Washington leads 18 state coalition in lawsuit over family separation
Update on Washington’s lawsuit over family separation policy
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson followed through on his June 21 announcement that he was filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its policy to separate immigrant families at the border.
“This case, like all our cases against this Administration, says something important about who we are as a people,” Ferguson said. “We will stand up for the Constitution, basic decency and fundamental American values. My office has not yet lost a lawsuit to the Trump Administration, and we do not intend to lose this one.”
Washington is leading the coalition of 18 states, including: Massachusetts, California, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Washington is leading a coalition of states in a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its recent policy of separating children from parents at the US-Mexico border.
“This is a rogue, cruel, and unconstitutional policy,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “We’re going to put a stop to it.”
Washington planned to file its lawsuit on Thursday, but Trump’s recent executive order halting the family-separation practice caused the Attorney General’s Office to adjust. But it still plans to file its lawsuit withing two business days. The announcement was made along with Governor Jay Inslee Thursday in front of the federal detention center in SeaTac where more than 200 asylum seekers are being held — many who have been separated from their children.
The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project will also file a similar lawsuit against the feds on behalf of people affected by the policy, according to Executive Director Jorge Barón. Barón said that a total of 45 parents held in Washington have been assigned volunteer attorneys to represent them; 35 have been moved to a detention center in Tacoma, and 10 remain at the SeaTac detention center. His organization is still screening asylum-seekers, however, and more parents could be added to the count.
“Donald Trump’s propaganda campaign has failed, and he’s engaged in a propaganda campaign,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “He’s engaged in multiple deceptions and outright lies, because he basically has tried to say these are the people – behind me (in SeaTac) – who all belong in M13. ‘They are all in M13, we’re infested with gang members.’ Well the ‘M’ stands for mother in this case … this lawsuit is going to have to make sure it fails yet again in a judicial decree. We have to be alert to that propaganda.”
“People need to understand that this wasn’t an accidental infliction of child abuse,” he said. “It was intentional.”
Washington lawsuit over family separation
This will be Washington’s 27th lawsuit against the Trump administration.
“We have not lost a case yet; there’s a lot of litigation for not having lost yet,” Ferguson said. “I don’t plan on starting a losing streak with this case.”
Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the family separation practice while also arguing that his zero tolerance policy for illegal border crossings will remain in effect. More than 2,000 children have been separated from their families and sent to detention camps and foster families since the Trump administration began the practice a few weeks ago.
“We have no way to predict from one day to the next what this president’s policies or intentions are,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “But one thing we know for sure is Washington state will always be among the first to stand up for the people and the values that make our state and our nation an enduring beacon of hope and opportunity. These cruel policies and this executive order are un-American and create chaos, fear and uncertainty. Washington continues to stand ready to ensure this president is held accountable.”
The states’ lawsuit argues that the Trump administration violated constitutional rights associated with due rights process when it separated children from families. The lawsuit points out that the parents show no indication they are a threat to children. The state also says that the policy is “irrationally discriminatory” which violates equal protection; it targets people crossing the southern border and not anyone crossing the northern border.
Washington’s lawsuit will also argue that the Administrative Process Act was violated by skirting asylum laws through turning people away at ports of entry.
The AG’s office says it will request the administration comply with the Constitution by correcting flaws in Trump’s executive order, creating a process to reunify parents with children, and end the practice of refusing to accept asylum seekers at the border.