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LAS Applauds Decision Halting Public Charge Rule

A federal court issued two nationwide injunctions temporarily blocking the Trump Administration’s “public charge” rules on Wednesday after immigrant right attorneys from The Legal Aid Society, Center for Constitutional Rights, National Immigration Law Center, and Paul Weiss successfully argued that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the public charge rules lethal to immigrant communities by chilling the use of healthcare and other benefits, according to the Washington Post.

An injunction issued against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) prevents DHS from enforcing, applying, implementing, or treating as effective the “public charge” rule for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The court also enjoined the Department of State from applying its parallel “public charge” rules, including the President’s Health Care Proclamation, to applicants for visas at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

The rule’s guidelines – insisting that immigrants applying for permanent residency must show they wouldn’t be burdens to the country – were almost immediately blocked by legal challenges when they were instituted in late 2019, making the decision a tremendous win for immigration advocates and communities everywhere.

Legal Aid attorney Susan Welber noted the effect the ruling has on the lives of millions of hardworking immigrants and their access to social services.

“Immigrants, especially people serving as essential workers combating the spread of the coronavirus, need access to life-saving healthcare, food assistance, and other essential services in order to both tackle the pandemic and protect their families without fear of immigration consequences,” said Welber, among the plaintiffs’ attorneys.