New York v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 19 Civ. 7777 (GBD)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
Writing for the CourtGEORGE B. DANIELS, United States District Judge
Citation408 F.Supp.3d 334
Parties State of NEW YORK, City of New York, State of Connecticut, and State of Vermont, Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan, in his official capacity as Acting Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, agent of Acting Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security; United States Citizenship and Immigration Service s; Director Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, in his official capacity as Acting Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Service ; and United States of America, Defendants.
Docket Number19 Civ. 7777 (GBD)
Decision Date11 October 2019

408 F.Supp.3d 334

State of NEW YORK, City of New York, State of Connecticut, and State of Vermont, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan, in his official capacity as Acting Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, agent of Acting Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security; United States Citizenship and Immigration Service s; Director Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, in his official capacity as Acting Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Service ; and United States of America, Defendants.

19 Civ. 7777 (GBD)

United States District Court, S.D. New York.

Signed October 11, 2019


408 F.Supp.3d 339

Amanda Marie Meyer, Elena Stacy Goldstein, Matthew Colangelo, Ming-Qi Chu, Abigail Everett Rosner, Office of The Attorney General, Tonya Jenerette, Corporation Counsel, Special Federal Litigation Division, Cynthia C. Weaver, Doris F. Bernhardt, Hope Lu, Melanie Calandra Teresa Ash, New York City Law Department, Matthew Colangelo, New York State Office of the Attorney General (28 Liberty), New York, NY, Joshua Perry, Office of the Attorney General, Hartford, CT 06106, Julio A. Thompson, Benjamin Daniel Battles, Eleanor Laurel Pullin Spottswood, Office of the Attorney General, Montpelier, VT, for Plaintiffs.

Joshua Kolsky, Eric Soskin, Ethan Price Davis, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

GEORGE B. DANIELS, United States District Judge

408 F.Supp.3d 340

Plaintiffs the State of New York, the City of New York, the State of Connecticut, and the State of Vermont bring this action against Defendants the United States Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"); the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"); Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan, in his official capacity as Acting Secretary of DHS; Director Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, in his official capacity as Acting Director of USCIS; and the United States of America. (Compl. for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief ("Compl."), ECF No. 17.) Plaintiffs challenge Defendants' promulgation, implementation, and enforcement of a rule, Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, 84 Fed. Reg. 41,292 (Aug. 14, 2019) (to be codified at 8 C.F.R. pts. 103, 212, 213, 214, 245, 248) (the "Rule"), which redefines the term "public charge" and establishes new criteria for determining whether a noncitizen applying for admission into the United States or for adjustment of status is ineligible because he or she is likely to become a "public charge." (See id. ¶ 2.) Plaintiffs seek, inter alia , (1) a judgment declaring that the Rule exceeds Defendants' statutory authority, violates the law, and is arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion; (2) a vacatur of the Rule; and (3) an injunction enjoining DHS from implementing the Rule. (Id. at 83–84.)

Plaintiffs now move pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 for a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from implementing or enforcing the Rule, which is scheduled to take effect on October 15, 2019. (Pls.' Notice of Mot., ECF No. 33.) They also move under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 705, for a stay postponing the effective date of the Rule pending adjudication of this action on the merits. ( Id . ) Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and stay of its effective date is GRANTED.1

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

A. Current Framework for Public Charge Determination.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (the "INA") provides that the federal government may deny admission or adjustment of status to any noncitizen who it determines is "likely at any time to become a public charge." 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(4)(A). In 1996, Congress enacted two pieces of legislation focusing on noncitizens' eligibility for public benefits and on public charge determinations. It first passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, Pub. L. No. 104-193, § 403, 110 Stat. 2105, 2265–67 (1996) (the "Welfare Reform Act"),

408 F.Supp.3d 341

which established a detailed—and restrictive—scheme governing noncitizens' access to benefits. It also passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-208, § 531, 110 Stat. 3009, 3674–75 (1996) ("IIRIRA"), which amended the INA by codifying five factors relevant to a public charge determination. Specifically, IIRIRA provides that in assessing whether an applicant is likely to fall within the definition of public charge, DHS should, "at a minimum," take into account the applicant's age; health; firmly status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills. 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(4)(B)(i).

In 1999, DHS's predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS"), issued its Field Guidance on Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, 64 Fed. Reg. 28,689 (May 26, 1999) (the "Field Guidance"), as well as a parallel proposed rule, 64 Fed. Reg. 28,676, which "summarize[d] longstanding law with respect to public charge and provide[d] new guidance on public charge determinations" in light of IIRIRA, the Welfare Reform Act, and other recent legislation. 64 Fed. Reg. at 28,689. Both the Field Guidance and proposed rule defined "public charge" as a noncitizen who has become or is likely to become "primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either (i) the receipt Of public cash assistance for income maintenance or (ii) institutionalization for long-term care at government expense." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Consistent with the INA, INS regulations, and several INS, Board of Immigration Appeals, and Attorney General decisions, they instructed INS officials to evaluate a noncitizen's likelihood of becoming a public charge by examining the totality of the noncitizen's circumstances at the time of his or her application. Id. at 28,690. The Field Guidance noted that "[t]he existence or absence of a particular factor should never be the sole criterion for determining if an alien is likely to become a public charge." Id. (emphasis omitted). Although the parallel proposed rule was never finalized, the Field Guidance sets forth the current framework for public charge determinations.

B. The 2018 Proposed Rulemaking and Rule.

On October 10, 2018, DHS published a notice of proposed rulemaking, Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, 83 Fed. Reg. 51,114 (Oct. 10, 2018), which withdrew the 1999 proposed rule that INS had issued with the Field Guidance. Id. at 51,114. This newly proposed rule sought, among other things, to redefine "public charge," and to amend the totality-of-the-circumstances standard that is currently used in public charge determinations. See id. The notice provided a 60-day period for public comments on the proposed rule. Id. DHS collected 266,077 comments, "the vast majority of which opposed the rule." 84 Fed. Reg. at 41,297 ; see also id. at 41,304 –484 (describing and responding to public comments).

Subsequently, on August 14, 2019, DHS issued the Rule. It was finalized, with several changes, as the proposed rule described in the October 2018 notice. Id. at 41,292 ; see also id. at 41,297 –303 (summarizing changes in Rule).

Under the Rule, "public charge" is to be defined as any noncitizen "who receives one or more public benefits ... for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period." Id. at 41,501. The Rule defines "public benefit," in turn, as both cash benefits and noncash benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, and public housing and Section 8 housing assistance. Id. Each

408 F.Supp.3d 342

benefit is to be counted separately in calculating the duration of use, such that, for example, receipt of two benefits in one month would count as two months. Id.

The Rule also provides a new framework for assessing whether a noncitizen is likely at any time to become a public charge. Specifically, the Rule enumerates an expanded non-exclusive list of factors relevant to analyzing whether a person is likely to receive 12 months of public benefits within 36 months. See id. at 41,502 –04. It includes, for example, family size, English-language proficiency, credit score, and any application for the enumerated public benefits, regardless of the actual receipt or use of such benefits. Id. The Rule designates the factors as "positive," "negative," "heavily weighted positive," or "heavily weighted negative," and instructs the DHS officer to "weigh" all such factors "individually and cumulatively." Id. at 41,397 ; see also id. at 41,502 –04. Under this framework, if the negative factors outweigh the positive factors, the applicant would be found likely to receive 12 months of public benefits in the future. The applicant would then be found inadmissible as likely to become a public charge. Conversely, if the positive factors outweigh the negative factors, the applicant would not be found inadmissible as likely to receive 12 months of public benefits and thereby become a public charge. Id. at 41,397.

DHS published various corrections to the Rule as recently as October 2, 2019....

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12 practice notes
  • City & Cnty. of S.F. v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs., No. 19-17213
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • December 5, 2019
    ...nationwide injunctions. Casa de Md., Inc. v. Trump , 2019 WL 5190689 (D. Md. Oct. 14, 2019) ; New York v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Sec. , 408 F.Supp.3d 334, 2019 WL 5100372 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 11, 2019).10 Thus, unless a stay also issues in those cases, any stay we might issue would not allow the ......
  • Make the Rd. N.Y. v. Pompeo, 19 Civ. 11633 (GBD)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • July 29, 2020
    ...the DHS Rule.2 Make the Rd. N.Y. v. Cuccinelli , 419 F. Supp. 3d 647, 654 (S.D.N.Y. 2019) ; New York v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec. , 408 F. Supp. 3d 334, 340 (S.D.N.Y. 2019) ; Cook Cty., Illinois v. McAleenan , 417 F. Supp. 3d 1008, 1014 (N.D. Ill. 2019) ; Casa de Md., Inc. v. Trump , 414 ......
  • New York v. Scalia, 1:20-cv-01689-GHW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • June 1, 2020
    ...the revenues the States are able to collect by taxing such sales." Id. at 409-10 ; see also New York v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec. , 408 F. Supp. 3d 334, 343-44 (S.D.N.Y. 2019) (holding that plaintiffs had standing because they alleged "economic ripple effects" that were "fairly traceable ......
  • Cook Cnty. v. McAleenan, 19 C 6334
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • October 14, 2019
    ...preliminary injunction issued last Friday by the Southern District of New York, see New York v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec. , 408 F. Supp.3d 334, 348–49, 2019 WL 5100372, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 11, 2019), renders moot this court's consideration of the present motion. Doc. 82. While recognizin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • City & Cnty. of S.F. v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs., No. 19-17213
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • December 5, 2019
    ...nationwide injunctions. Casa de Md., Inc. v. Trump , 2019 WL 5190689 (D. Md. Oct. 14, 2019) ; New York v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Sec. , 408 F.Supp.3d 334, 2019 WL 5100372 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 11, 2019).10 Thus, unless a stay also issues in those cases, any stay we might issue would not allow the ......
  • Make the Rd. N.Y. v. Pompeo, 19 Civ. 11633 (GBD)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • July 29, 2020
    ...the DHS Rule.2 Make the Rd. N.Y. v. Cuccinelli , 419 F. Supp. 3d 647, 654 (S.D.N.Y. 2019) ; New York v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec. , 408 F. Supp. 3d 334, 340 (S.D.N.Y. 2019) ; Cook Cty., Illinois v. McAleenan , 417 F. Supp. 3d 1008, 1014 (N.D. Ill. 2019) ; Casa de Md., Inc. v. Trump , 414 ......
  • New York v. Scalia, 1:20-cv-01689-GHW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • June 1, 2020
    ...the revenues the States are able to collect by taxing such sales." Id. at 409-10 ; see also New York v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec. , 408 F. Supp. 3d 334, 343-44 (S.D.N.Y. 2019) (holding that plaintiffs had standing because they alleged "economic ripple effects" that were "fairly traceable ......
  • Cook Cnty. v. McAleenan, 19 C 6334
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • October 14, 2019
    ...preliminary injunction issued last Friday by the Southern District of New York, see New York v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec. , 408 F. Supp.3d 334, 348–49, 2019 WL 5100372, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 11, 2019), renders moot this court's consideration of the present motion. Doc. 82. While recognizin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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