Published September, 2019

State of Washington v. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Brief of Amici Curiae ACLU, et al. (9/9/2019)

Eighteen national disability advocacy groups filed an amicus brief in support of litigation to stop the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing its new “public charge” rule. Twenty-one states, led by California, Washington, and New York filed cases against the Trump Administration to block the new rule. In a brief that outlines the history of discrimination against people living with disabilities in the U.S., and the evolution of attitudes and laws recognizing the contributions and rights of people with disabilities, the advocacy groups argue that the new rules' increased focus on an applicant's use of health care and programs such as Medicaid constitutes disability-based discrimination in violation of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security published a revised, final public charge rule, which defines personal circumstances that affect the ability of individuals and their families to successfully enter the U.S. or acquire legal permanent resident status (i.e., get a green card). The final rule increases the types of programs that the federal government will consider in public charge determinations to now also include previously excluded health, nutrition, and housing programs. The DHS states in the rule that its primary goal is to better ensure that individuals entering or seeking to stay in the U.S. are self-sufficient.

The public charge rule will become effective on October 15, 2019 if litigation doesn’t prevent the rule from going into effect.