NOVEMBER 13, 2009
A major U.S. county that has long offered illegal immigrants sanctuary and taxpayer-financed services formalized its policy this week by passing a law that prohibits public agencies and employees from asking a person’s immigration status.
With a 5-4 vote, lawmakers in Washington’s King County approved the measure to officially make it an illegal immigrant sanctuary. The largely upscale Seattle-area county of about 2 million residents has long offered illegal aliens public services, including medical care at county-run clinics, and the sheriff’s department has a don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policy.
But lawmakers wanted bona fide legislation in the county books to prevent future administrations from violating the unwritten sanctuary policy. The councilman (Larry Gossett) who sponsored the sanctuary law said it’s intended to discourage racial profiling and “ratchet down the fear level” when illegal immigrants seek public health services or deal with law enforcement officers.
King County public clinics have offered illegal immigrants free medical care since 1992 and the county’s Public Health Director says “denying access to care because of citizenship status is not good medicine…” A councilwoman (Julia Patterson) who voted for the sanctuary law insists she does not condone illegal immigration but says she supported the measure because she’s in favor of “humane treatment and care” for the people in her community.
Hundreds of municipalities nationwide provide illegal immigrants with sanctuary and dozens have passed legislation to make it official. Among them are practically every city in California, New Haven Connecticut, Denver Colorado, Chicago Illinois, Cambridge Massachusetts, practically the entire state of New Jersey, Washington D.C. and all of Oregon, to name a few.
Judicial Watch has legally fought sanctuary policies nationwide, including Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, the District of Columbia and Phoenix. Click here to read about Judicial Watch’s numerous investigations and court actions involving illegal immigration.
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