Federal Judge Blocks Public Charge Rule

Regulation | November 05, 2020 | by Linda Couch

On November 2, a U.S. District court judge blocked the Administration’s “public charge rule,” which was issued as a final rule in August, 2019, despite hundreds of thousands of comments in submitted in opposition to it.

On November 2, a U.S. District court judge blocked the Administration’s “public charge rule,” which was issued as a final rule in August, 2019, despite hundreds of thousands of comments in submitted. The vast majority of those comments, including comments submitted by LeadingAge, were in opposition to the proposed public charge rule.

In addition to expanding what qualifies as a “public benefit,” the public charge rule changed the threshold for determining whether an applicant for admission to the country would be considered a public charge from being “primarily dependent on cash benefits” to whether the individual received “one or more public benefit for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two public benefits in one month counts as two months).”

The public charge rule allowed denial of permanent residency to immigrants legally in the country because they accessed housing assistance, for example. Under the public charge rule, applicants for Green cards would have to demonstrate they would not be public charges to the United States.

The public charge rule has been challenged in the courts since its 2019 effective date. The November 2 ruling brings another halt to the rule when, according to media reports, the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services stopped applying the public charge rule to pending applications and petitions.