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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 16, 2009 at 2:51 PM

Immigrant labor and E-verify

Hold employers accountable

In response to more Puget Sound-area employers checking if workers are legal, there is no excuse for not attempting to hold employers accountable and ensure that illegal aliens are not taking jobs away from American citizens. [“Illegal immigrants arrested at Bellingham engine plant,” Local News, Feb. 25.]

For those who contend that E-verify is discriminatory and error ridden, I think that a 99-percent accuracy rate bears out quite the opposite. Illegal-immigrant advocates often use the “jobs no American will do” and “low-wage jobs” argument, however, we all really know that the only reason there are such (fallacious) jobs is because our leaders have turned a blind eye to exploitation and have failed to carry out their duty to ensure the law is enforced and reasonable wages are paid. As a consumer, it has become the first question I ask of any contractor I consider hiring: Do you use E-verify?

Only those who profit from and exploit illegal labor have anything to worry about and, frankly, it’s shameful that our federal leaders failed to require its use as mandatory and permanent. Washington state has the opportunity to protect its people. Question is: Does it have the spine to do so?

— Carol Brister, Lake Stevens

Promote reform

The recent raid in a Bellingham factory happened without Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s knowledge [“Homeland boss demands review of work-site raid,” page one, Feb. 26]. I congratulate Napolitano’s review of the raid, but I also demand her proactive leadership to stop raids and promote reform.

I hope that she and the rest of our country will realize that these immigrants are parents with families. We need to respect the rights of detainees by allowing them to consult with attorneys and by using the minimum force necessary.

Raids hurt our businesses, our communities and all people. Conducting raids on brothers, fathers, mothers and sisters with heavily armed officers, black SUVs, ankle chains and helicopters are designed for maximum intimidation and humiliation: They do not make any of us safer.

If you do not wish for the same extreme enforcement that dominated the Bush Administration, then raise your voice for comprehensive immigration reform today. We cannot enforce our way out of an immigration mess: We need policy reform.

— Nicole Keenan, Seattle

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