Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas issued a statement Tuesday that said the administration would no longer defend the 2019 public charge rule in the multiple court cases challenging it.

Key Points:

  • The Justice Department withdrew its appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court and two federal appeals courts in cases involving the public charge rule.
  • As a result of the cases being dismissed, the public charge rule is no longer in effect.
  • Public charge inadmissibility determinations will once again be based on longstanding policies in place before the implementation of the public charge rule.

Background: In announcing the decision to stop defending the public charge rule, Mayorkas said the regulation was “not in keeping with our nation’s values” because it penalized individuals for accessing health benefits and other government services available to them. In November, a federal court in Illinois struck down the rule in its entirety. The government’s move to abandon its appeal of that ruling means that the court’s decision becomes final.

BAL Analysis: The announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that it will return to previous public charge guidelines is welcome news. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is expected to issue guidance confirming that applicants no longer need to provide documentation required under the rule, and DHS is expected to announce additional details regarding its plans for the rule going forward. A full review of public charge actions by DHS and other agencies remains ongoing under an executive order issued by President Joe Biden.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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