Bob Ferguson is going after controversial Trump administration policies once again. Photo by Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons

Bob Ferguson is going after controversial Trump administration policies once again. Photo by Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons

AG Ferguson takes on Trump’s immigrant family separation

Washington’s Attorney General plans to sue the federal government over the “zero tolerance” policy.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson plans on tackling the separation of immigrant families in his 27th lawsuit against the Trump administration. At a press conference outside of the Federal Detention Center, SeaTac on June 21, Ferguson announced that he would lead a multi-state legal challenge against the Trump Administration over its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which takes children from their parents when they illegally cross the border.

The lawsuit, which will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleges that the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy—and an executive order signed Wednesday that proposedly reverses it—is unlawful. Separating adults from their kids without having proof that the parents are unfit to care for their children breaches the Constitution, according to the proposed lawsuit. Ferguson’s case also zeros in on the discriminatory nature of targeting families who enter through the U.S.’s southern border, and no where else in the country.

“This is a rogue, cruel, and unconstitutional policy,” Ferguson said in a statement. “We’re going to put a stop to it.”

Maryland, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and New Jersey are expected to join the lawsuit once it is filed in a few business days, according to the Seattle Times. Ferguson’s office had planned on filing the lawsuit on Thursday, but they needed to update it in light of Trump’s executive order signed on Wednesday that was designed to reverse the family separation policy.

However, Ferguson found that the executive order falls short of ending the “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The order instead ends the practice of separating thousands of children from their parents at the border by indefinitely detaining the families together, and it doesn’t offer plans to reunite families with the over 2,000 children who are already in custody. At Thursday’s press conference outside of the federal prison where parents are currently in custody, Ferguson called it “unlikely” that a federal judge would approve of children being indefinitely detained, according to a statement.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) Executive Director Jorge Barón said that he also plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the parents detained in Washington state, and hopes to parlay it into a class action lawsuit on behalf of all of the immigrant adults separated from their kids throughout the country. NWIRP’s litigation will address the family separation, and that the adults in SeaTac’s federal prison have been held in custody for over a month without being screened for asylum.

“Some people may have gotten the erroneous impression that somehow the family separation policy has ended now,” Barón told Seattle Weekly on Thursday evening, “and the key thing is that as we’re talking right now, there’s at least 45 parents detained at either the Northwest Detention Center, or the Federal Detention Center here in our region, and they’re still not with their children. So as far as we’re concerned, the family separation is ongoing, and until that gets resolved, we’re going to continue fighting back.” Barón also criticized Wednesday’s executive order, calling the proposal to indefinitely detain families together a “step in a different, wrong direction,” as NWIRP would prefer that the families not be detained at all.

It is currently unknown where the separated children of the about 40 mothers who are held in custody in Washington are located. Governor Jay Inslee and Ferguson sent a letter to the Trump administration on June 7 inquiring about the “zero tolerance” policy, including the location of the separated children and who is caring for them, and when the women can expect to be reunited with their kids. After receiving no response, they sent a follow-up letter on June 18 that reiterated their inquiries, and also asked that “the Trump Administration stop lying about the family separation policy” by claiming that it is necessary to separate families seeking asylum.

“Presumably, the President is lying about the origins of this policy because even he recognizes that it is morally indefensible,” Inslee and Ferguson wrote in their joint letter. “But these lies cannot erase the stain of what this administration is doing. We cannot understand how you or the President can sleep at night knowing what is being done on your orders. The least you can do is be honest with the American people about who chose to implement this policy.”

More in News

Washington’s attorney general talks veterans, guns and suing Trump

Bob Ferguson visited the Redmond Rotary Club on Nov. 15.

King County Flood Control District approves 2019 Budget on Nov. 5. Photo courtesy of King County Flood Control District.
King County Flood Control District approves $93 million budget

The 2019 District Budget will maintain current flood protection services.

Vader served the Redmond Police Department for more than seven years and enjoyed a four-year retirement as the Hovenden family pet. Photos courtesy of RPD
Former Redmond police K-9 Vader, dies at 13

Vader served the department for more than 7 years and spent his retirement as a full-time family pet.

Sarah Yount, former YES client, speaks at YES’s 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 2. Madison Miller/staff photo.
Youth Eastside Services celebrates 50 years

YES celebrates 50 years of providing youth and family behavioral health services.

Sky Metalwala has been missing for seven years. Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Police plead for help in search for missing boy

Sky has been missing since Nov. 6, 2011 and turned 9 years old on Sept. 2.

Suspect arrested after stealing paychecks | Police blotter

The Redmond police blotter from Oct. 22 through 24. Courtesy of the RPD blog.

Kuderer leads Tom; Walen over Bright

Legislative District 48 race. Results are preliminary.

Democrats lead in 45th Legislative District

Dhingra, Goodman and Springer earned about two thirds of the vote.

DelBene leads in 1st Congressional District in early returns

As of election night, incumbent Suzan DelBene was leading with 69 percent of the vote, to Jeffrey Beeler’s 31 percent.

King County property assessments have begun for some Eastside neighborhoods

County property appraisers visit around one-sixth of all properties in the county each year to ensure the homes are valued correctly.

Prowlers smash windows, steal wallets, handbags | Police blotter

The Redmond police blotter for Oct. 12 through 14.

Safeco Field funding referendum withdrawn

The mysterious backers of the initiative won’t say why, but some think it’s because they couldn’t get funding to gather the necessary signatures.