Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) released the following statement in response to a press conference held today by Nathalie Asher, director of Seattle’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office. During her remarks, Asher specifically referenced Senate Bill 5497, the Keep Washington Working Act, which was sponsored by Wellman in the Legislature and enacted earlier this year.

“Our nation and our state could not have been built without the hands of hard-working immigrants who came from around the world seeking better lives for themselves and their families. Despite renewed pressure from our federal government, we refuse to turn our backs on our friends and neighbors who have made Washington their home.

Our economy and the very structure of our society depend on the new ideas, vital services and the determination to succeed that immigrants bring in to our communities. They are our doctors, our home healthcare workers, our tech geniuses, our farm workers, our own parents and grandparents, and the families who live next door. We cannot, in good faith, stand back and watch them be vilified and separated from their children.

The Keep Washington Working Act ensures that our tax dollars pay for Washington services and Washington values, and I stand by it. We’re creating a positive business environment in which all people can succeed.”

Wellman worked closely with state agencies and law enforcement while crafting the Keep Washington Working Act. It is supported by Gov. Jay Inslee and by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, whose letter of support can be found here.