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U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Limited Preliminary Injunctions of the DHS Public Charge Rule

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Pasricha & Patel

In a 2-1 ruling on December 2, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the preliminary injunctions that had been issued by the Northern District of California and the Eastern District of Washington against the Department of Homeland Security’s Public Charge Rule.But the same Appeals Court also vacated the Eastern District of Washington’s entry of a nationwide injunction against the Public Charge Rule.

The Public Charge rule had gone into effect on February 24, 2020 before it was placed on hold through various preliminary injunctions before the rule resumed again on September 11, 2020. Public Charge Rule made it more difficult for immigrants to apply for and use public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers, without having negative impact on their pending immigrant petitions. In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reasoned that the Public Charge rule causes financial harm to the various states and it does not promote self-sufficiency, contrary to what the DHS had argued was its intended goal.

It should also be noted that it is unclear whether the Eastern District of Washington will also have to revise its previous order for nationwide injunction and whether it would limit the preliminary injunction for the Public Charge rule to just the affected states, including: California, District of Columbia, Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.

In addition, there has not been any clear information from the USCIS about how it would even implement state-by-state injunctions in accordance to the various court orders. In fact, it is also likely the USCIS would appeal this latest Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and request for immediate stay of this ruling.

Due to the fluid nature of this issue’s development, we encourage our readers to continue to check back with us for the latest news regarding public charge and its impact and future outlook.

Should you have any questions about this matter or any immigration matter in general, please contact our office for formal consultation so that we can address your questions more specifically.