Activists Defeat Anti-immigrant Initiative

Activists defeat anti-immigrant initiative
By Lonnie Lopez

Backers of a racist anti-immigrant state initiative failed to gather enough signatures to place the measure on the WA St November ballot.

I-946 would have required state and local government employees to verify the identity and immigration status of every applicant for public benefits and that ID cards issued without verification of immigration status (including driver’s licenses) would not be accepted to establish identity or eligibility. Failure to report immigration violations to federal officials would be a misdemeanor and, perhaps most frightening, private lawsuits to remedy violations would be authorized.

A grassroots coalition of including the WA St Nurses Association, WA St Hospitals Association, WA Association of Churches and the Children’s Alliance was organized to educate the public on the initiative’s overwhelmingly harmful impact. As the No on 946 campaign argued, the ballot measure sought to undermine health care for all Washingtonians by penalizing women and families with children, deputizing social services providers as immigration agents, and would add unnecessary costs to an already over-burdened health care system. Because drivers’ licenses would no longer be accepted as valid identification, anyone seeking medical treatment, even emergency care, would be required to present a birth certificate or passport before any treatment is given.

When word spread that bigots would attempt to gather signatures for the initiative at Seattle Mariners home games, immigrant rights advocates made sure they were there to counter their racist message. Fortunately, not a single petition collector showed up.

As Paola Maranan of the Children’s Alliance said, “Clearly Washington voters are far more concerned about making sure that all children get what they need than they are with trying to make sure that a handful of children don’t.”

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