Washington state's top lawyer Bob Ferguson said his office is coordinating a joint lawsuit with other Democratic attorneys general in order to protect young immigrants from deportation. The Trump administration plans to phase out the so-called DACA program.
Ferguson described his plans to sue between conference calls with like-minded attorneys general including from California and New York. Ferguson said the timing of the court challenge is in flux, but he knows he's not going to wait to see what Congress does.
"Look, there are 19,000 'dreamers' in this state. They can't wait,” Ferguson said. “Do I hope Congress acts? Yes. Do I have a lot of confidence that they will given the recent history? No, I'm not going to bet on that."
Ferguson declined to describe the basis or legal argument for the planned challenge to the federal government's immigration pivot.
Idaho's attorney general was quick to restate the Republican position that the policy Ferguson wants to protect is itself unlawful.
"I’ve long held that DACA was created through an unconstitutional executive order because—under the Constitution—the responsibility of creating immigration policy falls squarely on Congress," Republican Lawrence Wasden said in a statement from Boise.
"However, the root of this entire issue is Congress’s failure to pass a law that takes into account the needs of everyday families, especially those families whose ties cross international borders,” Wasden’s statement continued. “This announcement from the administration paves the way for our federal lawmakers to finally step up and deal with this very important issue once and for all."
Ferguson noted in an interview Tuesday that he has already sued the Trump administration about 14 times this year on multiple fronts and hasn’t lost any of the cases so far. The second-term attorney general said he would not take on this issue in court if he was not confident that he had a decent case.
"To take those folks who came here through no fault of their own and send them back to a country that they were not raised in, is that cruel? I think it is the definition of cruel," Ferguson added. "And it's unnecessary."