Fiscal Policy Institute, Presidents’ Alliance, And Partners File Amicus Brief Opposing Final Public Charge Rule



Groups argue rule is overbroad, punitive, and will chill use of public  benefits

September 17, 2019
Contact: Jose Magaña-Salgado (

Washington, D.C.—Led by the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration (Presidents’ Alliance), eleven economic, immigration, and research organizations filed amicus briefs last week  in five different district court cases supporting a preliminary injunction of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) final public charge rule. Copies of the briefs may be found here.

David Dyssegaard Kallick, Deputy Director and Director of Immigration Research at the Fiscal Policy Institute, stated: “The public charge rule will hurt, not help, the American economy. It is a misguided solution to an imaginary immigration problem. Study after study shows that immigrants are economic contributors, starting businesses, working in a much wider range of jobs than generally understood, and helping revitalize areas that have been losing population. Removing access to essential programs supporting health and nutrition, whether directly or through fear of future consequences, stymies growth. One impact can be readily quantified—the public charge rule’s chilling effect means a concrete loss of federal funding in every state, with ripple effects amounting to $24 billion in GDP and 164,000 jobs nationwide. Make no mistake, the harmful effects of a public charge rule aren’t limited to immigrants or our immigration system. This ill-advised public policy strikes us all.”

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director of the President’s Alliance, stated: “The public charge rule throws a wrench into the efforts of our nation’s higher education institutions to expand our nation’s economic engine. Access to postsecondary education is fundamental to both our nation’s economic success and the upward mobility of immigrant students and families. Moreover, the rule’s chilling impact will discourage eligible immigrant students and their families from accessing critical services, leading to food and housing insecurity and worse health outcomes—all of which undermine student educational success. This policy must be enjoined by the courts.”

The briefs make the following arguments: 

First, the rule fails to consider the upward economic mobility of immigrants.

Second, the rule will chill immigrants and their family members from accessing collateral public benefits. The loss of spending that will result from a drop in participation in public benefits programs will cause significant economic harm to our state economies. 

Third, the rule will discourage immigrant students from pursuing or completing postsecondary education. This will in turn will lead to a less-educated and skilled American workforce and cause long-term damage to the U.S. economy.

In addition to the Presidents’ Alliance and Fiscal Policy, the following organizations also signed the brief Economic Progress Institute, Oasis Legal Services, Community Action Marin, Child Care Law Center, Boundless Immigration, National Center for Law and Economic Justice, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Kids Forward, and California Immigrant Policy Center.

Latham & Watkins, LLP authored and filed the briefs on behalf of amici curiae.

The non-partisan Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration is a non-profit organization that brings together college and university leaders dedicated to increasing public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact our students, campuses and communities, and supporting policies that create a welcoming environment for undocumented, immigrant, and international students. The Alliance is comprised of over 430 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, serving over four million students in 41 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Fiscal Policy Institute (“FPI”) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to improving public policies to better the economic and social conditions of all New Yorkers. FPI regularly publishes economic analyses, like the one described herein, on state and national fiscal policies, based on quantitative models developed by FPI’s researchers and informed by contemporary economic theory. FPI’s immigration-based research is overseen by an expert advisory panel that includes Ray Marshall, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden, and Gregory DeFrietas, Professor of Economics and Director of the Labor Studies Program at Hofstra University.