DHS Barred from enforcing public charge rule nationwide based on us district court ruling

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By: Prema Roddam

The United States district court for the Northern District of Illinois vacated the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) public charge rule on November 2, 2020. The court ruled that the public charge rule exceeds DHS authority, is not in accordance with the law, and is arbitrary or capricious. DHS may not enforce their public charge rule, effective November 2. This means that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may no longer request Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency and related information.

further detail on the ruling

The district court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, Cook County and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Inc., stating that the DHS public charge rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). A violation of APA enables the court to vacate the rule nationwide. The court will also further investigate a claim that the DHS rule was motivated by a discriminatory purpose to limit nonwhite immigrants to the US in favor of white immigrants.

Previously, there was a nationwide injunction against the DHS and Department of State (DOS) public charge rules, followed by a lifting of that injunction against the DHS public charge rule in most US states.

Background on the dhs public charge rule

Effective since February 24, 2020, the DHS public charge rule required foreign nationals to prove that they would not become a “public charge” to the United States by using public benefits. Under the rule, foreign nationals could not adjust status, or change or extend their nonimmigrant status if they had used public benefits for 12 or more months during the previous 36 months.

next steps

DHS is expected to appeal the ruling. Our Chugh, LLP professionals will closely monitor the development of this case and provide updates as soon as they are available.

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