Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Judge cites “chaotic and disorganized nature” of family separations

OLYMPIA — A federal judge today granted Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s request to expedite his multistate lawsuit regarding the Trump Administration’s family separation policy. The judge also granted Ferguson’s request for weekly status conferences with the court during the period of expedited discovery. She scheduled the first conference for Friday, July 27.

In her ruling granting Ferguson’s request for expedited review, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman pointed to the “chaotic and disorganized nature of the Government’s practice of separating children from their parents and moving them around the country” as proof that “good cause exists to move swiftly to address the issues they have raised.”

“The Trump Administration’s family separation policy continues to harm thousands of children and parents,” Ferguson said. “This tragedy must be dealt with quickly, in the name of human decency and fundamental American values.”

Judge Pechman also noted in her ruling that while a separate, class-action lawsuit in Southern California produced a preliminary injunction ordering the federal government to reunify families, that case does not address important issues raised in Ferguson’s case — including the Administration’s refusal to accept asylum seekers at the southern border and conditions being attached to family reunification.

“The kind of family separations currently being implemented by the Government are proven to cause immediate and extensive psychological harm to both children and parents; the damage is only worsened with the passage of time,” Judge Pechman wrote. “These are circumstances which demand swift review and response.”  

Ferguson has now filed 29 lawsuits against the Trump Administration. Ferguson has nine legal victories thus far and has not lost a case against the Administration.


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.


Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov