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The New Public Charge Regulation: What It Means for Providers and Clients

The Trump Administration published a harmful new regulation governing “public charge,” a ground of inadmissibility that can be used to deny either admission to the U.S. or adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident status (“LPR” or “green card” status), where the application is based on certain family relationships.

Under the current rules, relatively few applications for admission and adjustment are denied on public charge grounds. The new regulation, which is set to take effect on October 15, 2019, would dramatically expand the scope of “public charge” in ways that are likely to have both direct and indirect impacts on our clients.

On August 27, 2019, The Legal Aid Society, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and our pro bono counsel Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP filed a complaint in federal district court in Manhattan on behalf of Make the Road New York, African Services Committee, Asian American Federation, Catholic Charities Community Services (Archdiocese of New York), and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), challenging the new regulation.

Read the Complaint

Preliminary Injunction
On October, 11, 2019 the federal court for the Southern District of New York blocked the Trump Administration’s new “public charge” rule, issuing a nationwide injunction.

Read the Order
Read the Decision 

On January 8, 2020, the federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the Trump Administration’s request for a stay to block the nationwide injunction.

Read the Order

More Information on the Regulation
For more information on the new regulation, which is not yet in effect, see our Frequently Asked Questions:

Frequently Asked Questions – English
Frequently Asked Questions – Spanish

Screening Tool and Attorney Referral Information
The Legal Aid Society, in partnership with the Empire Justice Center and Make The Road New York, has created a screening tool to assist attorneys, advocates, and other community-based providers with answering client questions about the new public charge regulation, as well as to provide referral information for additional assistance. Click the link below to download the tool.

Screening Tool

On December 10, 2018, The Legal Aid Society shared public comments on the proposed rule changes governing public charge with the Department of Homeland Security, available here.  As we stated in the comments:

“The Proposed Rule already has and will continue to make immigrant families even more fearful of accessing the critical government benefits for which Congress made them eligible, and thereby devastate the health and economic security of individuals and families and the communities we all share. . . . The Legal Aid Society’s Comments focus on the community we have served for over 140 years – New York City.”

How to Get Help
Clients who need more information on public charge and how it applies to them can call our Immigration Helpline at 844-955-3425, Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

“The rule represents a brazen attempt to lay down the welcome mat for only the rich, while slamming the door on other immigrants. If adopted, the rule would dissuade immigrants who are here lawfully from accessing essential medical care and basic food assistance for their families. Simply put: the rule amounts to another attempt by the Trump Administration to tear families apart. As we have with other Trump Administration attacks on immigrants – from the Muslim ban to its cruel child separation policy — we will continue to push back on these xenophobic policies that marginalize our clients and other New Yorkers.”