Tuesday, October 15, 2019 [Baltimore, MD]⁠ — After arguments by lawyers from Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) last Thursday in a case brought by CASA de Maryland and two DACA protectees, U.S. District Court Judge Paul W. Grimm late last night issued a nationwide preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security’s new Public Charge Rule, which otherwise would have gone into effect today.  The Rule would have given nearly unfettered discretion to immigration officials to deny green cards to low-income immigrants based on speculation that the person may, at some point over the course of a lifetime, temporarily receive a small amount of certain public benefits and thereby become a “public charge.”  The judge concluded that CASA was likely to prevail on the merits of its claim that the new rule is “not in accordance with law” because it is contrary to dictionary definitions of the term “public charge,” congressional intent, and federal court and executive branch precedent. 

 “Judge Grimm’s well reasoned opinion establishes that DHS’s attempt to redefine what it means to be likely to become a public charge runs headlong into the consistent interpretation of the term for over 100 years to mean likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence,” said Mary McCord, Legal Director for ICAP.  “DHS would allow immigration officials to deny green cards based on speculation that an applicant might accept as little as 12 months of non-cash public benefits such as food and healthcare assistance over any 36-month period throughout a lifetime.  As Judge Grimm recognized, this redefinition of public charge is so expansive it could cover as much as half the U.S.-born population.”

 “CASA applauds Judge Grimm for his thoughtful and well-reasoned decision stopping the government from enacting this harmful public charge rule,” said CASA’s Chief of Programs and Services, George Escobar.  “Our members, more than 100,000 strong, will continue to fight for justice in this case and wherever the administration seeks to attack immigrant communities. Fundamentally, immigrants make the United States stronger and we should be welcoming newcomers, refugees and other immigrants into our country, not building walls⁠—whether physical or administrative⁠—to keep them out.” 

 Judge Grimm is the fifth federal judge to enjoin enforcement of the Public Charge Rule since last Friday. 


With over 100,000 members across the states of Maryland, Virginia, and South Central Pennsylvania, CASA is the largest member-based Latino and immigrant organization in the mid-Atlantic region. CASA organizes with and litigates on behalf of low-wage immigrants. Visit us at www.wearecasa.org and follow us on Twitter at @CASAforall.

 The Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) uses the power of the courts to defend American constitutional rights and values. Based at Georgetown Law Center, ICAP draws on expert litigators, savvy litigation strategy and the constitutional scholarship of Georgetown to vindicate individuals’ rights and to protect America’s constitutional way of life. More information about ICAP can be found at https://www.law.georgetown.edu/icap/.


CASA: Lizette Olmos, lolmos@wearecasa.org, 240-706-2624  

ICAP: Lucy Bradlow, lbradlow@gpg.com, 415-307-3218