CLASP Praises Biden-Harris Administration Choice to Stop Defending Public Charge Regulations

Washington, DC, March 9, 2021 — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a case regarding the Trump Administration’s public charge regulations, following a joint request from the U.S. Department of Justice and the jurisdictions that had sued opposing this rule that has made immigrant families afraid to access the health, nutrition, housing, and economic supports they need to help weather the COVID-19 crisis. The 7th Circuit court quickly followed suit, allowing a final judgement against the Trump-era regulation to take effect nationwide. The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that once the previously entered judicial invalidation of the Trump-era rule becomes final, the public charge policy will revert to the previous long-standing policies, as laid out in 1999 guidance.

Today’s announcements follow years of work by litigation partners fighting the Trump-era regulation in courts and advocacy from hundreds of nonprofit organizations through the Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) coalition. On February 2, President Biden issued an Executive Order on public charge, directing the Justice Department and other agencies to review the impact of the Trump public charge policy and take appropriate action.

“This is a turning point in our fight against the Trump regulations, and we thank the Biden-Harris Administration for this decision. We also recognize that the administration needs to do more to continue protecting immigrant families and our nation, including rulemaking to reverse the regulations and public engagement to ensure that immigrant families know they can safely get the care and help they need,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy.

On February 22, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear an appeal filed by the Trump administration of a lower court ruling against the regulations. Trump’s public charge policies have taken a devastating toll on our nation’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, worsening the pandemic’s harm on those already bearing the heaviest burdens from centuries of institutional racism.