San Francisco, Santa Clara sue over new immigration rule

Attorneys in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties on Tuesday filed a joint lawsuit to block the Trump Administration's new rule to restrict legal immigration. 

The lawsuit claims the new "public charge" rule will worsen the health and well-being of their residents, increase public health risks and financially harm the counties. 

The lawsuit comes a day after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it would deny green cards to migrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

Bill Hing, a professor of law and migration studies at the University of San Francisco, said many immigrants may now skip using resources they need. 

"They worry so much about getting something like food stamps or having their kids get free lunch at school, that they are deciding not to go after those benefits," Hing said.

 California Sen. Dianne Feinstein released a statement Tuesday saying in part, "The public charge rule turns our back on the immigration story that's been the fabric of our nation for centuries by denying green cards to immigrants working legally within the law." 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed also spoke out Tuesday, saying this rule is "specifically designed to harm immigrants who pay billions of dollars in taxes in order to push a political agenda of divisiveness and intolerance. It is inhumane, and we are taking action to stop it." 

According to information from the California Attorney General's Office the change set to go into effect in October would negatively impact California's agriculture and construction industries and also take a toll on children's healthcare and housing assistance.
Advocates are urging those who need these public benefits, to seek legal aid so they know how and if these changes will affect them or their loved ones. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.