Letters On Illegal Alien Issues
---------------------------------------ACLU Position on Anacortes Border Checks
(Editor's note: The following letters are in response to a ICE spot checks. )
To the Editor:
The American Civi Liberties Union of Washington continues to monitor the actions of the Border Patrol in conducting suspicion-less questioning of passengers departing intra-state ferries at the Anacortes ferry terminal. The position of the ACLU of Washington is expressed below and is endorsed by the San Juan Island Chapter of the ACLU of Washington.
In a free society, individuals should be able to expect that they may travel in public without being stopped and questioned by law enforcement, unless there is reason to believe that they have broken the law or pose a threat to security. Government agents should not stop and question people who have given no indication that they are doing anything wrong.
If the government can stop and question people engaged in purely intrastate travel without individualized suspicion, the same logic could be used to expand stops by other law enforcement officials to any state highway.
Enforcement of border laws is important, but for law enforcement simply to say that they are acting in the name of border security should not mean that basic rights automatically go by the wayside.
Suspicion-less mass stops is a scattershot approach – a fishing expedition – that is not an effective use of our resources to promote security. While citizenship checks are touted as a way to protect national security against the threat of terrorism, in practice they are often used to arrest and deport non-citizens who have no connection to terrorism. The result is to sow fear in immigrant communities, as individuals – typically hard-working individuals, often with families – worry that a misinterpreted response will have dire consequences. This does not make our society safer.
ACLU of Washington
San Juan Island Chapter
---------------------------------------Must Get To Root Causes
To the Editor:
Thanks to Mr. Knutson, on his editorial about the The Costs Of Illegal Immigration
. He has put in words to my sentiments better than I ever could. And yes, I am one of those leftist-progressive etc. people. I think the employers Mr. Knutson talks about are coyotes, just like the ones on the border.
The illegal workers in this community are badly treated and live in fear. We are hurting them, probably more than we are hurt as we carry them in their “non-existent” status. As painful as it must be, we must get to root causes.
What would be a reasonable first step?
---------------------------------------Rosenfeld Not Supportive Of Illegals
To the Editor:
I’d like to comment on the guest editorial (The Costs Of Illegal Immigration)
by Scott Knutson. I don’t disagree with it. I’m not supportive of illegals. This is why on the County Council I’ve concentrated on mitigating the economic impacts of the Border Patrol (BP) spot checks, which I think we’ve already been able to do something about, and not on the immigration issue. But, I’m not happy with the BP checks either, because of how it contributes to a culture of fear, and the possible erosion of our rights. Just because we have a bad illegals problem doesn’t have to mean we have to sacrifice our freedoms.
Our current policy is a hypocritical, de facto invitation to come work here. “If you can get here, we have jobs for you” is the message we’ve been sending. This is what has created the subculture of 10-20 million with some positive but many negative effects, including crime and the cost of services, which are wrecking some communities. What to do? BP, ICE, Customs and other agencies at all levels are overwhelmed by the situation. We’re spending huge gobs of money and barely making a dent.
This guest editorial, the political candidates, and government policy going back past Reagan, dance around the real issue: that there are ineffective laws penalizing employers who hire illegals. As long as there are jobs available, they will come. As illegals are made legal, like Reagan’s amnesty, or made legal guest workers, more illegals will flood in to take the bottom jobs.
Why has strengthening our employment laws been ignored for so long. Is our economy addicted to illegals? Remember back to the 2000 election campaign when many high level officials and candidates were caught hiring illegal nannies and gardeners? The publicity hurt them politically, but otherwise all they received was a slap on the wrist. Or, what about Wal-Mart when they got caught? It’s been reported that Tyson Foods, other meat packers, and many other business and agricultural interests who benefit from illegal labor, make generous campaign contributions.
Why can’t we work toward what seems like a simple fix by strengthen the laws? If there are no jobs, they won’t come. Here’s one way it can be done. Start with new hires. Require them to get a new Social Security smart card, a card containing the latest security features including photo ID. Some may say this sounds like a national ID card. Well, we already have to have a Social Security card that currently doesn’t do much.
As the system capability permits, age groupings can be included until everyone has one. Even if this takes 10 years, it immediately becomes effective for new hires, and the age groupings incrementally as they are included. If counterfeiting ever becomes a problem, the cards may need to be renewed periodically.
As soon as the cards are in place, increase the penalties for hiring illegals (anyone without the card) to the point where no one in their right mind would do it. The cost associated with this program would be more than off set by the reduced pressure on our communities, and on BP, ICE, Customs, etc. allowing them to be more proactive and effective at protecting us.
---------------------------------------Lot of Irony, Little Logic
To the Editor:
Responding to the border checks letter
makes no mention of the legality of domestic checkpoints. It effectively endorses warrantless detention however requests that they speed up the process, dress a little better, and make sure to carry this out against those who look like locals with exactly the same frequency as those who appear to be here illegally.
San Juan Island
---------------------------------------Thanks To the Councils
To the Editor:
I would like to very publicly THANK the County Council and the Town Council for standing and representing their constituents in the issue of the highly inappropriate and probably illegal border check points at the Anacortes ferry landing.
I am reminded of the situation (this is from old memory cells so it may be some what inaccurate) several years ago where an individual that was transiting from Friday Harbor to Anacortes on the international ferry was apprehended by US Customs in Anacortes. Said individual was found to be in possession of nefarious and illegal substances. If memory serves .... said individual was not convicted in Federal District Court because some aspect of the arrest by Customs was illegal due to the fact that the individual was not an international traveler and therefore not subject to customs inspection. The important part of this story is that the Federal Prosecutor chose not to appeal the verdict to the federal appeals court. The rumor on the street in Friday Harbor was that the feds backed off so as NOT to set a precedent that would limit their idea of their authority.
It is time for us as concerned citizens to keep reminding our federal representatives of our refusal to be treated like this and to go out of our way to say THANK YOU to our local elected officials for standing up for us.
Add your voice while you still can.
San Juan Island
---------------------------------------The County Circus is at it again – or still.
To the Editor:
The County Circus is at it again – or still. (Recent Story On Subject)
After ensuring eternal protection of the islands' population by prohibiting nuclear war and banning global warming from this county, the elected half-dozen have joined with the Town Council in the exercise of tilting at federal windmills. They are not going to take it any more, so 'en garde', Washington! I'm sure that the members of Congress are shaking in their boots
The County Circus is at it again – or still. After ensuring eternal protection of the islands' population by prohibiting nuclear war and banning global warming from this county, the elected half-dozen have joined with the Town Council in the exercise of tilting at federal windmills. They are not going to take it any more, so 'en garde', Washington! I'm sure that the members of Congress are shaking in their boots
In play here are a couple of clear and undeniable facts: our island paradise forms a chunk of border that leaks worse than a rusted-out sieve; further, at issue are illegal aliens. Has any of the esteemed Council members bothered to look up the meaning of 'illegal' of late? Has any checked his national pride recently?
Apparently 'Six-pack Light' does not have the backbone to uphold existing laws and condemn law-breakers who cost the Treasury untold billions.
One is brought to wonder if it truly requires the ability to speak out of two sides of the mouth to qualify for this office. Lichter, in his rambling comparison with Nantucket, dreads the possibility that too many tourists might clash with islands' population and traditions and even that part of the local businesses might go overly 'touristy'. Then we read Howie's complaints that the Border Patrol spot checks may keep tourists away. Make up your mind, guys!
If you want tourists to stay away, just leave it to the Washington State Ferry system – it will soon price us out of vacation brochures. If you do want tourism to continue and grow, then perform that part of your job that deals with your responsibility in upholding the law and put out word to potential visitors that you work diligently with Homeland Security, Border Patrol, Customs etc. in an effort to rid these islands of at least one criminal element and that you, too, look forward to the day that we need no longer press one for English.
Ary L. Hobbel
San Juan Island
---------------------------------------Open letter to Joe Gulliano:
To the Editor:
Not too many years ago our Commander-in-chief stated in a nationally broadcast speech; "any man who uses violence to get his way is a terrorist." Three days later he initiated "Shock and Awe", and that was only the beginning.
America's arrogant and violent behavior around the world while boasting that "we don't need a permission slip" is exactly what fuels terrorism. The CIA calls it "blow-back." Some of us dare to call it "when the chickens come home to roost."
Here at home, the deliberate mixing of national security and immigration is being used to inject the fog of war into the enforcement activities of an over-zealous executive branch.
It was not so long ago that another modern democracy used such ways and means to cast a driftnet over its population in order to cleanse itself of the "illegals." As the horrible roundups began, most patriotic citizens stood behind their government in order to conform to the law, and stood fast for the "sake of the nation." According to the authorities, it was the patriotic thing to do. "You're either with us or against us."
It was only a small but determined faction of people who "illegally" resisted the efforts of the Third Reich. It was only a few churches who "went political" to give refuge at great risk to their institutions and their own lives. Just as those who didn't "look like us" were stopped at checkpoints and coerced for ID and detained, so it is now happening on domestic ferry runs.
Let us never forget that those employees of the State who rounded up the Jews and their sympathizers to death camps were obeying "the rule of law." They were "just doing their job."
Yes, in a nation of rules, it may be that "ignorance is no excuse for the law." But perhaps the laws of man are no substitute for universally accepted laws of God, and no law of man should serve as an excuse for crimes against immigrants and their families.
Orcas Island---------------------------------------Town Worse Than ICE
We wish to second our friend Howie's concern about the effect of the ICE and tourism.
We would also add that, though the ICE is not within the island's power to affect, we would seem to be able to influence our local destiny...why does the town council propose to, effectively, eliminate months of the island's business potential this summer by uprooting the streets around Cannery Landing, the ferry parking area, Front street, and Spring Street?
We would dare speculate that the effect of these operations will have much more effect on the island's tourist business than the best efforts of the ICE.
---------------------------------------“get used to it”
To the Editor
I want to thank the lady that called me about the Border Patrol spots checks at the Anacortes ferry terminal, and very nicely advised me to “get used to it”. The more I learn about this issue the more that is becoming my catch phrase.
I had a meeting on the mainland last week with Agent Giuliano. He offered to come here for more town meetings. The County might schedule him on Orcas, May 6, and the Town Council is thinking about holding one. My main concern was the possible effect of the spot checks on our economy. First of all, the spot checks are not going to go away. “Ever”, according to Giuliano. They’re going to become less frequent, but there will always be periodic checks. I brought up the disruption to WSF operations. He said this subject would be discussed soon at a meeting with WSF and other state and federal officials.
I asked if they were going to conduct spot checks elsewhere because we were feeling picked on. He said they had conducted the spot checks three times on the Forks Rd. and that will continue. We were next because of the need here and the Anacortes Terminal facility was an easy set-up. But they will continue expanding these spot checks elsewhere.
I then explained how important tourism is to our economy and asked if there was any way to make the experience less intimidating? I said we’re worried about scaring away our visitors. I got a laugh by saying I didn’t expect them to dress up in clown costumes, but could they perhaps be a little less militaristic? He said he would consider that.
I was criticized by some after the 2/25 public meeting for asking Giuliano to “lighten up”. I was later surprised by how many positive comments I received. We may not be able to do much about stopping the spot checks, but we might be able to have them conducted in the least harmful way for our economy. On the way home from the meeting last week I wondered if they would give out door prizes if we provided them?
Howard Howie Rosenfeld
---------------------------------------Did I Miss Something ??
To the Editor:
I was raised and taught that proper and correct behavior was to obey the law. Not just the ones that suited me or that I agreed with but all of them. If I thought the speed limit was too slow and went faster than the posted limit (or too slow) I was going to get fined. If I repeated my offense too often then my driving privileges would be revoked. We are a nation of laws and are governed accordingly.
It now seems that some of our citizens and elected officials are indicating that we should be able to choose which laws to follow and which to ignore. Does that mean that the next “Undocumented Pharmacist” (meth lab processor) need not worry about arrest or conviction? After all, the drug dealer/processor is only trying to make a living. Perhaps we can offer aid and comfort to escaped felons and become the humanitarian center for America.
Think of all the money we taxpayers can save by eliminating the need for a Justice Department. We simply ask the County Council to void all laws; State, Federal and Local, and we will no longer need the Sheriff, the Prosecutor or Judges. Attorneys will be a thing of the past. What a concept.
I think the first law I would like to have ignored is my duty to pay taxes. April 15th is right around the corner and I really would like not to send the IRS the money I owe. Next would be my property taxes that are due at the end of April. Howie, Alan, Kevin, Bob etal could you take care of this at your next Council meeting. I really appreciate it.
San Juan Island
Ps. I was thinking of going to Mexico for the winter. Could you, before say October, void the immigration and visa laws for Mexico? I really hate all the paperwork necessary to enter and leave that country and the fees they charge are really unfair. Oh, and if I stay longer than six months without leaving, they will arrest me. I really would like that law voided too. While you’re at it, let’s have our Constitution and Bill of Rights follow us to which ever country we choose to visit. That would really be helpful.
---------------------------------------Solutions not based on fear, resentment or arrogance are needed
To the Editor:
I would like to respond to several of the points in the letter written by Mr. Hazelton in reference to the illegal immigrant problem and the attempts made to deal with this by customs checks of the ferries.
You speak of these people as rules breakers and of the importance of catching people who break rules. If we were dealing with only a few hundred or even a few thousand people I would tend to agree with this point. Laws need to be respected, rules followed in general for a civil society to function. But if statistics are to be believed we are talking about 11 million illegal immigrants in this country so this is not a case of a few delinquents or disaffected individuals. When you are dealing with this kind of numbers you are dealing with something that is a social and economic movement. And whether or not you and I want to see this as a moral or ethical issue, in reality it is a practical issue. No matter how much anyone may want to we are not going to round up and march back across any border 11 million people. It just plain isn’t practical.
So if we have here a social and economic movement which is perceived to be causing problems we need to try and figure out what is really going on here. Only in that way can we come up with a solution that is more than just emotionally satisfying, but one that has a chance of actually working. And as I said in a letter that I wrote to the Journal on this issue we are dealing with two issues here. One is our American attitude toward certain kinds of jobs, jobs that are hard, dirty and perceived as low class. And we are dealing with the fact that many of these illegal immigrants are willing to work for lower wages than many Americans are and without the benefits that we want to have with our paychecks, medical care, vacations, etc. In this country we want to work for high wages so that we can buy lots of stuff that is cheap. And why is this stuff cheap? Because it is made by people working for low wages. Nuff said.
You mentioned also that you have several friends that would like the jobs that these people have. Well, by no means have I gotten every job that I have applied for in my lifetime either. Sometimes I lacked the qualifications or the experience necessary and sometimes I wanted to work for higher wage than was being offered. So I looked elsewhere. If your friends actually applied for a job that was given to an illegal immigrant on what basis was he (or she) passed over? Experience, work ethic, training, wage expectation or are you implying that it was for the color of his or her skin? If the wage was too low your friend can either go for more training to qualify for a better paying job or bite the bullet and work for less at least until more experience is gained. I do find it interesting that many of these illegal families who work for lower wages, manage to pay rent, feed their families, buy gas and still send money back to family in Mexico or elsewhere. Do they know something about money management that we don’t.
You object to these people using services such as the schools for their children because they don’t pay taxes. Well, schools are paid for by property taxes and only property owners pay those. If you are a renter, as I was for four years while my daughter went to school in Friday Harbor you don’t pay property taxes, your landlord does. And as far as medical services are concerned, we have a huge problem in this country for all of us, not just the people we are talking about. The cost of medical care is far and away above what almost any individual person can afford and can only be paid for by some sort of insurance program most often paid for by employers of the better paying sorts of jobs. No one whether they are legal or not can afford medical care without help if they are working at or below minimum wage. Anyone in that situation is going to end up using medicare.
Until we take a hard, hard look at the real problems here we will not come up with a workable solution to the problem. Knee jerk militaristic solutions simply aren’t going to help. And they threaten the basic civil liberties that as Americans we should be able to count on. Using fear of terrorism or job loss to allow these constitutional freedoms to be eroded is to be conquered by whatever it is that we fear even if they never set foot in our country.
We need to all of us, take a deep breath and step back and look for real solutions for all of us. Solutions that are not based on fear or resentment or arrogance. Solutions that don’t separate families, terrorize individuals or erode liberties.
Waldron Island, WA--------------------------------------- Illegal Immigration Not the Key issue
To the Editor:
Recent actions by ICE at the Anacortes ferry terminal have aroused considerable public outcry which appears to be focused on the issue of illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is not the key issue here. What is at stake, and what should cause Islanders of ALL political persuasions to be up in arms is this violation by ICE of our fundamental right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause.
The Fourth amendment to the Constitution states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
ICE cannot legally manufacture Probable Cause as Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Joseph W. Giuliano suggests. He said, "they (agents) have to have a reason to go beyond asking questions such as 'where you going today, where do you live." "If the response is evasive in nature or non-responsive, it can result in suspicion becoming articulateable, then suspicion becomes cause, and cause becomes probable cause,” then “that’s when you start talking about taking people going into custody.”
This rational is constitutionally completely backwards. Law enforcement cannot engage in 'fishing expeditions' and use the fruits of an illegal search to justify the existance of Probable Cause. Probable cause must exist before any questioning by law enforcement at all is justified.
We as a community cannot condone this method of ferreting out illegals in our midst. ICE can and should lawfully guard our BORDERS. The agency is legally authorized to utilize the facilities in Anacortes to process an INTERNATIONAL ferry arrival. But, to use these ‘convenient’ facilities to detain and question any of us without probable cause to do so is not just an ‘inconvenience,’ or a ‘deterrent to tourism,’
This activity is an outrage to a free people. No law requires us to carry ID, much less answer a question, “Where do you live or where are you going?” unless Probable Cause exists that we have done something wrong. Riding a ferry does not constitute a valid basis for this detention and interrogation.
And it is. However brief and personally inconsequential or lengthy and annoying, you, a free American, are not free to go. You, a law-abiding citizen going about your lawful business, are being detained within a wire enclosure, and when it’s your turn, you are being interrogated.
Your Fourth Amendment Rights are under threat. Challenge this action at every level. Expose the authorizing chain of authority. Demand accountability.
Illegal immigration is not the issue here.
If we sacrifice our freedoms in exchange for supposed security we will lose both.
Friday Harbor---------------------------------------ICE Actions Only The Tip Of The Iceberg
To the Editor:
Mr. Hazelton's letter "A Few Facts on the Illegal Alien Issue" demonstrates perfectly that perhaps he needs a history lesson in order to "connect the dots" of hypocrisy which causes otherwise good people to become their own enemy and to be so willing to destroy the foundations of America in the process.
But first we need some honest self-judgment for our actions and ask ourselves if social and economic terrorism against our beloved Hispanic community members is a legitimate tool in the "war on terror." I know the gut-wrenching anxiety caused within the detainees' broken families does nothing to stem the flow of terrorists. In other countries we so arrogantly manipulate and occupy, the "collateral damage" is of even greater proportion; making more enemies faster than we can kill them.
What is so Orwellian is how our national flag has become the default immunization tool in order to gain impunity from the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights in order to "protect ourselves." Meanwhile, as our nation goes down the slippery slope into a police state or even fascism, the personal cost and risks of defending our rights becomes ever steeper. One thing we must never forget is that the Constitution was written to empower The People - NOTthe President or any paramilitary/legal "state within a state," as some of our branches of government are now behaving. As the rules are now written, ICE can merge with Black Water against American citizens. In a "state of emergency" issued by the president, anything goes.
America's hypocrisy begins with the history lesson that Columbus "discovered America." When this was presented to me in first grade, I raised my hand and asked the teacher "how could he 'discover' America when there were already people there?" The teacher punished me for wanting a straight answer, as I insisted that if there were already people here, then he didn't discover it. Then it really gets ugly.
Over the next centuries Anglo men would rape, pillage, and destroy entire cultures and fellow human beings to gain resources and steal their land. Concentration camps were set up, and massacres ensued. We were the aliens, and this is not our "Homeland" - pilgrim. I'm sorry, but history matters.
Yet the lie continues today, and has expanded to the rest of the world "on our behalf." How can WE in Iraq label Iranian and Syrian patriots serving a call of duty with their neighbor "foreign fighters." Please! - The arrogance and hypocrisy is overwhelming!
Now we have ICE in San Juan County, through their journey from being formerly the INS, then absorbed by "Homeland Security"- wrapped in the tool of impunity (the flag), and out comes "legalized" domestic terrorism against our Hispanic community.
The only crime of the undocumented is that they are having as much difficulty dealing with the inept and dysfunctional U.S. immigration system, in the same way that many in Louisiana are to this day dealing with an inept and dysfunctional FEMA. These are good people, with strong family values. They work hard and are honest, and they came here for what your ancestors came for - the "American Dream." They are our brothers and sisters.
There is nothing "conservative" or "Republican" about these abductions from the ferry which amount to nothing less then extortion for bail money and to serve as a violent instrument of coercion (terrorism) within the families they attack. There is nothing "conservative" or "Republican" about an endless number of new agencies (at taxpayer expense) to acquire impunity and destroy the foundations of a nation for the sake of "saving it." There is nothing "conservative" or "Republican" about wasting billions of dollars around the world to make enemies faster than we can kill them (to the tune of 2 to 3 million dollars per year through IRS revenue in San Juan County alone).
It is beyond all logic to see "fiscal conservatives with moral values" cry fowl when money is spent on sustaining the wellbeing of fellow human beings, while at the same time, spending with wild abandon on incarceration, bombs, torture, and yet more bloated (and incompetent) government agencies! The hypocrisy! - Please!
Furthermore, it is immoral and an act of racism to use the ICE mission to catch bin Laden in his Kayak (towing his kidney machine behind him across the Rosario Straight) in order to gain a bonus or default bi-catch of our undocumented Hispanics in a domestic ferry run. THEY ARE NOT TERRORISTS!
Yes, they are breaking the law if they are here without full documentation, but if we want to solve that problem, we could greet them with information on how to gain their legal status through a competent agency if one exists - NOT take them to a detention facility and extort money from them or the community at large.
If we are a "country of laws" as it is stated by our commander-in-chief, and that there should be "no amnesty for those who break the law", then let us begin at the White House! "Anyone who uses violence to get his way is a terrorist" stated our commander in a speech only two days before "Shock and Awe." I say, never forget that the whole world sees.
Many folks simply throw up their hands and say they can do nothing about our constitutional crisis, and others simply believe that it simply can't degenerate here in America to the same state of being it has gone in other once great nations. Yet it is this very environment of complicity of a non-rebellious citizenry which "allows" the fall of great nations. It is high time to defeat the enemy within.
Orcas---------------------------------------Show Up To Protest ICE Actions
To the Editor:
I would like to exhort all islanders to show up at the County Council meeting on March 18 to explain to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials how they feel about the newest manifestation of the police state in our area aka the ICE checkpoint at the Anacortes ferry terminal.
The idea that people in this country have lost the right of free passage is outrageous. Travel from village (Friday Harbor) to town (Anacortes) via a state highway (the ferry) without being stopped and asked for your papers is a right. The fact that federal authorities seem to believe otherwise is very real indication of just how out of control the federal government is. Think about where you would expect this to happen ..... places like Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba, China, the banana republics with tin pot dictators. This should not be happening here. There is no border crossing or international travel involved. This is not only intra-country it is intra-state. If there were any reasonable justification for for this behavior (and there isn't) it would appropriately fall to the state police and not the federal authorities.
Can you imagine what this might do to our economy? Would you spend your touring dollars visiting a place where you were going to have to go through military style police checkpoints? If you were going to build your dream home would you do it in a place where you going to have to pass the same checkpoints? As a liveaboard boater who actively cruises I can tell you that the incessant US Coast Guard boarding of vessels in San Juan County is beginning to negatively affect our economy. Canadian boaters increasingly don't come here on vacation because they don't like the harassment. US based boaters increasingly get across the border and out of the grasp of the Coast Guard as quickly as possible. All of this adds up to revenue lost to local business.
Please show up and participate in your government.
San Juan Island
---------------------------------------A Few Facts On The Illegal Alien Issue
To the Editor:
It never ceases to amaze me that there are many who have the ability to ignore logic and fail to connect the dots. Perhaps it is one of those politically correct things.
• Our last set of San Juan County Commissioners (tax paid) passed a resolution encouraging county employees (tax paid) to refuse to assist or cooperate with federal officers (tax paid) enforcing the Patriot Act unless the employees were threatened with arrest.
• Our San Juan County Library (tax paid) and Skagit Valley College (tax paid) are in partnership to provide English as a Second Language classes to all comers regardless of their legal right to be in the United States.
• Our San Juan Island School District (tax paid) allowed to be hired an illegal alien with an outstanding federal warrant for his arrest.
• Our San Juan Island School District (tax paid) provides a free education to persons regardless of their legal right to be in the United States and in spite of the fact that it is illegal for illegal aliens to attend U. S. schools.
• There are many building contractors, landscapers, homeowners, farmers, etc., who hire illegal aliens on a regular basis and with no regard for their legal right or lack of right to be here.
• Many U. S. citizens and green card holders complain regularly of the inability to find a job because of competition from illegal aliens.
• A Journal reporter who said of eight persons picked up ”…including a family of four from San Juan Island…” in an article posted on March 7, 2008, probably misstated the facts, since the people, if illegal aliens, are actually from the country from which they illegally arrived.
• Over the course of the last 15+ years, the local population of illegal aliens in San Juan County has steadily increased.
• Local residents continue to provide housing without regard to a person’s legal right to be in the United States.
• An illegal alien living adjacent to the tennis courts at the high school was recently convicted and deported for selling illegal drugs in our community.
• It was an illegal alien who recently committed a “hit & run” against three local citizens injuring all three.
• How much money earned locally by illegal aliens is recirculated into the local economy and how much of that money is sent back to their native country in support of a foreign economy?
• What percentage, by number and amount, of food stamps, welfare checks, health care and other benefits are provided to illegal aliens versus those legally in the United States?
The same article mentioned above said “local elected officials are nearing a boiling point” (tax paid) because of U. S. Border Patrol (tax paid) checks on vehicles and people departing the Washington State ferry at Anacortes.
I suggest that those local officials (tax paid) should just put on their big girl panties and deal with their end of the problem by deciding which priorities they want to push. If they are in favor of supporting, tacitly or not, a greater influx of illegal aliens into our community then they should expect continued enforcement in various areas against those same illegal aliens. If they, and members of this community, decide that they would like to support local workers who are in the United States legally then perhaps there would not be so many illegal aliens here and the level of enforcement interest would ebb.
It was put forth by another local official that “…the question is whether there’s racial profiling going on…” Golly – What is a border patrolman to think if he asks a person, “Where were you born?” and the response is “What?” in a foreign language. Then the border patrolman asks the same question in the individuals native tongue and the response is the country of their real birthplace. When asked if he/she is a citizen of the United States & he/she says “No” is the U. S. Border Patrolman (tax paid) supposed to put on a dunce cap and wonder what he should do now since the people are arriving from San Juan County? I am unaware of any provision of federal law that provides special exemptions for San Juan County.
Yet another Councilman expressed a fear that border patrol checks would slow traffic, discourage tourism and create a climate of suspicion. Having lived and worked in border communities for much of my life, I know beyond doubt that those very issues do crop up when communities, for whatever reasons, support or condone the continued presence of illegal aliens and concomitant problems. Note that this letter would not have been written in response to an article that would not have been written without the continuing presence of illegal aliens in our community.
In spite of all of the above, our local officials and The Journal explicitly decry the actions of the border patrol. Perhaps they should step up and be a part of the solution by deriving stances and policies that address the underlying true problem instead of symptoms of that problem.
If you want the names and telephone numbers of some excellent workers who are here legally, let me know.
Dennis R. Hazelton
San Juan Island