Biden Administration Ends Defense of 2019 Public Charge Rule

March 10, 2021 Anne Walsh

Key Points

  • The Biden administration will no longer defend the Trump administration’s Public Charge Rule
  • The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed the Public Charge appeal and the rule is no longer before the Court
  • Lower court judgments invalidating or enjoining the 2019 Public Charge Rule will become final
  • The Public Charge Rule was extensively litigated from its implementation and obligated foreign nationals applying for green cards to provide extensive financial documentation and Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency
  • USCIS has issued a statement on the 2019 Public Charge Rule and Form I-944 requirements

Overview

The Biden administration has announced that it will no longer defend the Public Charge Rule, implemented by the Trump administration, against forthcoming legal challenges. USCIS has issued accompanying guidance on the 2019 Public Charge Rule for employers and applicants.

What are the Changes?

In February 2021, the Biden administration issued an executive order mandating review of the 2019 Public Charge Rule by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS has determined that continuing to defend the 2019 rule is neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources. As such, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will no longer pursue appellate review of judicial decisions invalidating or enjoining enforcement of the 2019 rule. The rule thereby cannot be enforced per District Court judgements.

The Supreme Court has dismissed the Public Charge appeal.

A corresponding statement issued by USCIS concerns when the agency will cease applying the 2019 Public Charge Rule, including eliminating the Form I-944 requirement in I-485 green card applications.

Background

The Public Charge Rule has been heavily litigated since its implementation in 2019 by President Trump. Foreign nationals cannot receive a green card if the government believes they will become reliant on government assistance for their well-being, also known as a “public charge.” In 2019, the Trump administration defined the term “public charge” more expansively than in the past. This obligated foreign nationals applying for green cards to provide extensive financial documentation and Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, which increased application preparation time, cost and Request for Evidence (RFE) issuance.  

Looking Ahead

Along with the recent announcement from USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to soon issue a statement regarding the 2019 Public Charge Rule. Envoy and Global Immigration Associates will provide updates as they become available.


Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Anne Walsh, who is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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