San Francisco, Santa Clara Counties Sue Over Trump Administration’s New Immigration Restrictions

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San Francisco will pay $369,000 to a freelance journalist who whose home and office were raided by police trying to find the confidential source of a leaked report into the death of the city's former public defender. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the payout to Bryan Carmody, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “This was a shame to the city and county of San Francisco, and I am delighted that we are settling this case,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin said. “And I hope that we never in this town, ever again, suppress the rights of the free press.” Carmody filed a claim against the city and county of San Francisco last August after the widely condemned May 2019 raids in which Carmody was handcuffed and police seized computers, cameras and phones. Five different San Francisco judges authorized the searches, despite a California shield law that specifically protects journalists from such searches. San Francisco judges eventually quashed and nullified the search warrants. San Francisco police chief William Scott initially defended the searches, saying that Carmody had "crossed the line" and conspired with police employees to steal the report. Days later, he acknowledged the searches were probably illegal and apologized. Mayor London Breed also defended the searches before backtracking amid growing outrage. The city's former public defender, Jeff Adachi, had contentious relations with police and the leak of the report detailing the circumstances around his February 2019 death was considered an attempt to smear Adachi's legacy. Carmody has worked for decades as a freelance journalist or stringer, selling video and interview footage to news outlets. He carries a press pass issued by the San Francisco Police Department and has said he did not pay for the police report, which he sold as part of a package including video and photos to media outlets. Adachi's family says he died of a natural heart attack. The medical examiner's office said his death was drug-related. San Francisco will pay $369,000 to a freelance journalist who whose home and office were raided by police trying to find the confidential source of a leaked report into the death of the city's former public defender. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the payout to Bryan Carmody, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “This was a shame to the city and county of San Francisco, and I am delighted that we are settling this case,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin said. “And I hope that we never in this town, ever again, suppress the rights of the free press.” Carmody filed a claim against the city and county of San Francisco last August after the widely condemned May 2019 raids in which Carmody was handcuffed and police seized computers, cameras and phones. Five different San Francisco judges authorized the searches, despite a California shield law that specifically protects journalists from such searches. San Francisco judges eventually quashed and nullified the search warrants. San Francisco police chief William Scott initially defended the searches, saying that Carmody had "crossed the line" and conspired with police employees to steal the report. Days later, he acknowledged the searches were probably illegal and apologized. Mayor London Breed also defended the searches before backtracking amid growing outrage. The city's former public defender, Jeff Adachi, had contentious relations with police and the leak of the report detailing the circumstances around his February 2019 death was considered an attempt to smear Adachi's legacy. Carmody has worked for decades as a freelance journalist or stringer, selling video and interview footage to news outlets. He carries a press pass issued by the San Francisco Police Department and has said he did not pay for the police report, which he sold as part of a package including video and photos to media outlets. Adachi's family says he died of a natural heart attack. The medical examiner's office said his death was drug-related.

San Francisco City Hall is shown on July 11, 2018, during the swearing-in ceremony for Mayor London Breed. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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San Francisco and Santa Clara counties filed the first lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s new rules to deny green cards to migrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, came after the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement Monday of its expanded “public charge” rules to restrict legal immigration.

In a filing , the counties of Santa Clara and San Francisco argued that the rules will worsen the health and well-being of their residents, increase public health risks and financially harm the counties.

The rules, the counties argued, would result in a “chilling effect” in which migrants forgo or disenroll from federal public assistance programs to reduce the risk of being denied a green card. This practice would mean that the cost of services would shift from federal to state governments, the counties argued.

The counties also said the rules undermine Congress’ broader system of immigration laws that prioritizes family unification and that the federal government did not sufficiently offer any rationale to explain the alleged benefits of the rules or justify its costs.

This rule “makes it easier to unfairly target hard-working, lawful immigrants while sowing fear and confusion in our communities,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. “This rule forces people to make an impossible choice: their health or a better future for their family. We will all bear the cost of this misguided policy.”

Federal law currently requires those seeking to become permanent residents or gain legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S. — a “public charge,” in government speak — but the new rules detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.

Under the new rules, the Department of Homeland Security has redefined a public charge as someone who is “more likely than not” to receive public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will now weigh whether applicants have received public assistance along with other factors such as education, income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.

Multiple lawsuits were expected. Hours after the rule was published Monday, the Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center vowed to sue over what it called am attempt to redefine the legal immigration system to “disenfranchise communities of color and favor the wealthy.” Attorneys general in California and New York said they were also prepared to take legal action.

Without legal challenges, the rules would take effect in mid-October.

This lawsuit is the latest out of California to challenge the Trump administration’s policies. San Francisco and Santa Clara counties successfully sued over the president’s executive order to cut funding for “sanctuary cities” that limit cooperation with immigration officials.

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