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Washington Says State Problems Take Precedent Over Immigration

Hailey Shanks |
August 2, 2013 | 10:10 a.m. PDT

Guest Contributor

Dave Reichert (Creative Commons/ Neon Tommy)
Dave Reichert (Creative Commons/ Neon Tommy)
Geri Thurber is ready to see the 11 million undocumented workers in America become legal citizens. “I think being in my field of work makes me sensitive to people’s needs, and living in a country illegally, is not going to get you what you need,” says Thurber, a Licensed Practical Nurse. 

Thurber is from Levittown, New York, but has lived in Washington’s 8th Congressional District since she was 17 years old. She works at Providence Marianwood, a nursing home in Issaquah, Washington. 

The immigration debate in Washington’s 8th district takes a back seat to other issues such as improving transportation, reducing drug use, and increasing financial sustainability. 

Thurber feels strongly about the benefits of immigration, “Not only does immigration bring diversity to our country, but it also gives people the opportunity to improve their lives. I think if people are willing to work hard and want a better life, they should be able to do so.” 

As a proponent of immigration, Thurber does not believe in sealing the nation’s borders. “ I don’t see the worth in spending our nation’s money on a fence, when we need to be working on the debt we already have.” Thurber discussed how Marianwood is affected by immigration. “I see many people in our nursing home every day, but all of them are legal citizens, with insurance and money. If immigration reform was passed, I might begin to see new faces in our beds.”

Fred Butler, Issaquah City Council President, as well as one of two candidates in the race for Issaquah mayor this fall, agrees that immigration reform is not the most important issue facing the community of Issaquah, Washington.

 “I think one of the most pressing issues is the rising use of hard drugs, especially heroine among young people. It’s frustrating in a way, while it’s not just an Issaquah City Council issue; it’s a community issue. It’s going to take everyone working together… to have a conversation around that… To educate and to deal with it as an entire community.” 

The Issaquah Reporter reported the rising abuse of hard drugs in Issaquah, with 7 to 10 percent of all cardiac arrest calls being drug related.

Butler also has concerns about the financial situation facing many Issaquah residents.  “Another issue is what I call financial sustainability. That’s making sure that we don’t just live from ear to ear budgets. That we take a longer look at our financial means.” 

Butler also spoke about immigration, a topic he feels is difficult to address, because there is no simple solution, “As far as immigration is concerned, that one is a little tougher for me. We have a lot of people in the state of Washington and even Issaquah who are illegal residents who are working and undercutting the economy and businesses. I believe there should be a pathway for people who have been here who have been doing the jobs that no one else would do.” 

Republican Congressmen Dave Reichert is serving his fifth term as the Representative of Washington’s 8th Congressional District. This past year, congressional redistricting caused the 8th district to lose a majority of its urban, democratic area. It took on a more rural, conservative area spanning into Eastern Washington.

Reichert takes a conservative approach to immigration reform. In a press release regarding the proposal of the DREAM Act he said, “What we need today is to find a way to educate and retain bright and talented students who apply themselves, work hard and wish to contribute as productive members of our society… However, numerous valid concerns have been raised about the provisions of this proposal, including the age limits, enforcement mechanisms, and potential economic impact of the bill. Based on these concerns… I cannot support this bill.”

Reichert addresses immigration, a pressing issue for the eastern region of the district because of its strong agricultural industry, in a press release. Reichert says the country needs to balance controlling the border, while allowing workers to come back and forth easily.” If (immigrants) don’t (have the ability to work), people lose their family businesses,” Reichert said. “They lose their farms, crops don’t get picked, they sit on the trees, they sit on the vines.”

Fact Box

Total Population: 810, 754

White alone: 74.6 %

Black or African American alone: 3.0%

American Indian and Alaska Native alone: 0.9%

Asian alone: 13.5%

Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander alone: 0.5%

Hispanic or Latino: 7.1%  


Median income: $63, 854


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