Letter to the editor: February 23-March 1

The Editor:

We are facilitators of two of Whatcom County’s activist groups and are writing because we are concerned about the current anti-immigrant climate created by the president and the Republican party. We also ask the community to stand up to the injustices currently taking place. There are strong moral and economic imperatives for doing so.

President Trump’s original executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, plus his current plan to deport millions of immigrants, has created fear and panic in our immigrant community. The GOP’s support makes matters worse. More, the increase in hate crimes across our country has the ominous ring of America flipping from an attitude of openness and inclusivity to that of fear and hate. This is not who we are, and we should not let this attitude take hold in
Whatcom County.

Immigrants are assets, not liabilities. They contribute more economically than they will ever receive: they pay taxes, contribute to the economy, and – unless they have a social security card – they do not receive government benefits from their work. According to data presented at the recent Community to Community Development- sponsored town hall meeting, in 2012 our county’s immigrant farm workers contributed over $24.8 million to our local economy via their labor alone. According to the Journal of Health Affairs (2013), in 2002 and 2009, immigrants in the U.S. contributed $115 billion more than they received from Medicare.

This is our ask: Speak out against hate towards immigrants across the nation. Contact Whatcom County Council and urge them to follow other cities, counties, and states in making Whatcom County a sanctuary County. Contact Governor Inslee and urge him to follow Oregon’s lead and make Washington a sanctuary state. These acts will better protect our immigrants from the wave of hate and exclusion sweeping across the country. They are our friends and neighbors, valued members of our community.

Betsy Gross and Beth Insera
Bellingham

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