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Paul, Weiss, Legal Aid Society and CCR Sue to Block Proposed “Public Charge” Rule

Paul, Weiss, along with co-counsel at the Legal Aid Society and the Center for Constitutional Rights, filed suit on behalf of several community organizations to prevent the Trump Administration’s proposed “public charge” rule from taking effect on October 15, 2019. The rule, promulgated on August 14 by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, proposes a new, expansive definition of the term “public charge” in federal immigration law. The rule would allow immigration officials to deny admission or lawful permanent residence (green card status) to hundreds of thousands or millions of low- and middle-income immigrants who are deemed likely at any time in the future to receive certain public benefits such as SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid and certain rental assistance. If not enjoined, the new rule will cause sweeping adverse consequences to immigrant communities and the nation, as individuals forego critical benefits to which they are legally entitled out of fear that doing so will jeopardize their immigration status. 

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, claims that the rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act because, among other things, it contradicts the long-standing interpretation of the term “public charge” as limited to an individual who is primarily dependent upon public support, an interpretation that has been in effect for over 100 years and which Congress has repeatedly declined to revise. The lawsuit also claims that the rule violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of Equal Protection because it is motivated by animus against immigrants of color and is intended to disproportionately affect immigrants from countries with primarily non-white populations. 

The organizational plaintiffs are Make the Road New York, African Services Committee, Asian American Federation, Catholic Charities Community Services (Archdiocese of New York), and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

The Paul, Weiss team that drafted and filed the complaint includes litigation partner Andrew Ehrlich, counsel Jonathan Hurwitz and associates Ravi Sharma, Robert O’Loughlin, Daniel Sinnreich, Amy Bowles, Avery Burrell, Jason Driscoll, Angela Galdamez, Patrick Kessock, Leah Park and Brittney Xu. Of Counsel Daniel Beller and several additional current and former Paul, Weiss associates also contributed to the development of the case.

August 27, 2019

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