U.S. Supreme Court dismisses case about 2019 DHS immigration rule expanding definition of public charge

On March 9, 2021, the clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court granted a request from the Biden administration and the groups challenging a 2019 immigration rule to dismiss Department of Homeland Security v. New York.

The case involved whether the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and federal immigration law when it issued a 2019 rule expanding the definition of those the agency would consider to be a public charge. 

When DHS classifies someone as likely to become a public charge, the agency gains ground to deny that person entry into the United States or deny them legal permanent resident status. Opponents of the rule argued that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing the arbitrary-or-capricious test, which instructs courts reviewing agency actions to invalidate any that they find to be “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.”

Before President Joe Biden’s (D) inauguration, DHS had defended the rule, arguing that it was within the agency’s broad authority to decide questions of immigration policy. DHS had also claimed that the states, city, and nonprofit organizations who challenged the rule did not have legal standing to file a lawsuit under the APA. 

On March 9, DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced that the agency would no longer defend the rule because, in his words, “doing so is neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources.”

Under U.S. Supreme Court Rule 46, the court’s clerk will agree to dismiss a case if all of the involved parties file a written agreement that the case should be dismissed. The clerk dismissed Department of Homeland Security v. New York the same day the parties filed their agreement with the court. 

To learn more about the case or the Administrative Procedure Act see here:

Additional reading:

Text of the request for a dismissal:


DHS press release about public charge rule:


Text of Rule 46: