Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Court Grants Coalition’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction; Stops “Public Charge” Rule from Taking Effect

October 11, 2019

Contact: Ben Battles, Solicitor General, 802-828-3171

In response to the lawsuit filed by Vermont, New York, Connecticut, and the City of New York, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York today granted a nationwide preliminary injunction stopping the Trump Administration’s new “public charge” rule from taking effect. The rule, which was scheduled to take effect on October 15, 2019, would have expanded the current “public charge” policies. The change would have allowed the federal government to consider if an individual has received public assistance, or is likely to seek public assistance, when considering the individual’s entry into the country or application for a green card. The public assistance programs considered in the rule would have included Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT), and Section 8.

“Vermont will not allow people to be penalized for needing a helping hand when they come to this country,” said Attorney General Donovan. “Today’s victory sends a clear message that public benefits are a hand-up, not a handout.”

In August 2019, the coalition filed a lawsuit in which they argued that expansion of the “public charge” rule would have short- and long-term impacts on public health and the economy while also penalizing immigrants from large families, immigrants with poor health, immigrants with limited English proficiency, and immigrants with low net worth. The coalition filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in September 2019 which was granted by the Court today.

Last modified: October 11, 2019