Minutemen seek signatures for immigration law initiative

YAKIMA — Supporters of an initiative that would restrict some state services from being offered to illegal immigrants have begun gathering signatures.

Initiative 409 would require state and local government agencies to cooperate with the federal government in enforcing immigration laws.

Under the initiative, employers would be required to verify an applicant’s ability to work legally in the United States; immigration status would have to be verified before some applicants could receive some state, local and federal public benefits; and driver’s licenses could not be issued without proof of immigration status.

Craig Keller of Seattle, a board member for Respect Washington, unveiled the effort Sunday at a meeting of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, which promotes stricter enforcement of immigration laws and border security.

Similar initiatives in 2006 and 2007 failed to get enough signatures for the general ballot. However, as an initiative to the Legislature, I-409 supporters have until 10 days before lawmakers convene in January to gather signatures.

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