A better immigration policy for the United States starts with locking down the country’s borders, deporting illegal residents and punishing the employers who hire them, organizers of a Yakima rally said Tuesday night.
About two dozen people who attended the rally also heard from members of the 21st Century Paul Revere Ride, a group of motorcycle riders traveling across the country to voice their concerns about illegal residents, and from Republican congressional candidate Claude Oliver of Kennewick, who wants to unseat veteran GOP Rep. Doc. Hastings of Pasco.
Ruth Drollinger of Yakima organized the rally to boost local signatures for Initiative 946, which would restrict state and local governments from providing social services to undocumented residents unless the federal government mandates it.
Opponents of the change say that reform is needed, but believe I-946 could create public health problems and harm children.
Drollinger said she formed Grassroots on Fire, affiliated with the I-946 campaign, to raise awareness about the broader impact of illegal immigration. About 80 people belong to the group, Drollinger said.
She said many of the Valley’s problems—including access to social services—can be tied to illegal immigration.
“The cost is exceeding the benefit of having them here to work in the agricultural area,” she said in an interview.
Members of the rally audience signed bricks that they planned to mail to members of Congress to show support for immigration reform.
Oliver, a Yakima native who has spent 25 years as a Benton County treasurer or commissioner, said he hasn’t studied I-946 to develop an opinion yet on the measure. But he said Hastings and other members of Congress have failed to administer their immigration responsibilities, including investigations of border security and illegal entry.
“What has taken so long for you to address our broken border security and immigration laws? We can only survive as a nation if we are a nation under law—the law of the United States,” he said in prepared remarks.