City and County of San Francisco v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

944 F.3d 773 (2019)

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City and County of San Francisco v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
944 F.3d 773 (2019)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

People who were unable to take care of themselves without becoming public charges were not permitted to immigrate to the United States. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), giving consular officers and the attorney general certain factors to consider in deciding whether an immigrant was likely to become a public charge and would be considered inadmissible. The factors included age, health, family status, financial status, and education or skills. Regulations issued by Immigration and Naturalization Services added institutionalization for long-term care at governmental expense and receipt of public cash benefits to the list of factors. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (defendant), after notice and comment, issued a final rule to redefine the term public charge and explained its rationale for the decision. Under the rule, a determination of public-charge status would have also considered an immigrant’s receipt of non-cash public benefits, including Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funds, Section 9 public housing, and other federal, local, and state assistance programs. Several public-benefits categories were exempted from the rule: (1) benefits received for emergency medical conditions, (2) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds, and (3) benefits received by people under 21 years of age, pregnant women, or armed forces members and families. Various states, municipalities, and organizations (plaintiffs) filed suit in California and Washington federal district courts, seeking a preliminary injunction against the rule’s implementation. Two district courts granted the preliminary injunction on Administrative Procedure Act (APA) grounds. The DHS appealed to the Ninth Circuit, seeking a stay of both injunctions until litigation was finished. After finding that proper standing existed, the court addressed the states’ likelihood of success on the merits of their claim.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bybee, J.)

Concurrence (Bybee, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Owens, J.)

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