A federal judge in New York issued two rulings last Wednesday that put a temporary freeze on the Trump administration’s public charge rule. The rule broadened the definition of who counts as a “public charge,” making it more difficult to apply for a green card and other types of status in the U.S. Read more on our blog!
Judge George Daniels of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York found that the public charge rule “deterred immigrants from seeking testing and treatment for COVID-19.” Although USCIS did say that COVID-19 treatment and preventive services are not taken into account when determining whether an immigrant is likely to become a public charge, Judge Daniels found that “doctors and other medical personnel, state and local officials… have all witnessed immigrants refusing to enroll in Medicaid or other publicly funded health coverage, or forgoing testing or treatment of COVID-19, out of fear that accepting such insurance or care will increase their risk of being labeled a ‘public charge.'”
USCIS and the Department of State are now blocked from applying the new public charge rule and must apply the one that existed prior to 2018. The agency has responded that it will abide by the terms of the decision and “will be providing additional guidance.”
See the history of this rule here.