This is an open letter to the the City of Bremerton, Washington, concerning their council’s consideration of a “welcoming city” resolution as a so called symbolic gesture of inclusive respect for all people.
Honorable Mayor Patty Lent, Councilwomen and Councilmen,
The welcoming city resolution as proposed to the Bremerton City Council is a thinly veiled adaptation of sanctuary city resolutions. The resolution is unnecessary, divisive, creates risk, has no tangible benefit, is distracting to the business of the city with a host of unknown outcomes, and likely benefits no other single group but the petitioner and its clientele. It is a misguided construction of political platitudes by those who support open borders and are opposed to the enforcement of existing federal immigration law. The KPTP rejects both welcoming and sanctuary city initiatives as contrary to the rule of law and equality under the law.
Recommendation: The Bremerton City Council should 1) reject the proposed welcoming city resolution, and 2) honor their oaths of office to uphold the municipal code of Bremerton, and support the Washington State and United States Constitutions.
First and foremost, Kitsap County and the City of Bremerton are already welcoming jurisdictions. There are no unwelcoming laws and there are adequate provisions in city, state and federal law to protect all classes of people from unlawful discrimination. Indeed, we are a country where all people are considered equal under the law. There is no need to distinguish otherwise. The region in and around Bremerton is awash with a constantly changing diversity driven by the U.S. Navy, the shipyard, and the generations of families who developed the area since the 1800’s. We have a strong and respectful integration with first nations. To suggest Bremerton is not welcoming is disingenuous and perhaps a lie. The resolution is unnecessary.
The proposed welcoming resolution is not only unnecessary, it is divisive. By proposing the idea that “all people” requires further definition by “including immigrants,” makes the inference that we are not a people equal under the law and that some people deserve special dispensation to evade the law. The resolution creates a protected, unlawful, class of people and encourages acceptance of unlawful behaviors. This idea is contrary to your oaths of office and to our fundamental principles of equality under the law; that no person is above the law.
The proposed resolution creates risk without true benefit. The risks of adopting a welcoming, sanctuary, status are numerous beginning with the loss of integrity and ethical credibility in relation to your oaths, the subsequently divisive political distractions, and votes. The city risks the regional threat to direct federal funding, the loss of military investment, jobs, relocation of contracts, or certainly the costs associated with defending itself in court. There are no projections to anticipate the adverse impact of unexpected population growth attracted to sanctuary regions, including the increased demand on social services, education, law enforcement, fire services, or medical care, nor the mitigating factors that would lead to an increase in taxes. What is the benefit, if any, to adopting an allegedly “symbolic” resolution other than to pander to a far left ideology zealously opposed to the enforcement of existing immigration law, undermine secure national borders, facilitate the drug trade, and establish lawful citizens as acceptable losses to ideological gain. The resolution has nothing of value to truly offer.
There is one speculative benefit to the resolution that lies under the radar and that is the potential direct benefit to the resolution’s petitioner, the Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center. A 501(c)3 organization, KIAC could benefit in status and financial growth as a result of any influx of immigrant population seeking protected status. According to the KIAC 2016 annual report posted online, 42.8% of their $107k budget is funded through grants, up from 22% of $71,910 in 2015. The KIAC is a growth industry. An influx of population seeking protected status, perhaps from Seattle seeking to avoid higher costs and density, would likely drive an increase of services resulting in increased opportunities for grant funding and donations.
As a secondary concern, as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization, KIAC seems to be acting as a lobbyist for legislation. Before any resolution is adopted, consideration should be given to whether or not KIAC is acting substantively as a political action group (PAC), and whether or not its “campaign” contributions should be properly filed with the State for transparency.
To be very clear about any presumed motivations of KIAC, the KPTP fully respects the legal rights and legal activities of the KIAC as a valuable community service organization. The KPTP; however, does not agree that a welcoming-sanctuary resolution is of reasonable benefit relative to the risks, and openly undermines law.
Please honor your oaths.
This written testimony should not be considered a full analysis of the welcoming resolution debate but does articulate primary objections to the inherently flawed proposition. The KPTP holds in reserve any additional analysis that may become relevant in future discussions as more information becomes available.
Johnny Walker, President
Kitsap Patriots Tea Party