Close up of the U.S. Supreme Court, focused on the pillars, and doorway.

Supreme Court Lifts Stay on Public Charge Rule: Implementation Will Have Chilling Impact on People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C. – The Arc is deeply troubled by the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to grant the Administration’s request for a stay of the nationwide injunction on the discriminatory public charge rule, allowing the implementation of the rule to move forward. The public charge rule will have a dire impact on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) by allowing the federal government to deny admission into the U.S. based on a person’s disability and the use of vital programs like Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance, and other important benefits. It discourages immigrant families from utilizing critical public services out of fear of harming their immigration status.

The policy unfairly restructures immigration in a way that is detrimental to people based on their disability. For immigrants who are already in the United States legally and use public benefits, or have at one time used public benefits, or are deemed likely to someday rely on public benefits, the new rule could impact their immigration process. Many people with disabilities will, solely because of their disability, be kept out. And because of the surrounding fear and confusion the rule will cause, the harm will extend much further.

“This rule essentially tells the world, as an immigrant with disabilities, you are not welcome here. If our country perceives you to be in need of access to vital supports, you will be considered an inadmissible ‘public charge.’ Non-citizens with any type of disability should have a fair opportunity to enter and live legally in the U.S., and we urge Congress to intervene to stop this reckless violation of the civil rights of immigrants with disabilities and their families that several of the lower courts have recognized as such,” said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc.

Research has already shown harmful consequences of the August announcement of the new regulations. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly half of community health centers report that many immigrant families—fearing deportation or other negative consequences—declined to enroll in Medicaid in the past year, and nearly a third of centers say some patients dropped or decided not to renew their coverage. Kaiser also found that more than a third of health centers report that some immigrant parents were declining to enroll their children in Medicaid over the past year, while nearly 30 percent reported families dropping or not renewing coverage for their children.

The Arc and a large coalition of national disability advocacy groups have filed multiple amicus briefs in support of several cases to block the Administration from implementing the public charge rule, arguing that it would prevent people with disabilities from entering the country or becoming legal residents in violation of federal disability laws.

The Arc advocates for and serves people wit­­h intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.