Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Nov 12 2019

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson released the following statement today after argument before the U.S. Supreme Court defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

“Nearly 18,000 Dreamers live and work in Washington, and they make our communities stronger,” Ferguson said. “Washington is their home. I am proud to stand up for them in the highest court in the country.”

Case Background

In 2012, President Barack Obama created the DACA program to allow Dreamers — who were brought to the country as children — to remain in the country as long as they meet certain criteria. Those criteria include being in school, having graduated from school or a certificate program, or being a honorably discharged veteran, and passing a background check showing that the recipient is not a threat to public safety. DACA status must be renewed every two years.

The Trump Administration announced on Sept. 5, 2017, that it would end the DACA program after six months, exposing Dreamers to deportation.

The next day, Ferguson and 15 other attorneys general filed a challenge to the Administration’s decision to end DACA in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Ferguson’s suit included supporting declarations from education institutions like the University of Washington and Washington State University, as well as international corporations Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis granted the states’ motion for a preliminary injunction in February, forcing the Administration to continue accepting DACA renewals until the resolution of the case.

The Administration has appealed several of Judge Garaufis’ rulings, including the preliminary injunction, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in January.

The Administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and review the case. The court agreed, and heard oral argument Nov. 12.  

Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit Chief Colleen Melody and Assistant Attorney General Marsha Chien are handling the case for Washington.

Ferguson created the Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit in 2015 to protect the rights of all Washington residents by enforcing state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Ferguson named the unit for Wing Luke, who served as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Washington in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He went on to become the first person of color elected to the Seattle City Council and the first Asian-American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest.

Lawsuits against the Trump Administration

Ferguson has filed 51 lawsuits against the Trump Administration and has not lost a case. Ferguson has 25 legal victories against the Trump Administration. Fourteen of those cases are finished and cannot be appealed. The Trump Administration has or may appeal the other 11, which include lawsuits involving Dreamers and 3D-printed guns. No court to rule on the merits of the Attorney General’s arguments in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration has ruled against the office.

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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.

Contacts:

Brionna Aho, Communications Director, Attorney General’s Office (360) 753-2727; brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov