Washington to lead multi-state lawsuit against Trump administration over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. -- Washington will lead a coalition of states in filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration's family separation policy, attorney general Bob Ferguson said Thursday.

Gov. Jay Inslee joined Ferguson to make the announcement outside of the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac where about 200 immigration detainees have been transferred. Dozens of them are women separated from their children under the administration's "zero tolerance" policy which calls for prosecuting all migrants caught illegally entering the country.

"This is a rogue, cruel, and unconstitutional policy," Ferguson said. "We're going to put a stop to it."

Ferguson said the separations violate the due process rights of children and their parents and that President Donald Trump's executive order Wednesday halting the practice has not resolved the legal concerns.

"We're here today to announce that Washington state will be leading a coalition of state's filing a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's family separation today," said Ferguson. "We'll be filing that lawsuit imminently here in Seattle -- in the in the Western District of Washington."

Other states joining the lawsuit include Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. Ferguson expects more states to join the lawsuit in the coming days.

This is Washington state's 27th lawsuit against the Trump administration, Ferguson said.

"We have not lost a case yet," he said.

Ferguson has repeatedly challenged the administration, most notably when he successfully sued to block Trump's initial travel ban against several mostly Muslim countries. It caused chaos at airports when it rolled out in January 2017. A third version of the policy took effect but the U.S. Supreme Court is considering it.

Ferguson and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee expressed alarm after learning last week that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was transferring some detainees to federal prisons, including dozens of mothers who had been separated from their children to the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac.

"The Trump administration's new family separation policy is inflicting intentional, gratuitous, and permanent trauma on young children who have done nothing wrong and on parents who often have valid claims for refugee or asylum status," they wrote in a letter to the administration.

A U.S. judge in San Diego is considering whether to issue a nationwide injunction sought by the American Civil Liberties Union that would order the administration to reunite 2,300 children with their parents.

Seattle mayor joins family separation protest at US-Mexico border

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan traveled to Texas to protest the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that is forcibly separating children from their parents at the border with Mexico.

Durkan, along with a bipartisan delegation from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, spoke outside of a federal shelter for separated children in Tornillo, Texas on Thursday.

Q13 Correspondent Brandi Kruse spoke one-one-one with Durkan after the delegation of mayors was denied access to see the conditions inside the shelter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.