Justice in Aging Files Amicus Brief Arguing that the Department of Homeland Security’s Final Public Charge Rule Illegally Targets Older Adults and Their Families

By September 16, 2019PRESS RELEASE

Oakland, Ca—Last week, Justice in Aging and partner organizations filed an amicus brief in six separate lawsuits in three United States District Courts challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s recently finalized “public charge” rule arguing that it unlawfully targets older immigrants and their families. The rule essentially bars low-income older adults from entering the country or obtaining lawful permanent residency status (greencard).

Public charge determinations involve a “totality of the circumstances” test, where many factors are weighed. The amicus brief argues that the Rule’s negative weighing of an expanded list of public benefits – including Medicaid – and of individuals with income less than 125% federal poverty level render it essentially impossible for an older adult with limited means to pass the public charge test. The amicus brief further contends that the Final Rule violates anti-discrimination laws by giving negative weight to an older adult’s disability or chronic health condition and an older immigrant’s limited English proficiency. In addition, the amicus brief argues the Final Rule:

  • Prevents United States citizens from welcoming their noncitizen parents and harms older adults who rely on their families for support;
  • Disproportionately harms older immigrants of color;
  • Threatens the well-being of caregivers, leaving many older adults and people with disabilities who are United States citizens without access to the caregiving they need; and
  • Harms older immigrants and their families by discouraging enrollment in programs that improve health, food security, nutrition, and economic security.

Justice in Aging filed this amicus brief in three separate lawsuits in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, two lawsuits in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, and one lawsuit in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington. In all cases, the amicus brief asks that the Courts grant Plaintiffs’ motions for preliminary injunction to block implementation of the final rule.

“Older adults play an important role in our families, by providing mutual support to parents and children. By attempting to restrict immigration to the wealthy, young, abled, and white, the Department of Homeland Security is making it impossible for immigrant families to remain together, care for one another, and thrive.”

Justice in Aging submitted this brief with the support of pro bono partner Proskauer Rose. Several partners joined us in the brief: American Society on Aging, Caring Across Generations, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, The National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, National Council on Aging, National Hispanic Council on Aging, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, and PHI.

See all the briefs.

Justice in Aging is a national organization that uses the power of law to fight senior poverty by securing access to affordable health care, economic security, and the courts for older adults with limited resources. Since 1972 we’ve focused our efforts primarily on fighting for people who have been marginalized and excluded from justice, such as women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and people with limited English proficiency.

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Contact: Vanessa Barrington
510-256-1200 direct
vbarrington@justiceinaging.org

Katrina Cohens

About Katrina Cohens

Katrina Cohens is based in Justice in Aging’s Washington, DC office and serves as the Database Manager.