This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
A sobering number from the Pew Research Center: Over the last three years, the number of illegal immigrants in Washington has jumped by 35 percent.
During the same period, the number of illegal immigrants was falling in the rest of the United States, as many of them lost jobs and headed home.
The Pew numbers – based on analysis of U.S. Census data – corroborate an abundance of evidence that Washington has become an oasis of sorts for people without legal residency.
No real surprise there. The state government is unusually hospitable to illegal immigrants – sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for no reason beyond politics.
A good reason: The simple decency of providing health insurance and adequate nutrition to undocumented children – who had no say in a parent’s decision to sneak into the country.
Not so good: The state’s apparently politically driven reluctance to cooperate with a federal push to intercept illegal-immigrant criminal suspects at the point of arrest.
Backed by Congress, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is asking states for fingerprint metrics of arrestees so it can identify those who overstayed visas or otherwise ran afoul of federal immigration law.
State officials could pass on the metrics with no effort or expense. They won’t.
Also not so good is the state’s insistence on issuing standard driver’s licenses to applicants regardless of legal status.
Forty-seven states do not license illegal immigrants, period. One – Utah – issues licenses that are not valid for identification. Only Washington and New Mexico refuse to make any distinction whatsoever between legal and illegal.
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