NCLEJ Applauds Nationwide Preliminary Injunction Granted to Block Public Charge Rule

Earlier today, a federal judge granted a nationwide preliminary injunction to block the racist and abusive “public charge” rule. The Department of Homeland Security finalized the rule in August, and was set to begin implementing the new changes beginning on October 15. Since it was first proposed last year, the rule has caused fear and confusion among non-citizens and immigrants around the country.

The rule is part of the current Administration’s efforts to weaponize basic needs and send one message to immigrant communities: “If you’re not white and you’re not wealthy, you’re not welcome in the United States.”

The new regulations expand the meaning of “public charge” and change the way immigration officials administer the “public charge” test to determine whether to admit or grant legal permanent resident status to non-citizens. With the new regulations, if an immigrant or a member of an immigrant’s family uses public entitlements like Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as “Food Stamps”) or “Section 8” rent vouchers, they will be putting at risk their own or a family member’s potential admission to the U.S. and/or “green card” applications.

For years, federal law has recognized the value and importance of allowing eligible immigrants to access these entitlements which enable them to remain employed, support their families, and contribute to society. These limited public entitlements also preserve health, housing, and nutrition in the event that a non-citizen head of household loses a job through unemployment, illness, or other unforeseen difficulties. The new rule expressly abandons these carefully considered and successful policies in favor of an explicit anti-immigrant bias.

NCLEJ coordinated nine amicus briefs filed in this litigation and other lawsuits around the country to delay or block this rule and stand alongside other advocates in opposing this Administration’s anti-immigration policies. We will continue to fight to ensure that all families have access to healthy food, necessary medical care, safe and affordable shelter, and other basics they need to survive and thrive.