Washington Attorney General’s Office is right to continue pushing for immigration reform even as Congress stalls and the president’s recent executive actions are tied up in court.
EVEN as prospects for Congress fixing the nation’s immigration system look dim, the Washington Attorney General’s Office has emerged as a strong advocate for immigration reform.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson took the lead on filing an amicus brief on behalf of 15 states and the District of Columbia defending President Obama’s most recent efforts to adjust the status of millions of people living and working in the United States.
Last November, Obama took a bold step by issuing executive actions to grant temporary deportation relief and work authorization to immigrants who are not authorized to be in the United States and have children born here or who are adults who were brought here as children.
Set to roll out in February, those programs were halted when a U.S. District Court judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction for a lawsuit filed by the Texas attorney general and 26 other states challenging Obama’s executive actions as unfair to states.
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The U.S. Department of Justice recently argued against the lawsuit and injunction at a hearing before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Ferguson’s amicus brief argues Obama’s actions would benefit states by enhancing economic development, improving public safety and protecting families from separation.
More than 100,000 people living in Washington would be eligible for the programs and could generate an estimated $57 million in additional tax revenue for the state.
More immigrants would trust law enforcement and report crimes if they no longer feared being deported.
Also, American children of at least one parent without legal status would not have to worry that their mom or dad, or both, might be deported.
Ferguson shares the frustration of millions of people whose hopes were crushed when Obama’s programs stalled. His office will continue pushing the amicus brief on the likely chance it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court.
Local immigrant-rights groups, such as OneAmerica and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, are continuing to work with immigrant communities to educate them on the programs and help them prepare application materials.
Ferguson’s leadership in bringing states together to support the president’s approach in the face of the challenge from other states is impressive.
The efforts of the Attorney General’s Office’s lawyers will ensure the nation’s courts and lawmakers hear sound, logical and compassionate arguments for immigration reform.