Federal Court Finds “Public Charge” Rule Illegal; Appeals Court Stays the Order

UPDATE:  On November 4, 2020, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the district court’s order, discussed below, so that the “public charge” rule remains in effect nationwide while the administration appeals from the lower court’s decision setting aside the rule as illegal.

On November 2, 2020, a federal district court vacated the administration’s revision of the “public charge” rule, finding that it was arbitrary and capricious, and violated the Administrative Procedures Act.

The decision  applies nationwide.  The court denied a request to stay its ruling while the government appeals.   As a result, effective immediately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cannot apply the rule to immigrants filing for residency in the U.S. as immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.   This means that USCIS can’t impose the new standards that penalize people who are under 18 or over 61, or who don’t have English proficiency, and cannot require the I-944 form that requires extensive documentation including credit reports or proof that a person has no credit history, and original copies of education credentials.

The  vacated public charge rule was a back door way for the administration to slash immediate family immigration to the U.S. while bypassing Congress, as noted in this previous post.

Two-thirds of immigrants to the U.S. and to Maine each year are immediate family immigrants.  This ruling, if it holds, will help families stay together and keep our communities and economy strong.