OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson released the following statement today after a 5-4 decision from the United States Supreme Court rejecting President Donald Trump’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:
“President Trump’s effort to abandon thousands of Dreamers was both cruel and unlawful. Today, our nation’s highest court agreed. Dreamers make our communities better and stronger places to live. Thanks to today’s decision, they can continue to live and work in what is for many of them the only home they’ve ever known.”
Washington co-led the legal challenge along with New York and Massachusetts. Washington’s Wing Luke Civil Rights Division played a key role; Assistant Attorney General Marsha Chien drafted the complaint and Division Chief Colleen Melody presented oral arguments in the U.S. District Court.
Ferguson announced the multistate lawsuit in 2017, joined by Gov. Jay Inslee and Dreamers including Faride Cuevas. Cuevas, a Seattle resident and civil servant, spoke about her experiences growing up in Washington and her public service.
“Our families make us stronger and our community will not be divided,” she said. “We have all shown our work or else we would not be standing here. We are just as American as your children, as your neighbors.”
In 2012, President Barack Obama allowed Dreamers to live 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.
Ferguson created the Wing Luke Civil Rights Division 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 64 lawsuits against the Trump Administration. Ferguson has 29 legal victories against the Trump Administration. There has been one adverse decision on the merits. Nineteen of those cases are finished and cannot be appealed.