Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order Thursday restricting the power of state agencies to enforce federal immigration laws. The order essentially turns all of Washington into a sanctuary state.
Though this executive order is a step in the right direction for human rights, it will likely cause some friction between the state and Trump.
The order’s language focuses on inclusivity and diversity in Washington. The order acknowledges that Washington “embraces diversity with compassion and tolerance and recognizes the value of immigrants.” Whether Trump likes it or not, Washington will stand by these principles.
Specifically, the order mandates that no small government organization can use funding or resources to inquire into the legal status of an immigrant for the sole purpose of seeing if they’re here legally. Additionally, no government organization can create or maintain a list of all members of any specific religion in Washington.
Realistically, this means Washington won’t be actively seeking out illegal immigrants or documenting Muslim citizens in the state.
The Editorial Board admires Inslee standing his ground. In a news conference, he said “Washington will not be a willing participant in promoting or carrying out mean-spirited policies that break up families and compromise our national security and, importantly, our community safety.”
This statement is a verbal slap in the face to the Trump administration’s attitude toward both undocumented immigrants and Muslims. Between the executive order banning Muslim-majority nations and the promise of a wall between the United States and Mexico, it’s safe to say the Trump administration is a bit unfriendly toward these groups.
The largest unanswered question in the wake of this executive order is whether the federal government will do anything to make Washington comply. The Editorial Board thinks the Trump administration’s recent response to marijuana is a bad sign.
Though marijuana is federally illegal, states such as Colorado and Oregon have been allowed to sell it without much federal crackdown. The White House hinted last week, however, that it might step up federal enforcement of marijuana laws.
If we see increased enforcement of marijuana laws, it will indicate a trend toward taking away states’ autonomy in favor of federal authority. We doubt that a sanctuary state will be allowed to exist under this administration. In much the same way that the new administration wants to see federal authority override states on issues such as marijuana legalization, it seems likely the same will occur with sanctuary cities.
The Editorial Board wants to see the end of unfair immigration policies and detests the idea of a religious registry.
Inslee’s executive order is a bold, humanitarian statement.
It reinforces the inclusivity and diversity of Washington and it stands up to a federal government trying to gain more control.