Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today joined a multistate lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration's policy of forced family separation on the U.S. southern border. A total of 16 other states and the District of Columbia joined the lawsuit, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
"Due process is a core tenet of our system of law, and it must be extended to all people, regardless of the circumstances, but even more so when it comes to the irreparable harm caused by ripping families apart," said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. "We all agree that our immigration system is broken and partisan politics should be put aside for the benefit of finding a solution, but until then, we must ensure that our nation acts in a manner consistent with the rule of law, as well as with compassion."
The states' lawsuit alleges the Administration has violated the constitutional due process rights of the parents and children by separating them as a matter of course and without any finding that the parent poses a threat to the children. The policy is also irrationally discriminatory, in violation of the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, because it targets only people crossing our southern border, and not anyone crossing the Northern border or entering the United States elsewhere. The states also argue that this policy once again violates the Administrative Procedure Act, because it is arbitrary and capricious, and that the Administration has been violating U.S. asylum laws by turning people away at ports of entry.
The states joining the lawsuit include: Washington, Massachusetts, California, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.