San Francisco, Santa Clara County sue to block immigrant wealth test

“We will all bear the cost of this misguided policy, which will shift millions of dollars in health care costs onto the taxpayers of San Francisco and Santa Clara counties,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said.

The two counties file the first legal challenge to a rule that penalizes lawful immigrants for using public assistance

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 13, 2019) — San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams today filed a joint lawsuit against the Trump administration to invalidate a new rule that allows the federal government to deny entry or green cards to legal immigrants for using certain assistance programs, like Medicaid or food stamps.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new rule on “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” announced Aug. 12, 2019, attempts to abolish decades of legal precedent. It dramatically and unilaterally broadens the reasons someone can be denied admission to the country or access to a green card if already here lawfully. The rule would make using certain government benefits, like Medicaid, federal housing assistance, or food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), grounds to deny someone legal residency based on the flawed notion that a lawful immigrant availing themselves of this assistance would be a “public charge,” now defined as the mere use of these forms of government support over a three-year period.

“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. [Read more]


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Climate Change

City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker filed separate lawsuits on behalf of their respective cities against the top five oil and gas companies, asking the courts to hold them responsible for the costs of the infrastructure necessary to protect their cities from the consequences of climate change caused by their massive production of fossil fuels.

Sanctuary Cities

On January 31, 2017 City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his administration for his executive order directing enforcement action against sanctuary cities and threatening to withhold federal funding from these cities. The suit claims that the order is unconstitutional and exceeds the president’s power.

Gun Safety

Five online suppliers that had been flouting both state and San Francisco law by selling illegal large-capacity magazines as “repair kits” to customers in California have agreed to a wide-ranging injunction that compels them to follow the law. The settlement agreement improves safety in California communities and ensures that rogue companies comply with the law.

Affordable Housing

In efforts to combat the affordable housing crisis in San Francisco, City Attorney Dennis Herrera has taken broad actions ranging from filing lawsuits against unscrupulous landowners like Academy of Art University to cracking down on affordable housing fraudsters.


Featured Highlights

Accepting Internship Applications

The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office’s Law School Internship Program is a unique and competitive educational offering that draws applicants from across the nation.  Participants are chosen based on their promise to emerge as leaders and difference-makers in government and public-interest law, and they work closely with mentors on a wide range of meaningful cases.  But you can’t be accepted if you don’t apply on-time.  Applications for the Spring 2020 program must be received by October 18th, 2019.

Map of San Francisco

Major Cases Map

Our new major cases map feature (still in beta) enables users to browse neighborhoods, navigate the city, and click on geo-tags for informational pop-ups about the City Attorney’s Office’s work there. Each pop-up  links to news releases to read more on the case. 

Deputy City Attorneys Jon Givner and Andrew Shen

Political activities

The City Attorney’s Office’s annual political activities memo offers a useful overview of basic rules that city officials and employees must follow if they choose to take part in activities for political campaigns.  There is also helpful guidance for commissions and departments.

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Good Government

Check out the extensive resources that the City Attorney’s Office offers to help ensure adherence to good government practices by city officials and employees. Most of these are also helpful for residents, to further their understanding of local law and government. There is also helpful guidance for commissions and departments.

About the Office

Learn why the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office has been honored by the American Bar Association for “outstanding excellence,” and praised as “one of the most aggressive and talented city law departments in the nation” by American Lawyer magazine.