State Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, is demanding action from Gov. Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine following recent violence against Washington residents that he attributes to their endorsement of “sanctuary” policies.
Fortunato detailed his concerns in letters to Inslee and Constantine after a recent meeting with local Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. The 31st District lawmaker said he listened to how – as he claimed – ICE’s ability to remove violent offenders is obstructed by policies giving sanctuary to people who are in the country illegally.
To support his argument, Fortunato noted the deaths of two rural Washington sheriff’s deputies during the time span of this year’s legislative session at the hands of people who were in the country illegally.
Despite the deaths, Fortunato contends, Inslee went ahead and signed a state law to make Washington one of a handful of sanctuary states.
“I had an opportunity to go straight to the source and figure out how we fix the serious problems caused by these dangerous sanctuary policies,” said Fortunato, a gubernatorial candidate for the 2020 race. “The legislation was billed as a way to protect immigrants, but what it is really doing is shielding violent criminals who are victimizing law-abiding residents.
“When the governor signed the anti-enforcement law, he said he ‘wouldn’t be complicit in these … depraved efforts to break up hard-working immigrant and refugee families.’ Instead, he’s just complicit in protecting violent criminals.”
Fortunato’s letter to Constantine took aim at the county executive’s order to change contracting rules at King County International Airport, commonly known as Boeing Field, in ways that would end ICE flights transporting criminal detainees.
“For King County to block these flights through what amounts to the coercion of private businesses at its airport is wholly unacceptable,” Fortunato added.
“Forcing those flights to leave from Yakima instead means traversing mountain passes, which puts both officers and detainees at greater risk.
“These sanctuary policies have to change. Political pandering should not come ahead of protecting the public.”