Two Significant Victories in the Public Charge Litigation

Court Order Blocking Implementation of Public Charge Rule in Illinois is Upheld on Appeal and Lower Court Upholds ICIRR’s Equal Protection Clause Claim

No family should have to make the choice between meeting their basic needs and being with their loved ones, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

On June 10, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s issuance of a preliminary injunction in Illinois against the Trump Administration’s public charge rule. This cruel rule punishes people seeking permanent resident status in the United States, and as well as those seeking certain visas, if they use—or are deemed likely to use in the future—public supports to meet their family’s basic health, housing, and nutrition needs.

The 7th Circuit recognized the potentially dire public health consequences of the rule on immigrants and their families, especially now, with particular consideration for how the rule harms persons with disabilities who rely upon Medicaid in order to be self-sufficient.

The 7th Circuit also recognized the illogic of the public charge rule, as it essentially sets a trap for immigrants by penalizing them for accepting public benefits Congress made available to them.

Unfortunately, the 7th Circuit’s decision does not alter the United States Supreme Court earlier ruling to block the Illinois injunction halting the federal government’s public charge rule from being implemented. The public charge rule remains in effect in Illinois and nationally. Click here for more information.

In another victory in the case, the federal district court also recently dealt a blow to the public charge rule by allowing Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights’ (ICIRR) claim that the rule intentionally discriminates against Latinx and nonwhite immigrants to move forward. ICIRR alleges that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intentionally designed the public charge rule to negatively impact Latinx immigrants and immigrants of color in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. This ruling permits ICIRR to proceed with discovery on this claim and potentially uncover further evidence of a discriminatory motive behind the Trump Administration’s public charge rule.

“The courts continue to shine a light on the pervasive injustice and discrimination behind the creation of the public charge rule,” says Militza Pagán, attorney and member of the litigation team at the Shriver Center. “We will continue to fight for immigrant families through the courts and elsewhere.”

ICIRR is represented by the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Legal Council for Health Justice, and Sidley Austin LLP. Cook County is represented by lawyers from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Civil Actions Bureau and Goldberg Kohn. 

Recent statements about this case.  

Shriver Center Urges Supreme Court to Suspend Public Charge Rule (April 20, 2020)  

Despite Supreme Court Ruling, Shriver Center Will Continue to Fight to Protect ImmigrantFamilies (February 22, 2020)   

Federal Court Grants Illinois Injunction Against Public Charge Rule (October 15, 2019)  

Shriver Center Files Lawsuit Challenging Public Charge Rule (September 24, 2019) 

More Information

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