SEATTLE – Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), Chair of the Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans Committee, issued the following statement after the President expressed his support for the federal RAISE Act immigration legislation which would, according to the New York Times, “cut legal immigration to the United States in half within a decade by sharply curtailing the ability of American citizens and legal residents to bring family members into the country”:
“Through this proposed law, President Trump and the Congressional Republicans continue to vilify the immigrant community rather than confront the reality of our broken immigration system and the need to meaningfully reform those laws.
“This bill, if passed, will be damaging for Seattle and Washington State. Seattle is a port city and Washington State is the 3rd largest food and agricultural exporter in the United States, and so-called ‘unskilled immigrant labor’ is what keeps a multi-billion dollar industry that creates thousands of jobs and adds $219M in tax revenuein our state going. People who build our streets, homes, businesses and take care of our children and grandparents are the foundation of our construction, hospitality, manufacturing, and home health care industries. If we limit our country’s immigration only to coders and developers, we will all feel the impact.
“The President’s proposal would be bad for business – both small and large, as 18% of our state’s entrepreneurs are immigrants and entrepreneur visas have already been targeted by this administration. Nordstrom, Costco, Boeing, and Weyerhaeuser are all companies that were founded by either an immigrant or their children. When you cap the potential of immigrants, you cap the potential of future Americans.
“Under this proposal, my mother and father would not have qualified to come to this country. My parents were farm workers and spoke no English but believed in the strong promise of America and the dream of living freely and prospering here. My parents worked hard to raise children who would someday lead and champion our American values. I wouldn’t be where I am today were it not for them and the longstanding American tradition of welcoming immigrants from all socio-economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds.
“The President needs to acknowledge that our economy needs immigrants of all skills and all education levels to succeed. If the President wants to actually solve our immigration challenges, he’d do well to focus on fixing the broken system that prevents immigrant professionals already living here, including those who speak English and have attained international college degrees, from re-entering their professions. One-off bills drafted for political purposes is not the same thing as comprehensive immigration reform.
“I urge our Washington State Congressional delegation to vote ‘no’ on this disastrous bill if it comes before them for a vote. Otherwise the people of our state, including Seattle, will suffer the consequences.”