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Oregon Attorney General Joins Letter Calling Trump Administration's Border Policy 'Inhumane'

<p>Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson have joined 19 other attorney generals calling on the Trump administration to end its practice of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border.</p>

Elaine Thompson

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Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson have joined 19 other attorney generals calling on the Trump administration to end its practice of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson have joined 19 other Democratic attorneys general calling on the Trump administration to end its practice of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

It comes as Democratic attorneys general explore the possibility of suing the Trump administration over it's zero-tolerance border policy.

"The policy is not only inhumane, but it also raises serious concerns regarding the violation of children’s rights, constitutional principles of due process and equal protection, and the efforts of state law enforcement officials to stop crime," the letter states. "Because of these concerns, we demand that the Department of Justice immediately cease these draconian practices."

The letter is addressed to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

"At this point we're looking into whether we would have a basis to file a lawsuit," Rosenblum told OPB. "That is what we do, we file lawsuits where we feel that Oregonians have been harmed and where we haven't been able to otherwise accomplish our goal of reuniting these children with their parents. That's what we would like to see."

In term of a lawsuit, Rosenblum said: "Pretty much the whole West Coast is looking at it and probably various other sections of the country as well."

On April 6, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a zero tolerance policy. The policy calls for anyone illegally entering the United States to be criminally prosecuted. Parents and children crossing the border together have also been separated from one another.

Earlier this month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced it was going to send some 1,600 immigration detainees arrested along the U.S.-Mexico board to federal prisons in five states. In the Northwest, there are 123 people being held at the Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution and 203 people at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center in Seattle.

"Put simply, the deliberate separation of children and their parents who seek lawful asylum in America is wrong," the letter states. "This practice is contrary to American values and must be stopped."

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Conrad Wilson is a reporter and producer covering criminal justice and legal affairs for OPB.