Attorney general files lawsuit against Trump administration

Challenges constitutionality of immigration executive order

SEATTLE — State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Jan. 30 that he is filing a lawsuit in federal court against President Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and high-ranking Trump Administration officials.

Ferguson’s complaint asks the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to declare unconstitutional key provisions of Trump’s immigration executive order.

Fergusonalso filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order seeking an immediate halt to the executive order’s implementation.

The complaint asserts that the president’s actions are “separating Washington families, harming thousands of Washington residents, damaging Washington’s economy, hurting Washington-based companies, and undermining Washington’s sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”

“No one is above the law — not even the President,” Ferguson said. “And in the courtroom, it is not the loudest voice that prevails. It’s the Constitution.”

Ferguson argues that the executive order violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, infringes individuals’ constitutional right to due process, and contravenes the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.

Major Washington state institutions supported Ferguson’s lawsuit through declarations filed alongside the complaint. In their declarations, Amazon and Expedia set forth the detrimental ways the executive order impacts their operations and their employees.

On Jan. 28, a federal judge in Brooklyn issued an order enjoining the Trump Administration from enforcing its executive order as to certain individuals who have arrived in the United States. Ferguson’s lawsuit is broader in scope and seeks to invalidate entire sections of the executive order nationwide.

“Never has our system of checks and balances been more important,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, who joined Ferguson at the press conference. “Washington is filing the first suit of its kind in the nation, thanks to the good work of Attorney General Ferguson and his team. I would not be surprised to see more. Until Congress takes this administration to task for the obvious moral and legal injuries suffered by innocent, law-abiding people entering our country, it is up to states to protect and promote the rights of the people who reside in our borders.”

The complaint asks the court to declare major sections of the executive order illegal and unconstitutional and to enjoin the Trump Administration from enforcing the policy.

Ferguson also asks to court to schedule a hearing within 14 days.

A copy of the complaint will be available on the Attorney General’s Office’s website at

Handling the state’s case: Solicitor General Noah Purcell; Deputy Solicitor General Anne Egeler; assistant attorneys general from the A.G.’s Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit, including Unit Chief Colleen Melody, Patricio Marquez and Marsha Chien; and Solicitor General’s Office Fellow Kelly Paradis.

The Attorney General’s Office reports receiving support from the public and the legal community, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the National Immigration Law Center.