Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


“Friend-of-court” brief joined by 11 other states and the District of Columbia

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced the filing of an amicus curiae — or “friend of the court” — brief in support of the Obama Administration’s recent executive action on immigration policy. The brief was filed in Texas v. United States, a legal challenge by Texas and other states to the President’s legal authority. A preliminary hearing is set in that case for Thursday, January 15.  The Washington State Attorney’s General Office authored the brief, which was joined by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

“By properly using his authority to set enforcement priorities, the President’s action benefits Washington and other states by improving public safety, keeping families together, and aiding our economy,” said Attorney General Ferguson. “Hard working, tax paying immigrants can now emerge from the shadows.”

In their brief, Washington and the other states argue that, 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 President took necessary and humane steps to help keep families together and provide relief to law-abiding Washington families,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said. “He acted because Congress has not, and Washington state and the rest of the country should not have to wait any longer for sensible immigration reform.  I applaud the Attorney General’s effort to set the record straight about the President’s authority to pursue commonsense executive action.”

The brief can be found here.

The Center for American Progress estimates that Washington’s tax revenues will grow by $57 million over the next five years as the result of the Administration’s policies. Tax receipts in Texas — one of the plaintiff states challenging the President’s authority — could increase by $338 million over the same period.

Because states will actually benefit from the President’s action, the filing asserts, the plaintiff states challenging the President’s decision cannot meet their burden of showing an irreparable harm. As such, they have not met the standard for the immediate injunctive relief they seek. 

The brief, filed today in The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, also argues that the plaintiff states fail the other applicable legal tests for injunctive relief: a likelihood of success on the merits of the case, whether the potential harm to the plaintiffs outweighs the burden imposed by the requested injunction, and whether the injunction is in the public interest.

The hearing is set for Thursday, January 15, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Brownsville Division.

Deputy Solicitor General Anne Egeler and Solicitor General Noah Purcell are handling this case on behalf of the Attorney General’s 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. Attorney General Bob Ferguson is working hard to protect consumers and seniors against fraud, keep our communities safe, protect our environment and stand up for our veterans. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.


Alison Dempsey-Hall, Deputy Communications Director