DHS Will No Longer Defend Public Charge Rule; Supreme Court Dismisses Case

The Biden administration will not defend the widely opposed Public Charge rule that made it more difficult for immigrants who rely on, or who would rely on, public assistance to enter or gain legal status in the United States. The Trump administration introduced the Public Charge rule in 2019, and it went into effect on February 24, 2020.

Last month, President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14,012 asked the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security and the Attorney General to consider “the effects and implications of public charge policies.”

On Tuesday, following the review period, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released their determination that “continuing to defend the final rule, Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, 84 Fed. Reg. 41,292 (Aug. 14, 2019) (2019 Rule) is neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources. Consistent with that decision, the Department of Justice will no longer pursue appellate review of judicial decisions invalidating or enjoining enforcement of the 2019 Rule.”

Also on Tuesday, the Supreme Court announced it would no longer provide judgment on the Public Charge rule’s legality.

Following the DHS’s decision and the DOJ’s invalidation, the 1999 interim field guidance on the public charge will apply. This was the policy in place prior to the 2019 rule. Notable differences include that DHS will no longer consider receipt of Medicaid (except for long-term institutionalization), public housing, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as part of the inadmissibility determination. Medical treatment for COVID-19, including vaccines, is not considered.

The Department of Homeland Security and USCIS will provide further guidance on future administration of the public charge grounds for inadmissibility and when the 2019 rule will no longer be applied.


Erickson Immigration Group will continue to send updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.