News

Santa Clara County, San Francisco sue Trump administration over 'public charge' restrictions on immigrants

Local leaders call into question new rule that would expand decadeslong interpretation of federal law

Santa Clara County and the city of San Francisco sued the administration of President Donald Trump in federal court Tuesday to challenge a new rule that makes it harder for low-income legal immigrants to remain in the U.S.

County Counsel James Williams and City Attorney Dennis Herrera claim the rule is illegal and was also enacted in violation of the requirements of a federal administrative procedure act. They filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

"This illegal rule is yet another attempt to vilify immigrants," Herrera stated. "It makes it easier to unfairly target hard-working, lawful immigrants while sowing fear and confusion in our communities."

The administrative rule, which goes into effect on Oct. 15, requires immigration officials to consider whether legal immigrants seeking visa extensions or permanent residency have obtained or are likely to obtain government aid for food, housing or health care.

The rule would expand on a decadeslong interpretation of a federal immigration law provision that requires officials to consider whether an immigrant would be a "public charge."

Previously, the provision was interpreted to apply only to immigrants who received cash welfare payments or were cared for in government-funded institutions.

The measure would now extend to immigrants who use or might use food stamps, other nutrition assistance, subsidized housing or Medicaid.

The lawsuit claims the rule contradicts "the plain meaning, longstanding administrative interpretation, legislative history, statutory context and case law" of the "public charge" term in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.

It alleges the rule would force legal immigrants to forgo needed services for fear of jeopardizing their status and would end up requiring local governments to pay more for services such as emergency room care, while increasing the risk of contagious diseases.

"It will hurt all members of our communities by reducing access to critical health and safety-net services that create healthier communities for all of our residents," Williams said in a statement.

Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli, in announcing the rule on Monday, said it will promote American ideals of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

The defendants in the lawsuit are Citizen and Immigration Services, the Department of Homeland Security, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenen and Cuccinelli.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement, "This lawsuit is about protecting our residents and standing up against a policy that will have devastating effects on the well-being of many San Franciscans."

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Comments

16 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 14, 2019 at 10:46 am

Trump did his math. Most of the immigrants affected by this rule are non-white, so his base supports it. Trump does not care about the rest of America.


15 people like this
Posted by Question
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 14, 2019 at 11:01 am

Can anyone tell me, how does anyone arrive in this country and then automatically get entitled to benefits? Is it right for them to expect this? Is it a bonus they discover once they have arrived? I don't understand the system.

Not talking about legal v illegal immigrants, just wondering how it is done?


32 people like this
Posted by @question
a resident of Barron Park School
on Aug 14, 2019 at 11:13 am

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Love thy neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2019 at 1:52 pm

So let me get this straight. People who choose life for their disabled child will never be able to legally immigrate because they might become a public charge or they may have needed help. What ever happened to “whatever you do for the least of these, you do also for Me?” (And all that stuff about don’t be a religious hypocrite?) I suppose it is explained later under “For the love of money is the root of all evil...”


8 people like this
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 14, 2019 at 2:21 pm

I'd like to see how far this lawsuit will progress. Will it be tossed out or Trump's law overturned? Stay tuned...

@Love thy neighbor, morals and ethics are brought into the debate for the restrictions placed on immigrants. Does this mean we should disobey a law due to what we believe is "moral righteousness?" Is it okay for me to allow my friends, who happen to live in RVs and cannot afford a home as of yet, to set up camp on Waverley Street? Is it okay for them to stake out there in the meantime until Palo Alto builds more affordable housing? That's what I believe is morally right but I would be violating civil code (and perhaps neighbor's rights) just to carry out what I believe is ethically good and righteous.

A civilization creates laws and forms a government for those who live in that community. To that effect, can I forego the legal requirements and documents and claim a piece of land in Palo Alto as my own? As "my territory"?


22 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 14, 2019 at 2:51 pm

This has nothing to do with illegal immigration. The article clearly states that the new rules are only targeting legal immigrants that are already living in the US.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration just announced that they favor immigrants from Europe. They are only trying to discourage non-white immigrants. AP News report: Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 14, 2019 at 4:03 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] CA does not care about any other state out there - just tell everyone to come here for free stuff. So if the Guv is telling every one to come then he better come up with a way to pay for it all. We should not expect all other states that pay taxes in to the federal government who get vouchers to then help pay for the CA people. Vast expenditures by CA for all of the "benefits" that they think up should not require other states to help pay in for all of the free stuff. And the AG keeps suing the federal government - he is so proud of himself. [Portion removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by @question
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 14, 2019 at 4:23 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 14, 2019 at 8:00 pm

" So if the Guv is telling every one to come"

I missed that speech - can you post a link to your claim?

Or are you just lying to create a false frame?


2 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 14, 2019 at 8:02 pm

"how does anyone arrive in this country and then automatically get entitled to benefits?"

They don't.

Prove it with a link.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 14, 2019 at 8:05 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

Sam - do you listen to the news and read a newspaper? The Guv is very busy trying to be the great benefactor to everyone. He is in the news continually laying out his agenda. You can't expect everyone to feed you what is standard news.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2019 at 9:08 pm

Posted by Question, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> Can anyone tell me, how does anyone arrive in this country and then automatically get entitled to benefits? Is it right for them to expect this? Is it a bonus they discover once they have arrived? I don't understand the system.

Each case has its own particulars, so, please don't over-generalize, but, one way it can happen is when the -legal- migrants are -refugees-. Under the UN treaties, refugees have a protected status, unlike mere economic migrants, such as H1B, or other legal immigrants that have family connections.

Think of WWII and its aftermath. e.g. The SS St Louis? Web Link

UN: Web Link

In situations that I'm familiar with, legal refugees can be receiving public assistance right away. And you know what? I have no problem with that. These are often people escaping one form or another of ethnic cleansing who have nowhere to go in their home countries/regions.


4 people like this
Posted by @question
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 15, 2019 at 12:03 am

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by Undocumented Immigration Is OK
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 15, 2019 at 8:17 am

>> Can anyone tell me, how does anyone arrive in this country and then automatically get entitled to benefits?

^^^They don't. One must first apply to Social Services in order to see if he/she (and their families) qualify. Some do, some don't.

>> Is it right for them to expect this?

^^^It's not so much an expectation but often viewed as a possible supplement to poverty-level incomes & subsistance levels.


>> Is it a bonus they discover once they have arrived? I don't understand the system.

^^^ It's like the lottery. Despite the odds & obstacles you cannot possibly win unless you buy a ticket. So why not take the time to apply?

Many undocumented immigrants are working & being paid 'under the table' in countless restaurants...in many instances, the same restaurants that you frequent.

Social services + food banks supplement their basic needs so who are we to judge?

If this undocumented immigration issue poses a problem to some, a possible suggestion/solution...cook your own meals & wash your own dishes.


Like this comment
Posted by @question
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 15, 2019 at 8:42 am

> Many undocumented immigrants are working & being paid 'under the table' in countless restaurants.

Not really - have any stats? It's easy enough to use a fake ssn, work for 6 months until the manager is notified it's fake, leave and go down the street and get hired the that day.

The bigger employer is where the focus should be: the chicken processing plants, agriculture, Walmart hiring contractors staffed with undocumented workers.

It's been said before: throw some walmart directors in the slammer for a few days, along with institutional stockholders of Purdue Foods, Tyson Chicken, etc..

And the flow north for jobs will evaporate overnight. Raise wages for our citizens, maybe the cost of your big mac goes up a dime.

Another way to move in that direction (protecting American workers) would be to outlaw all the union busting legislation. Look at your last trip to Vegas: the woman who cleaned your room was making $40k a year, could support her kids, was seiu and LEGAL.


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 15, 2019 at 11:11 am

>>> ... institutional stockholders of Purdue Foods, Tyson Chicken, etc.

Near as I can tell, Perdue is privately owned.
CalPERS has a nearly $100 million stake in Tyson and a third of a billion in Walmart.


10 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 15, 2019 at 11:33 am

Did you people even read the article? Trump is going after legal immigrants this time. This has nothing to do with undocumented immigrants.


4 people like this
Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2019 at 12:12 pm

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

Our neighbors to the north require new immigrants to have funds that prove they will be self reliant and able to support their families. And Canada has a socialist form of government to boot. This idea (not socialism, but proof of funds) makes sense and many countries use this model. Mexico also requires proof that you can sustain yourself after a five year wait period. Neither country has out of control numbers of people crashing their borders.


6 people like this
Posted by How This Works
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm

> Many undocumented immigrants are working & being paid 'under the table' in countless restaurants.

Not really - have any stats? It's easy enough to use a fake ssn, work for 6 months until the manager is notified it's fake, leave and go down the street and get hired the that day.

The bigger employer is where the focus should be: the chicken processing plants, agriculture, Walmart hiring contractors staffed with undocumented workers.
*****************************************************************************
There are far more restaurants in the SF Bay Area than chicken processing plants & agricultural fields. As for Walmart, I am not familiar with their labor practices.

Food service is the KEY employer for undocumented immigrants. Yes...some workers use fake IDs & some smaller restaurant owners pay 'under the table'.

The undocumented workers using fake IDs (and having deductions witheld) are not getting the full benefits of their employment package & should be entitled to FREE

(1) SNAP benefits (food stamps), (2) MEDI-CAL, and (3) some form of WORKMAN'S COMP if their deductions below are not being pro-rated or refunded during tax-time.

The construction trade is another source of viable employment for undocumented immigrant workers from Mexico & it pays quite well so in many cases, the 'freebies' are not needed. At $40-$50 an hour, some are doing OK while their wives take on other unreported jobs.







10 people like this
Posted by How This Works
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 15, 2019 at 12:48 pm

> As a health care provider I see this often, particularly from Russian and Asian immigrants. As soon as they arrive they enroll for free health care services, food stamps and rental assistance funding. Most are past working age and many are well educated and the parents of well educated children who are here legally and working. They work the system to their advantage while tax paying Americans who need assistance oftentimes get denied because their incomes are slightly above the threshold to qualify for these same benefits.
***********************************************************************************
This is quite true for as you said, many of the immigrant elders from Eastern Europe & Asia seeking social service benefits are well-educated & many are residing with their children who are working here legally.

Due to having NO reportable INCOME, they are eligible for full SNAP benefits & MEDI-CAL while many Americans (and taxpayers) just on the cusp of the poverty line do not qualify.

Even poverty-line American elders (and former taxpayers) are screwed. If they apply for SNAP in CA, Social Security income is taken into consideration as 30% of one's income is required to go towards their food expenses.

As a result, an American elder with a monthly SS income of $1000 & applying for SNAP can expect to receive about $10 in food stamps.

The standard allocation is $192 per single person so many of these foreign-born elders from China/Eastern Europe are really coming out way ahead, especially when you include free MEDI-CAL paid MEDI-CARE!

Access to free food banks is another bonus for them as well.

No wonder many people from abroad call America 'the land of opportunity'.

But this concept only applies to elder foreign nationals from the aforementioned regions relocating to the US.


Like this comment
Posted by @question
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 15, 2019 at 1:00 pm

> Food service is the KEY employer for undocumented immigrants

Without a substantiation/link it's just an opinion, without it being comprehensive multi-industry data, it's just anecdotal.

For example, we know from the news that the Trump Org employs many undocumented workers in housekeeping (ongoing lawsuit) construction (news in the last month) and Trump wines (agriculture.)

While fact, that's anecdotal to looking at data for the larger picture.


> At $40-$50 an hour, some are doing OK while their wives take on other unreported jobs.

Everyone I talk to tells me undocumented workers have driven wages DOWN, and certainly they do not get $50 an hour themselves. As for family member employment, now you're just blowing hot air.


> Many undocumented immigrants .... in countless restaurants.
> Food service is the KEY employer for undocumented immigrants

Now you're just repeating yourself - which is silly. What proof/numbers do you have to show that 50% ("key employer") undocumented immigrants work in restaurants?


6 people like this
Posted by How This Works
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 15, 2019 at 1:28 pm

[Post removed.]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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