Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced the filing of an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief in a federal appellate court, continuing his leadership in support of President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration policy. The brief was filed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas v. United States, a legal challenge by Texas and other states to the President’s immigration reforms.

The Washington State Attorney’s General Office authored the brief, which was joined by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. 

“The President’s action benefits Washington and other states by improving public safety, keeping families together, and aiding our economies,” said Attorney General Ferguson. “Allowing undocumented immigrants who have lived here for many years to come out of the shadows, work legally, and better support their families helps all of us.”

On February 16th, a federal district court judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction in the case, halting implementation of the Administration’s policies.  The Justice Department has asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay that ruling and allow the immigration directives to take effect.  Washington and the other states filed their brief with the appellate court in support of that request.

In their brief, the states argue that the district court erred in concluding that the immigration directives would harm states.  Rather than presenting a burden, the Obama Administration’s actions — enabling working families to participate more fully in American society, earn a fair, legal wage and pay their fair share of taxes — benefit the states by raising revenue and reducing demand for social services. 

The coalition states also argue that, should the court of appeals uphold the district court’s preliminary injunction, that injunction should be limited to Texas, the only state to have introduced evidence purporting to show it would suffer harm.  At the very least, the coalition asserts, the injunction should be confined to the plaintiff states that sued the Administration.

“President Obama is doing the right thing on immigration after years of inaction by Congress, and I fully support Attorney General Ferguson’s continued leadership to ensure these common-sense policies are implemented,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said.  “Washington state needs real immigration reform to help the quality of life of residents here and for the continued strength of our economy. The President’s executive action represents an important first step on a path to making that happen.”

A link to the brief can be found here.

Deputy Solicitor General Anne Egeler and Solicitor General Noah Purcell are handling this case on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office.