Public Charge Rule Dismissed by the Supreme Court


On March 9, 2021 the Biden Administration dismissed their petition before the US Supreme Court to defend the “public charge rule.” The public charge rule was a Trump-era regulation that would make it very difficult for immigrants to obtain permanent residence if they had used public benefits, had a low income, and/or a limited educational background. Even for individuals with a substantial net worth and high income the rule presented a hurdle to obtaining permanent resident status, since it often required submission of hundreds of pages of financial documents to prove that the individual would not obtain public benefits once admitted to the United States.


The rule had previously been enjoined by a number of federal district and circuit courts. On November 2, 2020 the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued a nationwide injunction against the rule in Cook County, Illinois, et al v. Wolf, No. 19-cv-6334. Subsequently, the Seventh Circuit granted an administrative stay that allowed USCIS to implement the rule while the Department of Homeland Security litigated the rule before the Supreme Court. The dismissal of the case by the Supreme Court today means that the nationwide injunction should be re-implemented. However, USCIS has yet to issue guidance so intending immigrants and practitioners should continue to comply with the Public Charge Rule and submit the I-944 form until USCIS issues official guidance. If you have additional questions or require guidance, the immigration professionals at Bunger and Robertson are always willing to assist.