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LAS Files Lawsuit Challenging Trump Administration's Public Charge Rule

The Legal Aid Society has filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s “public charge” rule to help ensure that our clients and all immigrant New Yorkers are able to continue accessing the public assistance programs that they and their families need to thrive.

The rule seeks to redefine the term “public charge” as someone who is likely to receive—even temporarily—any amount, however minimal, of a wide range of cash and non-cash public benefits. Disqualifying benefits include programs that provide housing assistance, food assistance, and healthcare. The Trump administration rule also seeks to include many negative factors in determining who may be deemed a public charge, such as English fluency, old age, lack of credit score, and even being disabled. Those deemed a public charge will be denied permanent status.

“New York City is home to 3.1 million immigrants who came here to make a better life for themselves and their families,” said Janet Sabel, CEO and Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society. “As the City’s oldest and largest legal provider for low-income communities, we know that many immigrant families are eligible for and use government benefits to supplement low-wage work as they move up the ladder of economic success. We will not allow the Trump Administration to punish our clients and all immigrant New Yorkers by weaponizing the safety net that is there for all of us in hard times. We look forward to challenging the administration’s racist and xenophobic rule so that our low-income clients can continue to become permanent residents just like so many generations have been able to do in the past.”

The community organizations bringing the suit: Make the Road New York, African Services Committee, Asian American Federation, Catholic Charities of New York, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), are represented by The Legal Aid Society, Center for Constitutional Rights, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Watch Hasan Shafiqullah, Attorney-in-Charge of the Immigration Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society, speak at today’s announcement below. Read the full complaint here.