Key Points
  • Former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf ratified certain regulations on January 14, 2021
  • The ratifications include the USCIS Fee Schedule and the Public Charge Rule
  • The ratifications have not lifted any injunctions
Overview

On January 14, 2021, former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memo ratifying several measures.

What are the Changes?

Following his resignation as the acting DHS Secretary, Chad Wolf issued a memo ratifying several measures.

Among other actions, former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf ratified the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements and the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule.

Background

USCIS published a Final Rule on August 3, 2020 that significantly increased fees by an average weight of 20 percent. The fee schedule rule also modified fee waiver requirements, eliminated certain fee exemptions, changed premium processing time limits, and retained some fee waivers. On September 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction halting implementation of USCIS’s Fee Rule

The Public Charge Interim Final Rule was published on October 11, 2019 by the Department of State (DOS). The rule took effect nationwide on February 24, 2020. The rule was enjoined nationwide on July 29, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 12, 2020, the injunction was limited to Connecticut, Vermont, and New York. The rule was vacated on November 2, 2020 by a federal district court. That decision was stayed the following day. On December 2, 2020, the rule was enjoined in all regions in the U.S. represented by the plaintiffs (which include CA, DC, ME, OR, PA, WA, CO, DE, IL, MD, MA, MN, NV, NJ, NM, RI, HI, and VA. ). As of December 10, 2020, the preliminary injunction has not taken effect nationwide as this cannot occur until the Ninth Circuit issues a mandate, which will not occur until January 26, 2021, in the absence of a petition for rehearing or stay motion.

Looking Ahead

Although Chad Wolf has been granted the power to ratify regulations, no injunctions have been lifted on the ratifications. Any injunctions must be lifted through court decisions.


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