Healthcare Advocates Combat Public Charge Rule in Federal Court

Health Disparities, Immigrant Rights

Healthcare Advocates Combat Anti-Immigrant Public Charge Rule in Federal Court

Continuing the battle against the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda, Lawyers for Civil Rights filed an amicus brief on Friday in a pending lawsuit challenging the federal government’s unprecedented expansion of the public charge rule.  The brief highlights the significant harm that the rule would have on immigrant families’ healthcare. It was filed on behalf of healthcare organizations from across the country, including:

  • Massachusetts General Hospital Chelsea Healthcare Center
  • International Community Health Services
  • Community Health Network of Washington
  • Housing Works
  • Latino Commission on AIDS
  • Bienestar Human Services
  • Gay Men’s Health Crisis
  • Mazzoni Center
  • Massachusetts Public Health Association

The involvement of healthcare advocates and providers from across the country, including Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, California, and Washington, highlights the grave harm posed by the public charge rule.

In the underlying lawsuit, fourteen state attorneys general, including Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, are seeking a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) public charge rule—which would penalize immigrants who access life-saving benefits such as Medicaid, Section 8, and food stamps—from going into effect.  The case is pending in the Eastern District of Washington (Washington et al. v. United States Department of Homeland Security et al.).

Our brief argues that in crafting the rule, DHS failed to consider the negative impact on physician-patient relationships, making the rule arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The brief also puts forward considerable evidence that the rule would cause irreparable harm to the efforts of states, municipalities, and healthcare organizations to address the social determinants of health.

Lawyers for Civil Rights filed the brief with pro bono support from Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP and Lane Powell PC.

Oral argument in this case is scheduled for October 3, 2019.

The brief is available here:

Amicus Brief of Healthcare Providers and Advocates in Public Charge Lawsuit