In a joint effort between Dallas and Chicago office litigators, Sidley achieved a major victory for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. On the evening of October 14, 2019, the Northern District of Illinois issued a preliminary injunction barring implementation of a new Trump Administration rule addressing when immigrants are “public charges.” The new rule, which would have gone into effect on October 15, 2019, makes immigrants ineligible for admission to the United States or for adjustment of status to become lawful permanent residents if DHS concludes that they are likely to receive even small amounts of non-cash public benefits, such as food stamps or Medicaid coverage. The prior rule, which has been in place for decades, says that immigrants are inadmissible as “public charges” only if they are likely to be primarily dependent on cash payments from the government. The court found that if it wasn’t stopped, the new rule would cause huge numbers of immigrants to disenroll from important public benefits, causing harm to them and their communities.
The court held that the new Trump Administration rule is inconsistent with the governing statute according to the 1984 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Counsel. On that basis, the court enjoined implementation of the rule in Illinois.
The Sidley team included Yvette Ostolaza, Rob Velevis, Patrick Foley, Daniel Driscoll, Meaghan Nowell, Claire Homsher and Chandler Rognes in Dallas; Dave Gordon, Tacy Flint, Marlow Svatek, Willy Cowles, Lee Farnsworth and Andrew Watkins in Chicago. Sidley represents ICIRR in collaboration with lawyers from the Shriver Center. Cook County is also a separately represented plaintiff in the case.