On New Year’s Day, California earned the status of “sanctuary state” in the country as the bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed in October went into effect. While it may be the largest sanctuary state, its northern neighbor – Washington State – earned that less-than-distinguished status almost a year earlier with the stroke of the gubernatorial pen.
On February 23, 2017, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed an executive order compelling law enforcement agencies to stop providing any assistance, including financial, to law enforcement agents charged with enforcing federal immigration law.
“No executive or small cabinet agency may use agency or department monies, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel for the purpose of targeting or apprehending persons for violation of federal civil immigration laws,” reads the executive order.
It also tied the hands of cabinet agencies that carry out law enforcement activities.
“The Washington State Patrol or Department of Corrections, or other executive or small cabinet agency with arrest powers, will act consistently with current federal law and shall not arrest solely for violation of federal civil immigration laws,” the order continued.
Inslee said the role of state agencies was “to fulfill missions of providing services to Washingtonians, not enforcing immigration statuses,” Inslee said.
In a further remarks, Inslee demonstrated his intent to follow his political instincts, not the law.
“This executive order makes clear that Washington will not be a willing participant in promoting or carrying out mean-spirited policies that break up families and compromise our national security and community safety,” he declared.
The state, however, has been long adopted policies benefitting illegal aliens. In 1993, the Evergreen State’s legislature passed a law permitting driver’s licenses to be issued to illegal aliens. Although the statute does not explicitly affirm that licenses will be given to illegal aliens, it only requires applicants to verify their identities and proof they are Washington state residents.
As FAIR’s Matt O’Brien notes, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing Motel 6 for cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents by providing them with guest lists.
For Ferguson, filing suit over immigration-related matters is old hat.
Last September, Ferguson sued The GEO Group, which runs a number of detention centers throughout the nation, alleging the company violated minimum wage laws by paying detainees just $1 per day for their work.
Ferguson argued the contract signed by GEO, a privately-owned company, required they abide by state and local laws, including minimum wage rules. Most states permit exceptions to minimum wage laws, such as for government-run prisons and jails.
Is it any wonder that Washington State has seen a 14 percent increase in illegal immigration since 2009