We’re writing to share some exciting developments. Today, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) decided to stop defending the Trump-era public charge regulations. Not long after, the Supreme Court dismissed the pending appeals, and the 7th Circuit dismissed the government’s appeal as well! This means that the final judgment entered in the Northern District of Illinois on Nov 2, 2020, which vacated the public charge rule nationwide is now in effect. In other words, the Trump Administration’s 2019 public charge rule is permanently blocked, nationwide.
This DOJ announcement and court dismissals comes just days after nearly 150 organizations affiliated with the Protecting Immigrant Families coalition sent an urgent letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ask that DOJ withdraw its appeals of public charge litigation.
There’s still work ahead and additional actions need to be taken by the administration to undo harm, but we’d like to take a moment to recognize this turning point in our collective efforts to fight back against the public charge regulations. A special thank you to the litigators and plaintiffs across the country who have tirelessly fought back against the regulations in court for years! You can read PIF's statement from earlier in the day here.
We understand that partners may get questions from families about these developments. The PIF team has updated recommended advocacy and family-facing messages. Please note that we will update these messages when there is further action on the public charge regulations. We’ve also prepared a set of sample tweets to help you communicate this important development with your networks.
Below is more information about what this DOJ decision means. Stay tuned, we’ll also continue to keep you informed about what happens next.
What does this mean?
The Trump-era public charge regulations are no longer in effect. DHS/USCIS will follow the policy in the 1999 Interim Field Guidance. Under this policy, it is safe for immigrants and their families to access health, nutrition, and housing programs for which they are eligible.
What do we hope to see next?
We hope we’ll then see communications by DHS and the White House that explain to immigrants and their families that the policy has been reversed and that it is safe to access health and nutrition programs for which they are eligible without fear of immigration consequences.
We also hope to see DHS quickly develop and issue new public charge regulations as soon as possible to ensure a more permanent change.
What advocacy opportunities are ahead of us?
PIF partners can push the Biden administration to develop and issue new public charge regulations, continuing to highlight our concerns about harms of the Trump Administration’s 2019 public charge rule. PIF partners can also advocate for the administration to communicate with immigrants and their families that the policy has been reversed and that it is safe to access health and nutrition programs for which they are eligible without fear of immigration consequences.