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How To Deal With Immigration Enforcement: Washington AG Offers Guidelines For Local Government

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks about President Trump's latest executive order on immigration at a news conference Monday, March 6, 2017, in Seattle.

Changes in federal immigration policy are stirring up fear for many Washington immigrants. At the same time, state and local employees are unsure about their obligations when it comes to immigration enforcement. But now there are some new guidelines that should help clear up the confusion.

The Washington State Attorney General came out with guidance that clarifies some of the questions that have been circulating. Things like what happens if immigration officers show up at a school? Answers like this have been elusive, even though non-citizens have certain rights just like other Washingtonians.

Matt Adams with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project says putting this information in black and white should allay fears both for undocumented people and employees of local agencies.

“It’s laying down clear guidelines that are written, on paper, on the internet … so that the state officials have a resource that they can go to that’s readily accessible and that they then have the reassurance that — hey, I’m not doing anything wrong, and instead I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing which is serving the community,” said Adams.

Adams says the state can’t prevent the feds from doing their job. But it is drawing a line in the sand by articulating local roles and responsibilities.