Wednesday March 10, 2021

Green Card Public Charge Rule is Finally Dead

by Scott Girard

In swift succession, U.S. Supreme Court and federal court actions killed the public charge rule imposed by former President Trump. The rule required intending lawful permanent residents (also called green card holders) to prove they would not become reliant on government benefits as permanent residents in the U.S. The rule was a headache for both green card applicants and their attorneys, requiring invasive examination of applicants’ personal lives and finances.

In November 2020, a district court in Illinois vacated former President Trump’s public charge rule as a violation of administrative law. The district court ordered the government to stop enforcing the rule. The former Trump administration appealed that order to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which stayed, or stopped, the district court’s decision from vacating the public charge rule. Another similar case in the 2nd Circuit was also challenged by the former Trump administration. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to weigh in on Trump’s public charge rule merely weeks ago. However, after the Biden administration withdrew the appeal today, March 9, 2021, the dominoes began to fall. The 7th Circuit dismissed the appeal of the district court decision in Illinois. That left the district court decision in Illinois as the current binding decision nationwide. The public charge rule is vacated and the government cannot enforce it.

The public charge rule was widely criticized as an anti-immigrant fear tactic. It unfairly targeted immigrants from poorer backgrounds and countries, often requiring them to prove they were insured and/or had a good credit score, among other requirements. This created a hierarchy favoring immigrants from wealthier backgrounds or countries over less advantaged immigrants. It also instilled fear and confusion among much of the immigrant community. Fortunately, those communities and families no longer need to fear about the public charge rule.

This was not the only significant rule change today, March 9, 2021, as the Biden administration also announced it will designate Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This means certain Venezuelans in the U.S. will be temporarily protected from deportation and will be given the opportunity to live and work in the U.S. without fear of being deported to an unstable and dangerous country. If you have any questions about the public charge rule or Venezuelan TPS, please call one of our immigration attorneys at 913-210-0939 or email at

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