One day after a federal court in Illinois struck down the Department of Homeland Security’s public charge rule in its entirety, an appeals court has paused that order, allowing DHS to continue enforcing the contested rule for now.

Key points:

  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit granted the government’s request for an immediate pause of the lower court’s order and gave the plaintiffs, who are challenging the rule, until Nov. 17 to file their arguments in response.
  • This appellate ruling allows U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to continue enforcing the public charge rule for the time being.

Background: Since the public charge rule was finalized last year, it has been subject to multiple legal challenges and its implementation has been stopped and started again by numerous court orders. USCIS implemented the rule on Feb. 24, 2020, after the Supreme Court paused temporary nationwide injunctions that blocked the rule. In the current case, however, the lower court issued not a temporary injunction but a final order vacating the rule as unlawful. The appellate ruling has put the lower court final order on hold.

BAL Analysis: For now, the public charge rule continues to be implemented and applicants should continue to work with their BAL professional to provide the forms and documentation related to the rule. This lawsuit does not affect the State Department’s version of the rule that applies to visa applicants outside the U.S. and that remains on hold by a separate court order.

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

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