U.S. Judge Blocks Public Charge Rule Against Green Card Applicants Nationwide

A U.S. District judge in Illinois has completely rejected the Public Charge rule that denies permanent residency to immigrants who might need public assistance in the form of food stamps, and housing benefits at any point in the future. The federal judge, in his ruling has ordered the Trump administration to vacate the policy in its entirety and said the Public Charge rule will not be applied to anyone in the whole of U.S., effective immediately.

Come as good news to all family-based U.S. green card petitioners, USCIS officers nationwide will not be adjudicating US green cards based on the ‘wealth test’ administered on family-based green card applicants and will proceed without applying the public charge standard.

The rule was instated to filter out applicants unable to remain financially self-sufficient without having to depend upon State benefits while in the United States.

Reasons Why The Public Charge Rule Will Not Be Applicable Anymore

According to the U.S. federal judge in Illinois, the following reasons were cited to strike down the Public Charge rule in its entirety and applicable nationwide:

  • The rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act which includes a detailed process for developing and enacting new regulations;
  • The ‘wealth test’ is arbitrary and capricious with no basis in its own statue;
  • The public charge rule does not consider the “predictable collateral consequences” of its implementation. This was in line with the Coronavirus pandemic, at which point the courts had stayed the execution of this rule;
  • The rule is discriminatory against non-white immigrants under the equal protection clause;
  • The rule as a whole exceeds the authority of the executive branch.

History Of The Public Charge Rule

  • September 2019: This policy was announced 
  • February 2020: The Public Charge rule goes live 
  • April 2020: The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the rule despite Covid-19 pandemic 
  • August 2020: A federal judge rescinds the Public charge rule
  • September 2020: DHS resumes implementing wealth test on immigrants
  • November 2020: U.S. federal judge vacates the rule in its entirety.

Once the U.S. presidential elections are over today, the decision could be challenged in the highest court in the United States. Stay tuned to this space for the latest updates.