On July 29, 2020, a federal court blocked the Trump Administration’s new “public charge” rule.
In earlier posts, we have discussed the new rule and its harmful effects on thousands of people who have recently applied for permanent resident status. Anyone who has had to prepare an application for permanent resident status under the new “public charge” rule knows the enormous amount of work involved, the need to provide reams of very sensitive personal financial data to USCIS, and the frustration of facing yet another enormous obstacle to legal status that the Trump Administration has created.
Well, for now, at least, the “public charge” obstacle has been put on hold, both for persons applying for permanent resident status in the United States, before USCIS, and for persons applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates throughout the world.
Judge George McDaniels, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, issued two separate opinions that block further implementation of the new “public charge” rule: one decision affects USCIS, while the other decision affects the U.S. Department of State, which runs U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world. The main reasoning behind the judge’s decisions was the negative effect that the new rule had on persons struggling to maintain health and safety during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The judge indicated that the new public charge rule spread fear among immigrants that the new rule would label them as a “public charge” if they obtained medical care or other benefits related to the fight against Coronavirus. The judge concluded that the new public charge rule harmed the United States and immigrants who were making choices that they believed would help them avoid “public charge” problems but that would place them at greater risk of harm as a result of Coronavirus.
It is expected that the Trump Administration will appeal the judge’s rulings. But for now, both USCIS and the U.S. Department of State have indicated that they are no longer implementing the new “public charge” rules.