Immigrant Rights Groups Urge U.S. Supreme Court to Temporarily Halt “Public Charge” Immigration Rule Amid COVID-19

Advocates Support NY AG’s Motion to Reinstate Preliminary Injunction, Submitting Declarations Conveying the Devastating Impact of Rule on Immigrant Communities During Unprecedented Public Health Crisis 


April 13, 2020, New York– Today, New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed a motion on behalf of three states and New York City in the U.S. Supreme Court to temporarily lift or modify its stay to stop implementation of the Public Charge Rule until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plaintiffs in Make the Road New York v. Cuccinelli,  the companion lawsuit by non-profit legal and advocacy organizations to stop the Rule from going into effect, submitted declarations in support of the Attorney General’s motion. Plaintiffs Make the Road New York and Catholic Charities Community Services–NY submitted declarations, along with others from immigrant-serving advocacy groups, conveying the devastating impact of the Rule on immigrant communities as it sows fear and confusion and deters people from accessing life-saving services and benefits during the COVID-19 public health crisis.  

The Make the Road New York litigation team (The Legal Aid Society, Center for Constitutional Rights, and the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP) and lead plaintiff (Make the Road New York) issued the following statement: 

Amid this global health crisis, it is critical that everyone, regardless of immigration status, have full access to healthcare and the public benefits for which they are eligible. By making people afraid to access services and benefits like healthcare and food support, the Public Charge Rule is increasing the suffering of immigrant communities, even as their members, many of whom are essential workers, are among the hardest hit by the illness.  

As long as the Public Charge Rule remains in effect, immigrants and their families, including those who are U.S. citizens, will be deterred from seeking testing or treatment for COVID-19 and other types of healthcare and vital benefits, like food assistance. This impedes efforts to thwart the spread of the coronavirus and puts immigrants and non-immigrants alike at risk.  

We commend Attorney General James for filing this motion and hope that the Court considers how the state of the nation has radically changed since it issued its stay order just a few months ago. Today, it is critical that the Court’s order be modified to protect lives and ease suffering across the nation. 

Make the Road New York v. Cuccinelli was filed on behalf of Make the Road New York, African Services Committee, Asian American Federation, Catholic Charities Community Services-NY, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).   


Make the Road New York (MRNY) builds the power of immigrant and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services. We have 23,000+ members and operate five community centers in Bushwick, Brooklyn; Jackson Heights, Queens; Port Richmond, Staten Island; Brentwood, Long Island; and White Plains, Westchester County. On Twitter: @MaketheRoadNY

The Legal Aid Society exists for one simple yet powerful reason: to ensure that New Yorkers are not denied their right to equal justice because of poverty. For over 140 years, we have protected, defended, and advocated for those who have struggled in silence for far too long. Every day, in every borough, The Legal Aid Society changes the lives of our clients and helps improve our communities.

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

April 13, 2020