children disenrolling from essential healthcare coverage and services even though the new rule does not, in fact, alter eligibility for public programs. 

In today’s ruling in Cook County, Illinois, et al. v. Wolf, et. al., (19-cv-6334), the court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on their claim that DHS’s new public charge rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The court ruled that the new public charge rule exceeds DHS’s authority under the public charge provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, is not in accordance with law, and is arbitrary and capricious. The court immediately set aside the public charge rule nationwide without staying its decision pending appeal. Litigation in this case continues on a related equal protection challenge to the new rule. 

Erin Quinn, Senior Staff Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said: 

“This is a huge victory for immigrant families who should be able to safely access the care and services they need without concern about their immigration status. Everyone benefits from healthy communities, and we should be protecting this already-underserved population, not threatening their ability to live in this country if they access the few assurances of health and safety available to them.”  

For more information on public charge, please visit: https://www.ilrc.org/public-charge 


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities.