Foley Hoag Supports Plaintiff's Successful Bid at Preliminary Injunction of Trump Administration's "Public Charge" Rule | Foley Hoag

October 15, 2019

Foley Hoag LLP and its pro bono partner, Health Law Advocates, filed amicus briefs in three different federal district courts in support of a request to enjoin one of the Trump administration's latest immigration regulations, the public charge rule. On Friday, all three of those courts issued nationwide injunctions preventing the implementation of the rule.

Foley Hoag shared lead counsel duties with lawyers from Health Law Advocates on the amicus briefs, which were submitted on behalf of Health Law Advocates and 23 additional non-profit and advocacy organizations interested in public health. The briefs were filed in four different federal lawsuits pending in the United States district courts for the Eastern District of Washington, Southern District of New York, and the District of Maryland. Amici opposed the public charge rule because the rule contravenes Congressional intent as set forth in numerous health and immigration statutes, and will have wide-ranging adverse impacts on public health.

A “public charge” has long been defined as an individual who was primarily and permanently dependent on the government. The new rule changed “public charge” to mean individuals who are likely to access a range of public benefits, including non-emergency Medicaid, and weighs heavily the past receipt of those benefits in determining whether an non-U.S. citizen is admissible to the United States or may adjust their status to obtain a green card.

“The new public charge rule, and particularly the inclusion of Medicaid as ‘public benefit’ threatens to unravel the health care system that was carefully designed by Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the states.” said Foley Hoag partner Kristyn DeFilipp. “Plaintiffs argued that the Rule’s chilling effects will cause individuals to disenroll from Medicaid and other public benefits.  We were happy to support those arguments with a brief illustrating the wide-ranging impacts that such disenrollment will have on the entire health care system, not just those individuals who choose to disenroll.”

One court that entered a nationwide injunction, the Eastern District of Washington, cited the Foley Hoag/HLA brief multiple times in its fifty-nine page decision.

Foley Hoag attorneys working on the brief include DeFilipp, Thomas Barker, Andrew London, Emily Nash, Haider David Andazola and senior litigation paralegal Carla Nigro. The team also included HLA Legal Director Justin Lowe, and HLA Board Member Wendy Parmet, the Matthews University Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University.

To learn more about the new rule, please visit Foley Hoag’s Medicaid & the Law blog.