Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General (AG) Bob Ferguson on Wednesday urged U.S. President Donald Trump to reverse a proposed rule that could prolong detention of immigrant children.
Inslee and Ferguson said in a statement that Trump administration's family separation policies "are appallingly reminiscent of the immoral removal of Native American children from their families and the unjustified internment of thousands of innocent Japanese Americans" more than four decades ago.
They were referring to the internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II. About 10,000 to 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, who mostly were living on the Pacific Coast, were forced to be relocated and incarcerated in concentration camps in the western interior of the country.
The two officials said Trump's immigration policy embedded in the proposal would reverse protections for migrant children, allowing the federal government to detain them for prolonged, potentially indefinite, amounts of time.
"We strongly oppose the Proposed Rule's attempt to allow the indefinite detention of children in family detention centers, raise barriers for children seeking to be released into the care of sponsors, and grant the Department of Homeland Security essentially unfettered discretion to prolong the detention of children," they said.
Ferguson's office said this is not the first time that Ferguson has opposed the Trump Administration's "inhumane treatment and detention of immigrant families."
In June, Ferguson filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's "zero tolerance" policy announced in April, which was intended to ramp-up criminal prosecution of people caught entering the United States illegally.
Nearly 3,000 children were separated from their parents at the U.S. border before Trump signed an executive order on June 20 to halt family separation. However, the "zero tolerance" policy still remains in force.