Bob Ferguson — the Washington state attorney general who gained notoriety in the tech community by enlisting business to take on President Donald Trump — is optimistic about his latest stand on immigration.
Speaking at the 2017 GeekWire Summit, Ferguson said he doesn’t expect Trump’s repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to go through.
In September, the Trump administration ordered an end to the Obama-era program that protects immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation and allows them to study and work here. The president urged Congress to act by March otherwise some 800,000 “Dreamers” protected by the program would be eligible for deportation.
“What they said was, ‘DACA itself is illegal, therefore Congress has to act or we’re going to let it run its course,'” Ferguson said on-stage at the GeekWire Summit last week. “There’s just one problem saying DACA is illegal. No courts ever reached that decision. I mean, not one. Us lawyers care about these details.”
Ferguson has filed a joint lawsuit with other states challenging the president’s plans to repeal DACA. The case will be heard in court in January.
“Are any of these cases easy? Of course not,” Ferguson said. “These are complicated, complicated cases. But I’m optimistic with our lawsuit or I would not have filed it.”
In the weeks following Trump’s DACA announcement, tech leaders have come out in support of Dreamers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “it is particularly cruel to offer young people the American Dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it,” in a Facebook post.
Microsoft President Brad Smith said the federal government would “have to go through us” to deport employees protected by DACA. He reiterated that sentiment in another interview at the GeekWire Summit this week.
Ferguson said he is also optimistic about his lawsuit because of public support for DACA.
“Within the contentious area of immigration, where there are strong views on both sides, DACA is wildly popular,” he said. “I’ve seen upwards of 80 percent of Americans support it, with good reason. These are individuals who came to our country as children through no fault of their own. Why on earth would we deport them to a country they don’t know? It makes no sense.”