Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order on Thursday morning that will see Washington State remain a welcoming jurisdiction despite White House promises of immigration crackdown.
The executive order states that the state resources will not be used to support the federal immigration efforts except where required by the law. Speaking during a press briefing where he introduced the new order, Inslee said that Washington has always been a place that welcomes and embraces people of all faiths, all nationalities and all orientations, adding that the executive order makes it clear that Washington will not be a willing participant in promoting or carrying out mean-spirited policies that break up families and compromise the national security and community safety.
The executive order also sets out a variety of ways that the state government will pursue a sort of live and let live policy in regards to immigrants that are both documented or otherwise.
The order precisely states that state agencies won’t pursue people in violation of federal civil immigration laws or strike any deals to act on behalf of the federal government to enforce immigration policies.
Gov. Inslee’s order comes after the two Department of Homeland Security memos that significantly lower the threshold for undocumented immigrants to be prioritized for deportation. The new memos indicate that undocumented immigrants even suspected of a crime could be deported.
Inslee’s general counsel, Nick Brown reiterated the Supreme Court’s ruling that simply being in the US without documentation is not a criminal offense but a civil infraction. In his statement, being undocumented is not a crime.
Gov. Inslee also said that the order will only affect state agencies and hence city and county law enforcement won’t be impacted. He also emphasized that the order should not be read to imply that the state will break the federal law. Inslee said that under the executive order, they are not trying to obviate the federal law and that if there is a federal criminal arrest warrant, they’ll honor it.
The executive order also asks the state agencies not to collect information unless it is necessary to provide services and to offer services to all residents regardless of immigration status. The state agencies may not participate in creating or maintaining any sort of religious registration system under the new order.
President Trump signed an executive order that threatens to pull federal funding from state and local governments that don’t play along on federal funding from state and local governments that don’t play along on federal immigration policies. However, Inslee said that he’s not worried about those threats at this point.