By Juan Peralez
UNIDOS of Snohomish County, a Latino advocacy organization since the 1990s sent the following Governor the following to Gov. Jay Inslee to oppose Senate Bill 5008, regarding state driver’s licenses and the federal REAL ID Act.
I have been a supporter since you represented my district as a U.S. congressman and of course as governor. I very much appreciate the position you have taken not to comply with the Trump administration’s executive order to ban the entrance of Muslims from some countries. I am also immensely thankful that you don’t support state, county or municipal law enforcement collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to track down and deport undocumented residents, breaking up families. I respectfully request that you consider changing your position on SB 5008 implementing the federally imposed REAL ID Act. If you oppose the passage of the bill, it would be morally consistent with your position to defend immigrant rights. The country as a whole would also suffer from the shortage of labor needed to do the work no else in this country wants to do.
Being of Mexican descent and the son of a farm-worker family I have worked with undocumented workers. The word “migra” remains in my mind so vividly. The word “migra” stands for immigration officials arriving at the field in their green cars. When someone shouted out the word “migra” everybody would run from the fields to hide. That was more than 50 years ago.
Unfortunately, undocumented workers whether in the fields, construction sites, processing plants or other factories still scurry to hide when someone shouts the infamous word “migra.” These migrants have always lived in the shadows, as they say, because they are here to work hard (sometimes 2 and 3 jobs) to support their families and stay out of trouble. Without the labor these migrants provide the U.S. economy would be in serious trouble.
My biggest concern with this legislation is that the gathering of data from undocumented residents can be used by ICE to track down, detain and deport undocumented residents. At the same time families are torn apart and more suffering is created for those that can not endure any more.
Again, I respectfully urge you to do what is morally right and continue to support and defend immigrant rights. Help these people who are living in the shadows so they can enjoy a little sun. I ask this in the name of these people who can not communicate with you to ask themselves.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Juan Peralez is president of UNIDOS of Snohomish County.