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ASC Legal Update: Public Charge Victory and Ongoing Lawsuits

Only the nationwide injunction issued in the New York lawsuit ASC is involved in remains in effect and the government is still barred from applying its proposed public charge rule anywhere. ASC's New York lawsuit remains the only shield protecting millions from the Administrations's cruel Public Charge revised rule from devastating countless immigrant families. Our work has never been more important. 

ASC's litigation efforts currently have two major lawsuits before the federal courts. We are currently a party to the DACA lawsuit which will soon be heard by the Supreme Court. African Services Committee also recently won an encouraging victory in an ongoing critical battle: U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels recently issued a nationwide injunction suspending implementation of the Public Charge rule. This means that the Rule did not go into effect on the Administration's intended date Oct. 15, 2019. Judge Daniels wrote in his decision

“The Rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification. It is repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility. Immigrants have always come to this country seeking a better life for themselves and their posterity. With or without help, most succeed.”

We stand proud of this outcome with fellow plaintiffs Make the Road New York, Asian American Federation, Catholic Charities Community Services, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network (“CLINIC”). We thank Legal Aid Society, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, for their representation at U.S. District Court. 

“This Administration has arbitrarily and capriciously discarded a century-old system that already requires a financial guarantee be provided against someone becoming a public charge, in favor of placing their thumbs on the scales to disqualify otherwise eligible people from obtaining lawful status in the U.S.” says Franco Torres, African Services Committee Supervising Attorney.

Despite this victory, the fight is far from over. Yesterday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a preliminary injunction granted by the district court in Maryland that prevented DHS’s public charge policy from taking effect nationwide. Late last week, the 9th Circuit also lifted a similar injunction by the district court in Washington state.

Only the nationwide injunction issued in the New York lawsuit ASC is involved in remains in effect and the government is still barred from applying its proposed public charge rule anywhere. 

ASC's New York lawsuit remains the only shield protecting millions from the Administrations's cruel Public Charge revised rule from devastating countless immigrant families. Our work has never been more important.  

"We will continue our fight to defend immigrants against the arbitrary and capricious actions of the Trump administration to disenfranchise otherwise lawfully eligible immigrants from becoming Lawful permanent Residents in the United States by joining lawsuits against Trump's Healthcare Proclamation, and DOS Proposed Public Charge Rule," says ASC Supervising Attorney Franco Torres.

Finally, ASC will be filing federal litigation as needed to help ASC clients battle the backlog of cases stuck in the immigration system that is hurting their chances to gain lawful immigration status in the U.S.

Fighting Efforts to Disenfranchise Low-Income Immigrants

Public charge is just one brick in the Administration's invisible wall. The Muslim and refugee bans, Census citizenship question, raids separating Mississippi children from their parents on the first day of school, health insurance proclamation, and the fee waiver rule all represent other bricks in this wall. And these attacks have nothing to do with immigration — they’re about race and class, designed to send one message: if you’re not white and you’re not wealthy, you’re not welcome. The real damage is being done by the “chilling effect” resulting from the Administration's deliberate and coordinated efforts to terrorize families of color. For instance, the uninsured rate up for the first time in a decade, un-insurance among children up by 400,000 under Trump and more and more children are going without food and health care nationwide. 

Join us and our allies at www.protectingimmigrantfamilies.org

We will carry on with our efforts to educate and prepare the immigrant community. "We want to underscore the importance of speaking with a licensed immigration attorney before individuals consider any changes to their use of public benefit programs,” said ASC Staff Attorney, Gabriel Guimaraes.  

Questions?

Public charge only applies only to the following groups: (1) people in the U.S. who are in the process of applying for green card status through a family member (often a parent, child or spouse); (2) people who are sponsored by a small business owned by their family members; (3) people who already have a green card but who (a) have traveled abroad for more than 180 days or (b) have traveled abroad and have a criminal conviction, and are seeking to re-enter the U.S. 

The Court issued a temporary order directing that the Rule will not take effect on October 15, 2019. This means that, for now, the rule governing public charge will remain the same as it has been for the last twenty years under the 1999 Field Guidance.  Under the 1999 Field Guidance, only receipt of cash assistance or government-funded long-term institutional care will make it likely that someone is found a public charge. No other benefits count. 

Who Does the Court’s Ruling Apply to? 
Anyone who is applying to obtain a green card through a family-member, regardless of where they live in the U.S. 

Who Should I Contact For More Information?

African Services Committee / Immigrant Community Law Center Legal Hotline is Live
First + Third Thursdays 9am - 12pm
(212) 222 - 3882
 
The hotline operates live every First and Third Thursday of the month from 9am to 12pm. The Hotline will serve to pre-screen legal callers and schedule follow-up consultations/ upcoming workshops , where they will meet with ASC staff to provide legal advice or services as appropriate. Hotline callers will not receive legal advice on the hotline.
 
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You can also get information about public charge by calling ActionNYC at 800-354-0365, between 9am-5pm, M-F, or call 311 and say “ActionNYC.”  

You can also call The Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Helpline at 844-955-3425, between 9am-5pm, M-F.

 

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