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Palm Beach County Immigration Attorney > Blog > Immigration > The Harsher Parts Of The Public Charge Rule May Be Gone

The Harsher Parts Of The Public Charge Rule May Be Gone


For many years—before this president, the president before him, and many presidents beforehand—immigration law has had what is known as the public charge rule. This rule has prohibited anybody from entering the country who could be a “public charge”—that is, someone who will take more from the system than he or she puts into it.

What is the Public Charge Rule?

Practically, the rule bars those who are likely to take public benefits, such as housing assistance, Medicaid, food stamps or any other number of public benefits. From president to president, what is or is not a “public charge” has been changed, depending on that president’s policy on immigration, but the rule has always been there in some form.

When the rule became tougher in 2019, prohibiting those who receive Medicaid from entering the country or from obtaining a Green Card, the new policy was struck down by a number of federal courts. But then the US Supreme Court allowed the rule to stand. Then more federal courts said the rule couldn’t be enforced. The validity of the rule was set to be heard by the Supreme Court yet again.

New Administration Won’t Pursue the Rule

But the new administration in Washington has said that it will not seek to enforce the rule (at least, not the rule as it was toughened in 2019), and thus, the challenge to the rule is now dismissed.

Where does that leave the public charge rule? The good news is that the tougher, more specific restrictions on the rule put in place in 2019 are gone. That means that coming into or remaining in the country will be easier for those who may not have financial means, and who may need to rely on some level of public benefits. Certainly, the mere fact someone accepts medical benefits from the government won’t be a disqualifying factor in immigration matters.

The negative is that the rule is now more vague, and could be left to the subjective opinions or biases of whoever happens to be reviewing an immigration application at any given time. The public charge rule does exist, it just exists in a much vaguer form than it had been for the previous few years.

States Want to Step In

But the fight may not be over. Although the government has opted not to pursue the rule in the Supreme Court, a coalition of 11 states have asked the Supreme Court to “step in the shoes” of the Federal Government, and pursue the challenge to the rule.

The question is whether the states have standing to maintain the case—that is, whether they have an actual stake in the outcome. The states contend that they do, given that their resources are allegedly being drained by immigrants who are public charges.

Contact the Palm Beach County immigration attorneys at Devore Law Group today for help if you have any kind of immigration law problem.



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