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As Congress moves forward with immigration reform, we take a look at how this issue connects to culture, business and families in the Northwest.Our region is home to a unique blend of immigrants who work in all parts of our economy — from high-tech to agriculture. This population already has a deeply-rooted history here. And its ranks are expanding rapidly.Proposals for comprehensive immigration reform address border security, employment verification, guest-worker programs and pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the US.

Washington state takes on Trump again. This time for the Dreamers

Updated on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 11:33 a.m.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Wednesday that his office is filing a multi-state lawsuit to defend the DACA program. Fifteen states and Washington, D.C. have joined in the complaint, filed in the Eastern District of New York. Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks have also filed declarations in support. 

Ferguson said the lawsuit is based on constitutional and statutory claims, and will argue that President Trump's decision to end DACA shows racial animus and discrimination against Mexicans.

“In our lawsuit, we allege the president’s own statements make clear that the majority of Dreamers are being targeted for discriminatory treatment based on their national origin,” Ferguson said to reporters on Wednesday.

“If the overwhelming majority of dreamers were Caucasian, does anybody really think this president would have taken the action he took yesterday?”

Approximately 80 percent of DACA recipients are of Mexican descent.

Original story continues:

As President Donald Trump ends immigration protections for so-called Dreamers, Washington state prepares for a court fight. Attorney General Bob Ferguson says he’ll file a lawsuit “very, very soon” to defend these young immigrants.

In Seattle, hundreds gathered for a rally just hours after the White House announcement to wind down the Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA.

Many in the crowd were young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and, through DACA, gained temporary work permits and protection from deportation. 

They cheered as Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson stepped to the stage. He’s got a reputation for taking on the Trump Administration in court.

"It’s not like I’m keeping score or anything, but so far we’re 4-0," Ferguson said with a grin. "I just want to put that out there." 

He called it "a dark time for our country" and the president's announcement on DACA as "one of the darkest" moments. Ferguson said he’s working with legal teams around the country on a legal defense for the DACA program, with support from other Democratic attorneys general from other states.

"As cruel and inhumane as I think the president’s action is, there’s one other problem with it," Ferguson said. "I think it’s illegal."

[asset-images[{"caption": "Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks during a community rally in support of DACA recipients on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, at El Centro De La Raza in Seattle.", "fid": "138958", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201709/MF_DACA05_0.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer"}]]A group of conservative attorneys general in several states disagree, describing DACA as unlawful. The group forced this week’s decision with a threat to sue if Trump continued the program.

Congress members are now debating potential bills that would provide similar DACA benefits, or possible legal status for this group of immigrants.

An undocumented mother at the rally called for pressure on Congress to act.

"Because what we brought to this country is talent," she said. "We brought our children."

[asset-images[{"caption": "Maya, center, a student at the Jose Marti Child Development Center holds a Save DACA sign during a community rally in support of DACA recipients on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, in Seattle.", "fid": "138959", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201709/MF_DACA03_0.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer"}]]

The woman only gave her first name, Teresa, because of her legal status.  She said two of her children have DACA — one is in college; the other is working.

Teresa said they left Mexico 17 years ago for her children's safety and education. 

Given the chance to do it over, she said she'd make the same choice again.

"I abandoned everything in my country to bring my children here and give them a better future."

Year started with KUOW: 2006