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The WAGOP Plan to Restore Rational Immigration Policy

USA flags fly in the wind protected by a border protection fence

As the federal government struggles to reform immigration policy at the national level, the state of Washington faces immigration controversies of its own. The current governor’s Office of Financial Management (OFM) recently reported that the state had paid at least $340 million meant for COVID economic relief to illegal immigrants living in Washington.

Much of that money was paid out in the form of $1,000 checks to illegal immigrants who were not allowed to receive federal money directly—because they are here illegally.

Still, the Washington Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA), part of the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), sidestepped the federal ban on sending money directly to illegal immigrants—without any repercussions.

While Jay Inslee, Bob Ferguson, & company were sending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to illegal immigrants, the Biden Administration was trying to stop Texas from defending its part of the U.S./Mexico border.

So, it should be no surprise that, with our national sovereignty at stake and fentanyl pouring across our southern border, illegal immigration has now surpassed inflation as the top concern for U.S. voters—ahead of the general election in November 2024.

The Washington State Republican Party (WAGOP) believes it’s time to take action against the Biden Administration’s failed open border policies and WA Democrats’ disastrous waste of taxpayer money. WAGOP believes that the current tension between the federal government and the state government in Texas is an urgent issue for all Americans—including all Washingtonians. And a call to action.

The WAGOP stands with Texas at this critical moment. Texas is acting in the best interest of its residents and all U.S. residents by enforcing this country’s immigration law when the current White House administration will not.

“The Biden Administration’s disastrous open-border policy is allowing fentanyl to destroy Washington’s neighborhoods, straining Washington’s public-benefit and service systems and exposing everyone in Washington to personal safety risks,” says WAGOP Chairman Jim Walsh. “This recklessness and lawlessness cannot go on. Texas is making that case eloquently—through bold action. And that is a lesson for everyone.”

With immigration on everyone’s mind, WAGOP Chairman Jim Walsh has unveiled the Republican’s plan on immigration.

The WAGOP principles on immigration include:  

  • Repudiate and reverse the empty virtue signaling of so-called “sanctuary state” and “sanctuary city” policies.
  • Repair damage to public safety caused by 2019’s State Senate Bill 5497 (for details on the problems this law has caused, see the WA Attorney General’s information page.
  • Narrow the scope and mission of the WA Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) to cooperating with federal agencies to repatriate undocumented immigrants.
  • Extract Washington state agencies from immigrant resettlement programs administered by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
  • Support common-sense reforms like the Equal Representation Act that requires the U.S. Census Bureau to include a citizenship question on any future census, to better delineate the U.S. population between citizens and non-citizens for apportionment purposes. It would also prohibit non-citizens from being counted for the purposes of congressional district and Electoral College apportionment.
  • Defend efforts to protect national sovereignty and the rule of law, generally—including restoring WA law-enforcement agencies’ ability to chase criminals and criminal suspects.
  • Support enforcement of current U.S. immigration laws, including the use of immigrations detainers and other law-enforcement tools.
  • Promote legal immigration through merit-based processes—and ending so-called “chain migration” and related justifications for ignoring immigration law.
  • Encourage the legal and regulated use of temporary and/or seasonal immigrant labor through federal programs like the federal H2A/agricultural worker visa program and re-starting the once-popular “bracero” (guest worker) program that worked effectively in the U.S. for several decades.
  • Acknowledge the financial drain—including the $340 MILLION given away to illegal immigrants in Washington during the COVID outbreaks and cost of fentanyl and related drugs sweeping through WA neighborhoods—as well as national security consequences of uncontrolled mass illegal immigration.
  • Prosecute, to the full extent of the law, organized criminal activities of street gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha (a/k/a MS13), which are known to recruit actively members from among illegal immigrants to the U.S.
  • In general, encourage the reversal of the Biden Administration’s disastrous open-border immigration policies.

Since Joe Biden entered the White House in 2020, some ten million illegal immigrants have crossed our unsecured borders, including 317 individuals on the Terror Watch List, according to the D.C.-based FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform).

Here at home, Democrat Governor Jay Inslee continues to flout immigration law. He started the current folly in 2019 (during his embarrassing, failed presidential campaign), designating WA a “sanctuary state.” That set in motion the current controversies and put Washingtonians in harm’s way for fentanyl and gang violence.

By contrast, in a short span of time, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has done more to protect Washington families from the surge—and scourge—of fentanyl and gang-related crimes than Gov. Inslee has done in more than a decade in office.

To be clear: The crisis at our southern border is not about legal immigration. The WAGOP recognizes the significant economic and cultural contributions that legal immigrants have made and continue to make to our nation, with illegal immigration disrespecting, discrediting, and denigrating the arduous and painstaking process of legal immigration. Illegal immigration also undermines the sovereignty of the United States and the rule of law and reduces the safety of American citizens.

Currently, highly organized and highly technical criminal operations have unfettered access to our cities and elsewhere via the open southern border.

Nowhere is safe anymore. In places like New York City, we see egregious policies that prioritize illegal immigrants, instead of American citizens. Public school children in the borough of Brooklyn are compelled to learn remotely to make room for thousands of migrants. Similar scenes are playing out at airports and police stations in “sanctuary cities” across the country, including Boston and Chicago.

Just south of Seattle, a sanctuary city, in Tukwila, at Riverton Park United Methodist Church, clashes are breaking out between newly arrived migrants from Angola and Venezuela and the homeless. Washington state, with its burgeoning homelessness crisis, should abdicate its ideologically driven sanctuary policies. How much more can taxpayers bear?

“So-called ‘sanctuary cities’ refuse to enforce the laws on the books while releasing violent criminals in our country illegally—including rapists and murders—who go on to prey on both American citizens and the immigrant community,” says Texas Senator Ted Cruz. “Moreover, many of these sanctuary jurisdictions actively prevent state and local law enforcement from coordinating with their federal counterparts.”

Closer to home in Washington state, WAGOP Chairman Jim Walsh emphasizes that immigration is primarily a federal issue.

“The policy can and must come out of D.C.,” says Chairman Walsh. “But, as the latest news out of Texas shows, states have a key role to play. The concept of ‘federalism’ has long held that in the U.S. states function as laboratories of public policy. They can implement and improve federal laws and policies. They can also undermine and erode laws and policies. In the context of immigration, Washington state has undermined federal law for too long. We need to return Washington to the position of implementing and improving. With better, more competent leadership, we can do that.

“Washington, like the rest of the United States, was built by immigrants. Washington has benefitted from the passion and innovation of lawful immigrants. We celebrate their contributions. And we need to encourage the advantages of legal immigration while we discourage the bankrupting costs of illegal immigration.

“Washington can do better in terms of implementing lawful, practical and just immigration policy. We must do better. We must defend national sovereignty and civil society.”