Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Thursday released some guidance for local governments and law enforcement on how to deal – or not to deal – with immigration issues.
Ferguson’s office emphasized that the extensive guidance is about “protecting the rights of all Washington residents,” and knowing “the limits of federal immigration authority.”
“Recent changes in federal immigration policy and practices have caused needless fear and uncertainty in our communities,” Ferguson said in a news release. “This guidance helps local governments protect their residents and understand their obligations and their authority in this shifting landscape.”
It addresses local law enforcement, jails, public hospitals, schools and employers, as well as interactions between local jurisdictions and federal authorities. The guidance includes language that can be used to enact laws and policies on how local government entities should respond to federal requests for assistance with immigration enforcement – local entities are subject to certain requirements under the law but also retain significant discretion in many areas, regardless of an individual’s immigration status.
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Here are two examples, according to the Ag’s office:
▪ 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.
▪ 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.
To read Ferguson’s guidance, go to: atg.wa.gov/immigrationguidance.