Attorney general Jeff Sessions announced the decision we all anticipated on Tuesday, that the federal administration will be rescinding DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allows immigrants who entered the country illegally as minors deferred deportation and work permits. Here are some of the responses from Seattle's officials, political candidates, and Seattle-based companies. There are an estimated 800,000 DREAMers nationwide, more than 17,000 in Washington state.
Microsoft promises to pay for its employees' legal fight. "Urgent DACA legislation is both an economic imperative and a humanitarian necessity," president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said in a released statement Tuesday. Smith urged Congress to adopt legislation on DACA before a tax reform bill over the next six months and, "if Congress fails to act," pledged to protect its employees—Microsoft knows of 39 DREAMers working for the company, Smith says.
Both mayoral candidates promised to protect DREAMers. Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon pledged to protect young undocumented immigrants regardless of the federal administration's decision. Durkan's "make sanctuary real in Seattle" plan includes continued funding to the city's legal defense fund—which is currently $1 million, not nearly enough to cover the majority of undocumented immigrants facing deportation in the city—support for the Family Unity Project in Seattle Public Schools, and changes at the Seattle Police Department and city attorney's office to minimize the number of people who face disproportionate immigration consequences. You can read more about her proposal here.
City and state officials condemn the federal administration. Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson on Wednesday announced the state will join other states in a lawsuit against the Trump administration over rescinding DACA. Mayor Ed Murray pledged to protect DREAMers in the city. Seattle council member Lorena Gonzalez, whose parents were undocumented immigrants from Mexico and who chairs the public safety committee, said President Donald Trump's announcement "is a calculated attempt to garner political points."
“For me, this fight is incredibly personal. Trump’s cruel and immoral action goes beyond creating a chilling effect in immigrant communities, it is a direct threat to the safety and security of my community and many others," she said in a released statement. "We will continue to resist in Washington as DACA immigrants are here to stay."
And city attorney Pete Holmes said he would "do everything in my power as city attorney to ensure that the City of Seattle continues to treat everyone fairly regardless of immigration status," and said he could potentially file another legal challenge against the federal administration. Ferguson at a press conference Tuesday, joined by governor Jay Inslee, in downtown Seattle condemned the program's end as a racist move.
“Washington state will consider every option possible to challenge the repeal of DACA, including legal action, coordination with other states and any executive action that could help protect Dreamers," Inslee said in a statement Tuesday.
Democratic Congressional delegates from Washington sent a letter to Trump urging him to reconsider. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and representatives Pramila Jayapal, Adam Smith, Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Denny Heck, and Derek Kilmer all signed the letter and demanded that Republicans "work with us" on bipartisan legislation to protect DREAMers. They said the country could lose an estimated $1.1 billion in GDP from the program ending.
Updated Wednesday, September 6, at 2:27pm following Bob Ferguson's announcement to join other states in a lawsuit against Trump.