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Key Points
  • A District Court in Cook County, Illinois has vacated the Public Charge Rule
  • The Public Charge Rule is vacated nationwide
  • Starting today, DHS can no longer apply the Public Charge Rule
  • The latest ruling follows extensive litigation on the Public Charge Rule since its implementation
  • Vacatur of the Rule is effective immediately

On November 2, 2020, a district court in Cook County, Illinois vacated the Public Charge Rule nationwide. Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can no longer apply the Public Charge Rule.


The Public Charge Rule was implemented on February 24, 2020. It has been the subject of ongoing litigation since then. Two nationwide injunctions were issued against DHS in July 2020 that temporarily blocked the Trump Administration from enforcing the Public Charge Rule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On September 22, 2020, DHS reimposed the Public Charge Rule nationwide.

Who is Affected?

The Public Charge Rule impacts anyone who receives certain federal benefits. DHS considers foreign nationals who are likely to become a public charge at any time inadmissible to the United States and ineligible for lawful permanent resident status. DHS considers a public charge to be a foreign national who has received one or more public benefits for more than 12 months in a 36-month time period.

What has Changed?

On November 2, 2020, the Cook County District Court ruled that the Public Charge Rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act. Specifically, the court ruled that the Public Charge Rule exceeds DHS’s authority under the public charge provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The court rule that the Public Charge Rule is not in accordance with the law, and it is arbitrary and capricious.

What are the Impacts?

Vacatur of the Public Charge Rule is effective immediately.

We anticipate guidance from USCIS on updates to forms soon. We will provide updates as available.

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