Bob Ferguson, the Attorney General of Washington State since he was elected in 2012, is leading a coalition of Attorneys General from a total of nine states in filing a federal lawsuit against the Trump Administration over the president’s use of an executive order to “resolve” the issue of family separations at the southern border of the United States.
It is widely agreed that the order was both unnecessary and that it is insufficient to prevent the practice from resurfacing again in some other form when the administration needs another bargaining chip to try and get funding for Trump’s ill-conceived border wall.
Ferguson, however, noted that the order does not provide in any way for the reunification of families that have already been separated, nor outline the potential fate of children that have already been scattered to multiple states by Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services. Citing the “irrationally discriminatory” policy of targeting only those crossing the southern border (and saying nothing at all about our northern border), Ferguson’s lawsuit points out that Trump’s decision violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
The lawsuit also alleges that Trump has violated due process for the parents and children that have already been torn apart by implementing the separation policy as a “matter of course” — it happened without evaluation on a case-by-case basis — without ever finding that the parent posed any threat to the safety of the child being taken away.
And as in the case regarding the Muslim ban — one of the first on nine cases Ferguson has already won against Trump — this policy was implemented in an “arbitrary and capricious” way, having been instituted without a demonstration of any need for it.
Finally, Ferguson’s suit posits that Trump’s policy violates US asylum laws, with the AG’s intending to show evidence that the administration turned away asylum seekers at legal ports of entry.
The states joining Washington are Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Minnesota, with New York’s separate lawsuit very likely to append to this joint action.
The details of the lawsuit can be found at the website for Ferguson’s office here.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images