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Court speeds up family separation lawsuit

U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman today granted Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s request to fast-track the multistate lawsuit filed last month against the Trump Administration’s family separation policy. In an unusually comprehensive 10 page order, Judge Pechman noted the unique background of this case and the particular risk of harm posed to the families involved.

“The kind of family separations currently being implemented by the Government are proven to cause immediate and extensive psychological harm to both children and parents; the damage is only worsened with the passage of time. … In fact, this Court notes that many of the findings in the [San Diego] case – especially relating to the premature removal of parents without their children, and the chaotic and disorganized nature of the Government’s practice of separating children from their parents and moving them around the country – function as proof that the Plaintiffs’ [the coalition of states] concerns are not ‘speculative’ and that good cause exists to move swiftly to address the issues they have raised.”

The Court discounted the government’s arguments that a San Diego Court’s injunction and order to reunite families would conflict with an order in this case, noting that Washington’s case raised several issues not addressed by the other case – most notably the government’s alleged refusal to accept asylum seekers at the border forcing them to enter illegally. The Judge’s order also granted AG Ferguson’s request for regular status conferences, the first of which it schedule for Friday July 27, at 10:00 am in Seattle.