Thanks to the Supreme Court's decision on Monday, nearly 800,000 DACA recipients will retain—and be able to renew—their legal status for the next several months, or at least until lower federal courts decide on the constitutionality of Trump's order to rescind the program back in September of 2017.
Congress still needs a permanent solution to DACA and serious immigration reform to address the futures of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country who are still at risk of deportation, including a couple million "Dreamers" who were brought to the U.S. as children.
It would be nice to know where Dino Rossi, the sole Republican running for Congress in Washington's 8th district, now stands on this issue. But he did not respond to my questions about immigration. He remains silent, as he has on a number of other issues. The Stranger has, however, dug up an old video of Rossi answering questions about immigration (among other things) at a press scrum during his 2010 run for Senate. (The Seattle Times wrote a follow-up article about the issue, but Rossi, "citing a busy schedule," didn't comment for that piece, either.)
In the video, Rossi sounds like Trump on immigration. The relevant stuff begins at minute 3:20:
During the interview, the Stranger asks if Rossi supports Arizona's SB 1070, which essentially legalized racial profiling. In his response, Rossi dodged the question and called for a fence along the border: “My point is we need to actually have a physical barrier. Before we start doing other things we need to have a physical barrier. A tall fence with a high gate—and that is really one of the keys. We have to allow legal immigration into this state—it’s what’s made America great is legal immigration.”
Of course, at the time, the U.S. had already built much of the 580 miles of fencing it currently has along the 2,000-mile border we share with Mexico. So he was calling for something that already existed.
The Stranger then asks a follow up: “Should there be a path to citizenship for people who are here?"
In his reply, Rossi doubles down on his beloved physical barrier and tosses in a Trumpian anecdote many of us are familiar with today: “Not amnesty, number one," he says. "But number two, the first thing we need to do is a physical barrier. We had a woman who was raped, a person who was killed by an illegal immigrant who had been deported on numerous occasions. We don’t have a physical barrier!” He then compares the U.S. and its immigration policy to a leaking boat that needs to be stopped up. When a reporter (it's Eli) pushed for more details about whether the rape Rossi cited occurred in Washington, he says “there was a rape that was in the newspaper."
It bears repeating, if only on the off chance that one of these statistics finds its way into Rossi's hands: United States citizens are more likely to commit crimes than immigrants. Undocumented/documented immigrants are also less likely to seek help from law enforcement when they have been victimized, a problem that has surely worsened since ICE started upping its pre-dawn raid game and targeting activists for retaliation. This is a big issue especially for women farmworkers, who experience sexual assault in the workplace at insanely high numbers: "In a recent study, 80 percent of women farmworkers surveyed said they experienced some form of sexual violence on the job (compared to 25-50 percent of all women in the workforce)."
The agricultural industry is huge in Washington's 8th district, and immigrants dominate the agricultural industry. The American Immigration Council estimates that undocumented workers make up 5 percent of the state's workforce (raising $316.6 million in state and local taxes, by the way), and a study from Pew finds that about half of Washington's farmworkers don't have papers. Since the number of migrant workers coming in from our southern border has been declining for the last few years, apples and cherries are rotting on the branch, and growers are calling for more efficient hiring processes and for better immigration policy that gives undocumented workers some kind of legal status.
So not only does Rossi's stance on immigration have no legitimate evidentiary basis, it's also completely out of touch with the stated needs of growers and farmworkers.
On top of all this, in the video Rossi comes off like a plastic politician who will either give you the GOP talking point on any given issue (and add a little faux-yokel anecdote while he's at it), or else refuse to give you a straight answer to a direct question.
During the interview, for example, when asked about his stance on abortion, Rossi says: “I’m very clear. If every soul has a value, if I’m going to make a judgement I’m gong to make a judgement on the side of protecting life. I always have protected life, and I will.”
That is not actually "very clear." So last week I e-mailed Rossi to ask if he supports a woman's right to have an abortion. He has yet to respond.