Washington state is suing Trump over DACA decision

Sep 6, 2017, 11:12 AM | Updated: 11:50 am
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announces that Washington will join a multi-state effort to sue the Trump administration over its decision to end DACA. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

Keeping good on his promise, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that he is filing another lawsuit against the Trump administration over its decision to halt the DACA program.

“It’s outrageous. It is. It’s outrageous,” Ferguson said emotionally Wednesday. “I’m not going to put up with it. The governor is not going to put up with it. It’s not right.”

“We’ve beaten the Trump administration over and over again,” he said. “We are careful about the lawsuits we bring … put yourself in their shoes. You’re a dreamer; our country is going to deport you to a country you may not even know? That doesn’t make any damn sense. It’s also unlawful and that is what this lawsuit is all about.”

RELATED: Reichert says Trump’s DACA decision is “not in American DNA”

The attorney general’s office announced Monday that it intended to team up with legal teams from other states to fight Trump’s decision to end DACA and give Congress six months to come up with another immigration fix. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program implemented by President Obama. It allows children who were brought into the country illegally and who were raised in America, to receive two-year, renewable work permits. Participants would not be deported. They are often referred to as dreamers. About 800,000 dreamers have taken part in the program across the nation, including 17,000 in Washington state.

But on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued that Obama’s program was unconstitutional. Trump’s decision has prompted protests across the nation.

Ferguson noted that DACA has allowed undocumented children to attend school and college and contribute to the state’s economy. More than 100 dreamers attend the University of Washington, and more than 150 attend Washington State University. Because of DACA, he said, the state takes in $51 million in tax dollars each year. He argues Washington could lose $260 million in tax dollars over next decade.

DACA lawsuit

As of Wednesday, Washington joins a multi-state effort, which includes: Washington; New York; Massachusetts; Connecticut; New Mexico; Illinois; Hawaii; North Carolina; Oregon; Rhode Island; Delaware; and Washington D.C.

Ferguson said that he expects more states to join the lawsuit they are filing in the Eastern District of New York. He said that his legal team has been working on the case for weeks in anticipation of the Trump administration making such a “cruel” decision. Ferguson said that there are multiple legal arguments that the states plan to bring forth.

“The president’s action is what lawyers would call arbitrary and capricious,” Ferguson said. “The stated premise for the president’s action is that DACA is illegal. There’s one problem with that — no court has held that. In fact, until yesterday the Department of Justice repeatedly argued that DACA is legal.”

The lawsuit will also allege that the president’s action violates the equal protections act of the Constitution. It will also have a due process claim.

“What we had to show with the travel ban was that a motivating factor was racial animus,” Ferguson said. “… We are making the same allegation, in essence, here as well. The president has made numerous statements on the campaign trail and in office disparaging Mexicans, calling them criminals, thugs, bad hombres, among other names.”

Nearly 80 percent of dreamers are of Mexican decent, Ferguson explained, and that the president’s own statements show that Trump is discriminating against people based on national origin.

“If the majority of dreamers were Caucasian, does anybody really think the president would have taken the action he took yesterday?” Ferguson asked.

Ferguson said that companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks have written declarations of support for the lawsuit.

Washington state has filed 14 lawsuits against the Trump administration, according to Ferguson. So far, he said, Washington is 4-0.

Inslee backs lawsuit

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee echoed Ferguson’s comments, noting that he feels Trump’s decision is another example of the president’s racist intentions.

“The state right now is under a dark pall and it’s not just the smoke from the fires, it is a dark pall of cruelty and inhumanity that has covered this land as a result of this president’s willful, malicious bigotry,” Inslee said.

“This is not an aberration by Donald Trump,” Inslee said. “This is not one fumble in an otherwise stellar career of protecting American values of fairness and justice. This is one more of a long chain of abuses that this president has attempted to foist on this bright nation. It started with his racial lie, claiming that our president wasn’t born in the United States. It was followed by his clear intent to ban people of one religious faith from the United States. And it is followed up now with yet another chapter in the long, terrible ordeal that is being written by this president.”

Inslee said that Trump’s decision to take down DACA is a tactic to distract people from other trouble he is in.

“This is just what Donald Trump does,” Inslee said. “When he’s in trouble, he tries to blame the weakest and most vulnerable among us. That is what we are seeing here today. He is in trouble on multiple fronts and he’s trying to take it out on dreamers.”

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Washington state is suing Trump over DACA decision