National WIC Association

Washington Update: Federal Court Delays Implementation of Public Charge Rule

October 11, 2019

This afternoon, a federal court in the Southern District of New York issued a nationwide injunction that prevents implementation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's final public charge rule. Without the injunction, the final public charge rule would have gone into effect on Tuesday, October 15. Nine lawsuits in five different jurisdictions have been brought challenging the final public charge rule, which would make it harder for immigrants to obtain legal status if they access Medicaid, SNAP, or housing subsidies. Today's decision affirms that the public charge rule will not go into effect while the rule is being challenged in court.

Last month, NWA joined other nutrition and anti-hunger organizations in filing an amicus curiae brief in this lawsuit. Although WIC is not included in the final public charge rule, the amicus brief argued that the final public charge rule would continue to impact programs outside the scope of the rule - like WIC - by discouraging immigrants from accessing any government services. Since the first public charge proposal was leaked in January 2017, there has been a significant chilling effect on WIC participation.

NWA has resources to assist participants who have questions or concerns about public charge policy. If you have any immediate questions, please reach out to Brian Dittmeier at