Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he’s been speaking daily with officials from a handful of states about the lawsuit he’s promised to file over DACA. But he’s not yet offering any clues as to the legal grounds.
Hours after the Trump administration announced the end of DACA, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson reiterated his intention to sue the president.
“It’s immoral and it’s illegal, ” Ferguson said in a statement.
“There’s a lot of conversation going on right now amongst a handful of Democratic AGs,” he said in a call to reporters shortly afterward. For about a week, the state attorneys general have been speaking daily, he said, referring in particular to Xavier Becerra of California and Eric Schneiderman of New York.
A larger group of state attorneys general might also be interested in joining a lawsuit, Ferguson said.
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But he said he couldn’t specify when or where he and others might file. And he declined to answer questions about the legal arguments they intend to make.
Some have called into question the ability to fight President Donald Trump in court. Since DACA was created by executive action — President Barack Obama’s in 2012 — it can be undone by executive action, reasoned Jorge Barón, executive director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee, vowing to fight for Dreamers, said he thought some kind of “estoppel” legal argument would apply. That’s an argument to stop the government from doing something contrary to earlier promises or advice.
Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, suggested that argument as well — as it might apply should the government seek to deport Dreamers or immediately cancel work permits granted through DACA.
Federal officials said Tuesday DACA recipients can use their work permits until they expire. Those with work permits expiring before March 5 can apply to renew them.
Officials also said Dreamers won’t be actively targeted for deportation, according to The New York Times. But how much protection that provides is unclear.
California state AG Beccera, who in July wrote a letter to Trump defending DACA that was signed by Ferguson and other attorneys general, hinted at a due process argument Tuesday. Beccera said DACA recipients had followed the rules and were now being denied constitutional rights, according to the Los Angeles Times.
As more details about DACA’s end and the state’s response emerge, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and others are holding Facebook livestreaming events and meetings around the state. They plan to answer questions and discuss immigration options individual Dreamers might have should Congress not step in as Trump is urging.