Bob Ferguson wants Washington residents to contact his office if they are asked to host immigrant children separated from their family as part of the federal government's new "zero-tolerance" immigration crackdown. Ferguson's announcement comes amid widespread uproar over the practice of undocumented children being taken away taken from their parents.

Share story

OLYMPIA — State Attorney General Bob Ferguson wants Washington residents to contact his office if they are asked to host immigrant children separated from their family as part of the federal government’s new “zero-tolerance” immigration crackdown.

The announcement by Ferguson’s office Tuesday comes amid widespread uproar over the U.S. Department of Justice’s new “zero tolerance” immigration crackdown, in which undocumented children have been taken from parents who were detained after crossing the southern border.

Ferguson’s office is seeking information such as, “if a Washington resident is currently housing or will soon be housing a child who has been separated from his or her parents pursuant to this policy,” according to a Tuesday news release.

The federal government has typically placed several hundred unaccompanied minors per year in Washington homes, according to the news release.

Ferguson had said his staff is studying whether the state might have grounds to challenge the Trump administration’s new policy in court.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Tuesday made a similar public appeal in search of people in her state impacted by the border crackdown.

Meanwhile, federal officials are using a federal detention center in SeaTac to hold some immigrant adults, including women who don’t know where their children are or when they’ll reunite.

In an appearance Monday on a TV news program, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle,  announced a series of demonstrations against the policy set for June 30.

Jayapal, who earlier this month met with immigrant women held at the SeaTac detention center, said she reached out to advocacy groups over the weekend to help pull together the demonstrations.

“On Saturday morning I had been thinking and feeling, and over the last several days before, that we needed to have a mass mobilization,” Jayapal said in an interview Tuesday.

The event is titled “Families Belong Together,” and the main focus will be a rally in Washington, D.C., she said. But more than 200 related events are being planned across the country, and about 75,000 people have already RSVP’d, according to Jayapal.

By Tuesday afternoon, Washington rallies were planned for the Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, downtown Olympia, and in Anacortes, Friday Harbor, Mount Vernon and Spokane, according to the event’s website on Moveon.org.

Jayapal also said she has gotten approval to visit the SeaTac detention center again this weekend, to meet with immigrant men being held there.

The majority of the immigrant women she visited there have now been connected with legal services representatives, Jayapal said. But she said she doesn’t know how many of those women have been told where their children are.