Victory! Fourth Circuit Green Lights Public Charge Rule

Press Releases

August 6, 2020

Agrees with IRLI that rule is reasonable

WASHINGTON—Across the country, activist lawyers and politicians are helping aliens help themselves—to taxpayer-funded welfare benefits. In carefully-selected federal district courts, these activists sued the Trump administration over its implementation of the public charge rule, a centuries-old law that excludes immigrants who are likely to burden the public rather than enrich our country.

In one of these cases, the federal district court in Maryland enjoined the rule. On appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging reversal of that judgment. IRLI’s was the only such brief in favor of the public charge rule, up against more than twenty activists’ briefs on the other side. In its brief, IRLI emphasized the immemorial tradition in this country, reflected in both current law and Trump’s rule, of excluding immigrants who would burden the public.

Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit agreed with IRLI and disagreed with the activists, finding that the administration’s public charge rule, in light of the history of the law excluding immigrants likely to be “public charges,” was a reasonable interpretation of that law.

“Thanks to the public charge rule, generations of immigrants have strengthened our country instead of weakening it,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “But some lawyers and even judges passionately want to privilege welfare-abusing aliens above American taxpayers. We applaud the Fourth Circuit’s sensible ruling shutting down one of those efforts. In these tough times, it is only common sense that we should not be admitting immigrants who will end up on welfare.”

The case is Casa de Maryland v. Trump, No. 19-2222 (Fourth Circuit).

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

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