District Court Temporarily Enjoins Public Charge Rule; Form I-944 Not Required For AOS Filings as of July 29
August 3, 2020
On July 29, 2020 the US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a nationwide injunction directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to stop enforcing the Public Charge rule during any period in which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The District Court found that the plaintiffs (the States of New York, Connecticut, Vermont and the City of New York) met their burden of showing irreparable harm in that the Public Charge Rule has deterred “immigrants from seeking testing and treatment for COVID-19, which in turn impedes public efforts … to stem the spread of the disease.”
This means that Form I-944, which placed a large burden on all foreign national applicants for Adjustment of Status to provide detailed financial data in order to establish that they would not become a public charge, will not be required as of July 29, the date of the injunction. The Form I-944 has been required since February 24, 2020.
The USCIS has also confirmed that applicants and petitioners will not need to answer questions relating to the receipt of public benefits on Forms I-539 and I-129.
The District Court also enjoined the Department of State’s public charge rule, holding that it likely violates the Administrative Procedures Act. This means that the Form DS-5540, which also went into effect on February 24, 2020 should not be required at US consulate posts.