Supreme Court Rules That Attorney General James Can Take Public Charge Fight Back to Lower Court
As Coronavirus Rages On, Continuing to Implement Public Charge Rule
Continues to Hurt Immigrants and Public at Large
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James tonight confirmed that she will lead a coalition of three states and New York City in asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to halt implementation of the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule, after the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this evening chose not to act in the matter itself but ruled that the plaintiffs had this option. Last week, Attorney General James and the coalition filed a motion with the Supreme Court, asking the court to revisit the question of interim relief on Public Charge in light of the new and devastating effects that the rule has had on the nation’s public health and economy as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread across New York and the rest of the nation.
“The Supreme Court’s order tonight allows us to continue the fight to halt the Public Charge Rule during the current public health crisis, and gives us the opportunity to make our case in a federal court in New York,” said Attorney General James. “We will soon file an emergency motion in the Southern District of New York because our country cannot afford to wait. The Public Charge Rule threatens the public’s health, our economy, and all New Yorkers — citizens and non-citizens alike. Every person who doesn’t get the health coverage they need today risks infecting another person with the coronavirus tomorrow.”
The Public Charge Rule drives immigrants and their families away from accessing health and nutritional benefits to which they are entitled by threatening applicants’ eligibility for green cards and visa renewals. The Supreme Court issued an order in January that had been denied by the lower courts, allowing the rule to take effect while legal challenges to the rule are pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and through a possible petition to the Supreme Court.
Last week, Attorney General James led a coalition in asking the Supreme Court to take emergency measures to temporarily halt its earlier order on the Public Charge Rule until the national pandemic is over, in light of the new and devastating effects that the rule has had on the nation’s public health and economy as COVID-19 has spread over the last six weeks and in an effort to prevent the rule from impeding efforts to slow the continued spread of the virus happening nationwide.
While the Supreme Court did not halt its own order tonight, the court gave Attorney General James and the coalition permission to take the request back to the district court. In October 2019, after Attorney General James and the coalition filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the district court issued an order that stopped the rule from going into effect during the litigation. The Trump Administration then filed a motion to stay the order, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied the request. The Administration finally filed a motion in the U.S. Supreme Court, which issued a stay of the district court’s preliminary injunction, pending the Second Circuit’s decision in the case and any subsequent petition to the Supreme Court to hear the case.
Last August, days after the Trump Administration initially issued the Public Charge Rule, Attorney General James and a coalition of states and New York City filed a lawsuit challenging Trump Administration rule, noting that the rule specifically targets immigrants of color, immigrants with disabilities, and low-income immigrants, while putting these communities at risk, and would have short- and long-term impacts on public health and the economy.
The attorneys general of Connecticut and Vermont, as well as corporation counsel for New York City, will join Attorney General James in filing this new motion in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.