Full Seventh Circuit to Hear Public Charge Case?

Press Releases

August 4, 2020

IRLI urges full-court reversal

WASHINGTON—Usually, federal appeals courts hear cases before three-judge panels. In a case brought by activists challenging President Trump’s Public Charge Rule, however, a panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a flawed decision affirming a lower-court injunction of that rule. Yesterday, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the government’s petition to have the full or “en banc” Seventh Circuit rehear the case and decide it differently.

The Public Charge Rule denies green cards to aliens likely to consume welfare benefits. This rule, IRLI shows in its brief, not only tracks the plain language of a statute (ignored by previous administrations) that denies immigration benefits to those likely to become “public charges,” but reflects the immemorial tradition in America that immigrants should be self-sufficient. Like the lower court before it, the Seventh Circuit panel gave only specious and contrived reasons for the rule’s injunction.

“From colonial times onwards, America has insisted that settlers and immigrants be self-sufficient, not taxpayer-dependent,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “This rule has served our nation well, but in recent decades it hasn’t been enforced, to the point where immigrant households are now more dependent on public assistance than native households. We hope the full Seventh Circuit takes up this case and upholds the administration’s return to a time-tested policy that requires hardy self-reliance in our immigrants, and puts the interests of the American people first.”

The case is Cook County, Illinois v. Wolf, No. 19-3169 (Seventh Circuit).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

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