On March 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will no longer defend the Trump administration’s changes to the “public charge” rule. As a result, the Supreme Court dismissed the prior administration’s appeal of court rulings blocking application of that rule.
This is great news for Maine and the nation. The prior administration’s public charge rule changes took direct aim at immediate family immigration, imposing new age, education, credit score, health insurance, and English language tests on the parents, spouses and children of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who hoped to become permanent residents in the U.S. The new rule was slated to slash immediate family immigration by as much as half.
Immigration is critical to keeping Maine’s population and workforce vibrant as baby boomers continue to leave the workforce, and birth rates remain low. The vast majority of immigrants to Maine come through immediate family immigration. MeBIC was one of nearly 150 organizations nationwide that appealed in a March 4, 2021 letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to stop defending the new public charge rule against the lawsuits challenging its legality.
DHS will now revert to the prior regulations interpreting the public charge ground of inadmissibility, which don’t divide U.S. citizens and permanent residents from their immediate family members if they don’t yet speak English fluently, or are under 18 years old, and myriad other unjust reasons. MeBIC is gratified by DHS’s decision to no longer defend the deeply flawed rule change, and to return to the status quo ante.
USCIS will post updates on its transition back to the pre-Trump administration public charge changes here.