State Attorney General filed multistate lawsuit challenging government policy of forced family separations at border

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Federal detention center at SeaTac
Photo by Martha Taylor
Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed his multistate lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s policy of forced family separation on the U.S. southern border on June 26, 2018.

A total of 16 states and the District of Columbia joined Ferguson’s suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

The states joining Ferguson’s lawsuit include: 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.

“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.”

Ferguson and Governor Jay Inslee announced the lawsuit at a press conference last week, outside the federal prison in SeaTac, Washington where the federal government was detaining dozens of women after forcibly separating their children from them.

Among other claims, the states’ lawsuit alleges the Administration violated the constitutional due process rights of the parents and children by separating without any finding that the parents pose a threat to the children. The states also argue that the Administration has been violating federal asylum laws by turning away families that show up at ports of entry seeking asylum.

On June 20, President Trump issued an order purporting to end his family separation policy. Following a close review of the order, the Attorney General’s Office found two significant problems. First, the order does nothing to reunify families already torn apart by the Trump Administration’s policy. Second, the order is riddled with so many caveats as to be meaningless.

For example, the order requires appropriations, although the total amount is unknown, as is the timeline for when or if such an appropriation would happen. It also relies on a federal judge approving a plan to indefinitely detain children, a scenario Ferguson described at the press conference as unlikely.

Ferguson has now filed 27 lawsuits against the Trump Administration. Ferguson has nine legal victories thus far and has not lost a case against the Administration.


Doug July 7, 2018 at 7:31 AM  

The policy is mandated by the 9th Circuit court. The complaint is opposed to Trump enforcing the law. Why wasn’t there a suit against Obama? Because of Trump Derangement syndrome.

Joy July 7, 2018 at 6:54 PM  

I agree, This started in Obamas legacy? Why is it only a issue now?

Anonymous,  July 9, 2018 at 12:17 PM  

Doug - Regardless of who the president is or was, don't you think it's refreshing that our local leaders and constituents are paying attention and acting if they feel there is unjust treatment of human beings in our country in 2018. I give full credit to Donald J. Trump for this awakening!
- Dave

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