As CHA reported last week, a U.S. district court on July 29 issued a nationwide injunction preventing the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing the “public charge” federal regulations that became effective last August. However, last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s order.
The district court held that the COVID-19 pandemic drastically increased the potential risk of harm to immigrants of foregoing public benefits, including health care, which would justify the injunction during the public health emergency.
Although other injunctions are in place in New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and the Chicago area, there is now no injunction in place for California, allowing the Department of Homeland Security to enforce the rule here.
As a reminder, hospitals should not provide legal advice to patients on the impact of the public charge rule on their immigration status, as each situation is different, and the rules have been changing frequently. Instead, hospitals should refer patients to an immigration expert who can advise on the patient’s situation. Hospitals can still explain whether someone is eligible for a health care or public benefits program, but only a qualified immigration lawyer should advise on whether a patient’s use of the program will affect their immigration status.