Washington State AG Releases Immigration “Guidance” For Cities, Counties
Thursday, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson released what his office is calling "guidance" for local communities when it comes to dealing with immigration issues. Critics are already saying it's the latest in Ferguson's history of defying and hindering Federal immigration law.
Ferguson, you may remember, was the first State AG to sue the Trump Administration over it's Executive Order that temporarily banned processing of VISA's and other portions of the immigration process. The purpose of the immigration freeze was so Federal officials could overhaul the process and improve poor security.
However, Ferguson filed lawsuits claiming the Order violated the Constitution and laws.
Now, Ferguson has released what he calls "guidance" for how cities and communities can deal with immigration related issues. Among the "guidance" items:
“Recent changes in federal immigration policy and practices have caused needless fear and uncertainty in our communities,” Ferguson said. “This guidance helps local governments protect their residents and understand their obligations and their authority in this shifting landscape.”
"Non-citizens — like other Washingtonians — are afforded certain rights by the Washington and United States constitutions and by federal and state laws that protect rights to access services and to privacy in many settings. Local entities are subject to certain requirements under the law but also retain significant discretion in many areas, regardless of whether an individual is lawfully present in the United States."
"For example: No federal law requires a local police department to engage in law enforcement activities for the sole purpose of enforcing civil immigration law.
Another example: Local governments and private organizations are not required to allow immigration authorities to enter non-public areas of a building without a warrant signed by a judge.
Another example: K-12 schools are not required to collect information about student or parent immigrant status and are not required to share information with federal immigration authorities about student addresses, class schedules, or activities."
But then comes the disclaimer:
"This guide is not meant to assist individuals with immigration issues. The Attorney General’s Office does not represent individuals in private legal matters."
So, critics are already asking, what's the purpose or reason for issuing this information? It is clear, from his record as State Attorney General, that Ferguson appears to favor policies that go against many Federal laws. It is also noted that the AG mirrors step for step, the opinions and policies of his boss, Governor Jay Inslee. Hmmm...