Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order Thursday, affirming that Washington state workers shall not help carry out president Donald Trump's quote "mean spirited," immigration policies.
Inslee’s new order doesn't change any existing laws but rather reaffirms the state's commitment to tolerance and state law enforcement workers’ roles to provide services for residents, while not acting as immigration officers.
"Their role is to fulfill missions of providing services to Washington not enforcing immigration statues," Governor Jay Inslee said.
Inslee signed an executive order to ensure that all state agencies carry out duties and responsibilities prescribed to them in state and federal law.
Inslee saying state law enforcement already has enough to worry about, should be focusing on protecting and serving the community, rather than reporting undocumented immigrants to Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE).
"Look our police officers are already stretched, we just can't have them become deputized or ordered by the federal government," Inslee added.
Whereas some members of the community disagree with Inslee.
"I think law enforcement officers should participate in anything that the federal government asks them to do especially if they discover an illegal that is committing a crime or has committed a crime they should report them," Tri-Cities local Colin Holl said.
Holl says Inslee shouldn’t be able to make that decision and that law enforcement should uphold any law regardless.
Inslee saying in his press conference, if law enforcement starts reporting citizens to immigration, it will instill a fear into the community as well as tamper with police investigations.
"If there are five witnesses at a scene we want them all willing to talk to our investigatory police officers not run away from them or cross their arms and say I'm not talking to you because I'm afraid that you are going to take me in and report me to ICE," Inslee said.
The order says that the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and state agencies with arrest powers cannot detain people who are in the United States illegally but have not broken other laws.
Inslee said that the order does not interfere with federal law and that if there is a federal criminal arrest warrant, "we will honor it," Inslee concluded.
Unless someone is convicted, Washington state does not share legal status with federal government agencies.
Governor Inslee says his order is meant to clarify the laws already in place and will not require any additional rule making.
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