Washington lawmakers on Trump's DACA decision

Local politicians are promising to do what they can to protect DACA recipients worried about their future.

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Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has joined a handful of AGs nationwide who are promising to challenge the Trump administration’s move to end DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

“In my view though, as cruel and inhumane as the action is, there’s one other problem with it. I think it’s illegal," AG Ferguson said on Tuesday. 

He hasn't revealed details about the expected suit, but says it will likely be filed soon. 

This comes as Congress members across both sides of the aisle are calling for a legislative fix to provide certainty for the some 800,000 DACA recipients.

>>Related: Trump administration announces plan to wind down DACA immigration program

Dozens of local immigration advocates rallied Tuesday afternoon in front of El Centro de la Raza, promising to keep the pressure on Washington D.C. 

“Our community is ready to fight and won’t be sent back into the shadows," said DACA recipient Paul Quinonez, of the speakers at the demonstration. 

"We must continue to fight and push for legislative solutions, to the problems faced by undocumented immigrants, not just the 800,000 DACA recipients, but the close to 12 million immigrations who today live without documentation," Quinonez continued. 

Immigration rights groups in Washington state are pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, acknowledging the DACA program served as only a band-aid and didn't provide a pathway to legal citizenship. 

"Now is the time to fight; now is the time to double down, We demand a clean DREAM Act from Congress now," said Seattle Council member Lorena Gonzalez. 

Related: "After 16 futile Years, Congress will Try again to Legalize 'Dreamers'" via the New York Times

In  a tweet late Tuesday night, President Trump indicated he will revisit the issue if Congress fails to act within the next six months. 

The DACA program won't officially phase out until March 2018, according to a statement by the White House on Tuesday. 

However, questions remain about what happens between now and then. Jorge Barón, of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project said he's been fielding calls and emails from DACA recipients worried about their future status. 

“I think the bigger question looking down the road is what is going to happen when my work permit expires and I can’t renew it; does that mean I’m going to lose my job. Does that mean I’m going to be subject to deportation?" said Baron. "Those are some of the questions that people are asking us today.” 

Here’s what Washington state leaders are saying:

Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash.

“I hope my Republican colleagues in Congress will join me to reverse President Trump’s shameful decision, to find a permanent solution for DREAMers that allows them to stay in the only country they’ve known as home, and to work toward comprehensive immigration reform to finally address our broken immigration system,” read a statement in part.

>>Related: What's next in Congress and the uncertainty facing local Dreamers

Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash

“In a remarkable act of courage and trust, 17,500 young Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are working and contributing to the economy in my state, in the state of Washington,” said Senator Cantwell in a statement. “It is simple: you either want to protect these young individuals or you don't. I hope my colleagues will give us a chance to rectify this as soon as possible." 

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.

““I’ve long said I didn’t agree with the way the previous administration went about enacting DACA, but we must protect children who are already here in this country and those who are currently protected under DACA. That principle is fundamental for me. It's also clear that we must work in Congress to provide long-term certainty for DACA recipients, like those here in Eastern Washington, and recognize their unique circumstances and the value they bring to the country as students, job-holders, members of the military, and members of society. I'm committed to working with my colleagues in the House to establish common sense policies for children of immigrants, policies that recognize that many of these children came to our country at no fault of their own.” 

Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash.

“Children who were brought here by no fault of their own see America as their country and their home,” said Rep. Reichert. “They are our friends, neighbors, colleagues, spouses, and honored members of the military willing to sacrifice their life for our freedom. Punishing these individuals who have contributed so much to our communities and for a crime they did not commit is not in the American DNA. We are a caring, compassionate people and we in Congress must work toward a long-term immigration solution that is fair, respects the dignity of families, and allows all individuals to pursue the American dream.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.

“President Trump is destroying the future of nearly 800,000 young men and women who were brought here by their parents and know no other country but this one. After toying with their futures and raising their hopes with talk of his ‘big heart,’ Donald Trump has shown exactly what his priorities are. He has once again sided with hate and xenophobia, putting in place a repeal that is cruel, inhumane and unjust,” read statement in part.

“I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to immediately pass stand-alone legislation to protect Dreamers.

“Let me be clear: Our immigrant brothers and sisters are here to stay. Not only are they welcome in our communities – they are essential to our communities. I will continue to fight alongside Dreamers and the immigrant rights movement. I ask my Republican colleagues to consider which side of justice they wish to be on, and join us in passing legislation to protect Dreamers once and for all.”

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash.

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.

“If reports are true that the administration will delay ending DACA for six months, then Congress must act soon and pass legislation to make the program permanent. The administration is not off the hook, however. It still must sign a bill Congress passes. I will work to get a bill that maintains this vital program on the administration's desk.”

Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash.

“The President’s actions today are cruel, heartless and do nothing to secure our borders or fix our immigration system. Everyone I talk to, from farmers and business owners to families and border patrol agents, agrees we are long overdue for comprehensive immigration reform,” DelBene said. “I believe it is both a moral and economic imperative to fix the nation’s broken immigration system in a bipartisan way so that it works for families and our economy. Punishing young people who are in the United States by no fault of their own is not the way to do that. Congress must come together to enact comprehensive reform in a responsible and compassionate way.

“Nearly 800,000 children brought to this country by their parents have known no other home than the United States. DACA has given these young people certainty, allowing them to study, work and contribute to our communities. Rescinding DACA puts immigrant youth at risk of deportation to countries they may not even remember. We should be supporting, not deporting these young people who simply want to pursue their dreams right here in the country they call home.”

Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash.

Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash.

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash.

"Any decision to end the DACA program would not merely be a disappointment, but a major setback for the young people I know who were brought here as children through no fault of their own,” said Rep. Newhouse. “I have listened to their stories, and these young people are struggling as their futures here seem in doubt. I will continue to work to protect Dreamers. It is my priority in Congress to give these young people certainty."

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash. 

“In his statement today, the president said he does not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents. I agree, and Congress must now act to treat DACA recipients with compassion. The president is not revoking DACA status immediately, but is giving Congress time to provide permanent relief for those who've been caught in legal limbo. A lasting solution can only be provided through the force of law, and President Obama created a difficult situation for everyone when he circumvented U.S. laws through Executive Order. I believe we can uphold national security, protect opportunities for American citizens, and provide assurances to DACA recipients in Southwest Washington who have done nothing wrong that we understand their plight and that they can build a future here in the only country that many of them have ever known.”

Governor Jay Inslee

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray:

“President Trump’s elimination of DACA is a reprehensible and heartless act by a president who has repeatedly attacked immigrants. His action could rip apart families and will certainly instill fear in millions, including hundreds of thousands of people who came to the U.S. as children and are students in our schools, coworkers and members of our communities. Ending DACA increases the fear many have already been feeling since Trump took over, that they may return home to find a family member detained or authorities waiting for them.

“The City of Seattle will continue to lead in protecting immigrants and refugees. Our Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants and Refugees will help ensure that people who are detained will have access to legal assistance. Our Welcoming City policies will continue to ensure that no City employee or police officer will ask you for your citizenship status and that all City services are available to you regardless of your status. The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and other City departments remain united in supporting our immigrant and refugee communities."

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant


“Our movement needs to act swiftly in a united manner to defeat this attack, just like we did when we organized peaceful mass demonstrations of thousands, including an airport shutdown, which were decisive at the time in blocking Trump’s first Muslim travel ban.

“This attack on DACA recipients is an attempt by Trump to further advance his far-right, billionaire-backed agenda, and to use immigrants as fodder in a desperate divide-and-conquer tactic to distract from the crisis of his administration," read a statement in part. 

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes

“Ending DACA is immoral and counterproductive. I will do everything in my power as City Attorney to
ensure that the City of Seattle continues to treat everyone fairly regardless of immigration status, including potentially filing yet another legal challenge against the Trump Administration. Our lawyers have been looking into possible claims for some time and we will accelerate our efforts with the president’s misguided announcement today.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine

"The president is intentionally tearing families and communities apart across the United States, threatening innocent people who were brought to America as children.

"Rather than seeking to unite the country, he is targeting children and young people - our neighbors; our kids' classmates - families who make our communities and economies stronger and reconfirm America's promise as a land of opportunity.

"I stand with advocates, faith leaders, and elected officials across the country in calling on Congress to pass legislation to make our commitment to Dreamers permanent. Now is the time for courage and leadership, not fear and intimidation."

Washington OSPI

State Rep. Dew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island

Western Washington University

Washington State University

Microsoft President Brad Smith 

© 2017 KING-TV


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