Washington Legislature erodes border security protections

2019 legislation aimed at preventing enforcement of immigration laws/ giving illegal aliens the same rights and benefits as citizens and legal residents. Status as of March 11.

What’s going on with illegal immigration? The Washington Legislature is eroding distinctions between those who are in the country legally and those who choose to violate the law. We need an immigration system that works for America and does not encourage illegal aliens to come to this state.

Washington already is among 12 states that grant drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens – approved by the Legislature in 1993, reinforced by REAL ID act legislation in 2017. Gov. Inslee in 2018 ordered the Department of Licensing not to share information with federal immigration agents, and a new agency rule no longer requires drivers to list their place of birth.

Washington relaxed citizenship requirements for voter registration in 2018, allowing non-citizen 16 and 17-year-olds to “pre-register” without facing felony penalties.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order in 2017 forbidding state-agency cooperation with federal immigration authorities, except where required by law.

Bills that are advancing

  • Prohibiting local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration authoritiesSB 5497/ HB 1815 – prevents sharing of info, blocks jailhouse interviews by federal agents. Passed Senate.
  • Creating a new “protected class” under state law for illegal aliens SB 5165 – expands Washington anti-discrimination law; affects employment decisions, lending and rentals. Passed Senate.
  • Creating a family planning program for illegal aliensSB 5602 – Directs the Department of Health to create a program identical to offerings for citizens, resident aliens. Passed Senate.
  • Expanding College Bound Scholarship program — HB 1311 – Allows students to enroll in 9th and 10th grade, uses definition of “resident student” that encompasses illegal status. Passed House.
  • Expanding College Promise Scholarship program — SB 5393/HB 1340 – Makes program an entitlement for all eligible students, uses definition of “resident student” that encompasses illegal status. Passed Senate.
  • Expanding eligibility for “family sentencing alternative” programs that allow convicted felons to stay out of prison to care for their children — SB 5291 — would include illegal aliens and others who are subject to deportation. Passed Senate.

Bills pending action

  • Forbidding schools from releasing information to immigration authoritiesSB 5834/ HB 1779 – Requires a court order before information is released. Neither bill passed before committee cutoff.
  • Restricting employer work scheduling – SB 5717/ HB 1491 – Prohibits “discrimination” based on “perceived immigration status or work authorization.” Neither bill passed before committee cutoff.
  • Speeding commutations and pardons for illegal aliensSB 5917 – Expedites process for those subject to deportation, establishes that pardons and civil rights restoration can be granted regardless of immigration status. Did not pass before committee cutoff.
  • Extending health care services to illegal aliens SB 5814/ HB 1697 – Extends state medical coverage to all low-income children regardless of immigration status. Neither bill passed before committee cutoff, but has fiscal impact.
  • Expanding Washington College Promise Scholarship program – HB 1123 – Uses definition of “resident student” that encompasses illegal status. Did not pass before committee cutoff, but has fiscal impact.