SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- San Francisco and Santa Clara counties in the Bay Area on Tuesday filed a joint lawsuit against the U.S. government's new immigration policy that makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain residency in the United States.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams filed the lawsuit to challenge the new rule introduced by President Donald Trump's administration and announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on "inadmissibility on public charge grounds."
The federal government disclosed on Monday a change to the "public charge" rule that would allow immigration officials to label any immigrant who receives public benefits, such as housing assistance, health care or food assistance, at any time in the future as a public charge, which would deny them pathway to citizenship or permanent residence in the country.
"This illegal rule is yet another attempt to vilify immigrants," Herrera said. "It makes it easier to unfairly target hard-working, lawful immigrants while sowing fear and confusion in our communities."
He said the new rule would have San Francisco and Santa Clara residents bear the consequences of this "misguided policy," which will shift millions of U.S. dollars in health care costs onto the taxpayers of the two counties.
"The Trump administration's new rule is an unlawful, foolish attack on immigrant communities," said Williams.
"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," he said.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Tuesday "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."
She vowed to fight against "any and all efforts to divide us, because by targeting our diverse communities, the federal administration is attacking a fundamental aspect of who we are as a city."
Breed slammed the rule as a "bad policy" that will create more homelessness and hunger-struck children.
"It 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," she added.