Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson sure wasn’t kidding on Tuesday when he said he’d sue the Trump administration “very, very soon”: Less than 24 hours later, Ferguson announced that Washington, along with 14 other states, are suing to protect DACA recipients.
Ferguson, along with Governor Jay Inslee, announced the lawsuit Wednesday morning.
At a press conference, Ferguson said that the decision to end DACA violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution because it was motivated by discrimination and animus.
"If those DREAMers were Caucasian, would Trump have acted on this?" asked Ferguson.
“Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President’s Trump’s oft-stated commitments—whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof—to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots,” reads the lawsuit. “The consequence of the President’s animus-driven decision is that approximately 800,000 persons who have availed themselves of the program will ultimately lose its protections, and will be exposed to removal when their authorizations expire and they cannot seek renewal.”
Former President Barack Obama established DACA, which protects certain undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children from deportation, in 2012. About 19,000 DACA program recipients live in Washington State. Barring action from Congress or successful legal action, their status will slowly expire over the course of the next few years—although some program recipients could be at risk for deportation as early as March.
The suit adds that because DACA recipients have turned over personal information to the federal government, they’re more vulnerable to deportation. “The DHS Memorandum does not explain how the government will keep that information secure,” says the suit, “nor does it provide any assurances that immigration enforcement agents will not use such information to find and remove those who applied for DACA.”
The suit also lays out a case for why rescinding DACA will cause harm to each state named in the suit, which include New York, Oregon, and even the District of Columbia.
The suit officially targets President Donald Trump, along with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.