Nina Shapiro reports for the Seattle Times:
“LONG BEACH, Pacific County — Named after a character in a cowboy book, Police Chief Flint Wright describes himself as pretty conservative.
A portrait of Ronald Reagan hangs in his office, along with photos of John Wayne, and his father and grandfather on horses — capturing the rural lifestyle of Pacific County, which curves around Willapa Bay in the state’s southwest corner.
He doesn’t talk about it much, but he voted for Donald Trump, helping Pacific County go with the Republican presidential candidate for the first time in decades. Among other things, he liked Trump’s promise to secure the borders. Economic migrants are not a problem in his mind — he’s seen how hard they work — but he wondered, “who’s coming with them?” Terrorists, he feared.
Then came the July arrest of Mario Rodriguez by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“I was kind of in shock, to be blunt with you,” Wright said.
Rodriguez, whose visa had expired, had lived in the area for more than a dozen years. He had worked in bilingual education and periodically tipped police to trouble spots.
“He was real pro-law enforcement,” the police chief said. “Shoot, anybody would like to have him as a neighbor.”
Trump, on the campaign, had talked about kicking out Mexican “drug dealers, criminals, rapists.” And that’s the kind of immigration crackdown a lot of people here were expecting.
“Yeah, we don’t want that element,” Wright said. But Rodriguez? The police chief couldn’t believe sending him back to Mexico would do anybody any good.
That kind of shock is reverberating throughout the county as Trump’s toughened immigration policy hits home. ICE has arrested at least 28 people in the county this year, according to numbers provided to the Sheriff’s Office.
While that’s just a small share of the roughly 3,100 ICE arrests overseen by its regional office in Seattle — which covers Washington, Oregon and Alaska — it represents a pronounced upward trajectory. Last year, ICE reported eight Pacific County arrests to the sheriff and for a long stretch of years before that, zero.
In a county of small, close-knit communities — Long Beach, population 1,400, is one of the largest — it’s noticed when someone goes missing. The number is magnified by those who have moved, gone into hiding or followed family after a deportation. People have lost neighbors, schools have lost students and businesses have lost employees.
. . . .
Shellfish farmers face many uncertainties, Sheldon explained.
The weather is a big one, periodically disrupting work on the water.
ICE is the new big storm, blowing in periodically to take essential workers.
Boats, working in the seafood industry, travel on Willapa Bay. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
“One minute they’re here. Another minute they’re not,” Sheldon said. “It’s not like there’s any warning.”
She and other employers say they get required paperwork for every worker — though documents might be fake — and don’t know who is illegally here.
“It’s been a huge impact,” said Kathleen Nisbet-Moncy, vice president of the Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association, of ICE’s arrests. Many of the area’s two dozen companies are small businesses. Losing key employees is a big deal. One, she said, lost a worker of 25 years.
And the industry already faced a labor shortage.
Workers need to have an understanding of tides; they carry tide tables like Bibles, arranging their days accordingly. Some operate boats. Others shuck oysters or process fish, not easy when done quickly.
Paid by volume, they sometimes work seven day weeks, or days that take in both early-morning and late-night tides cycles.
“Don’t you want people to work?” Sheldon asked. “Why don’t we say you can’t sell cigarettes to illegal immigrants?”
She was joking. But things didn’t make sense to her.
It was hurting her business. So many people have been arrested or moved that she can no longer fill empty positions. She has had scale back orders and turn away customers.
“Tell him I say hi”
In Long Beach Culbertson Park, as after-school football practice got started, 10-year-old Danner Walters broke into tears.
He was on the sidelines talking about his friend Joel. A week before, Joel left for Mexico with his mom and siblings to rejoin his dad, who had been deported months before.
“We’ve been best friends since kindergarten,” Danner said.
. . . .”
Read the complete, much lengthier, article, at the link.
Too bad folks don’t think through all of the implications before they pull the lever for immoral and irrational candidates like Trump and the GOP restrictionists. Truth is what the restrictionists don’t want you to hear or think about: the vast majority of the allegedly 11 million undocumented individuals here are law-abiding, productive members of the American community, doing jobs that help, rather than hurt, American workers, doing them exceptionally well, and raising or being part of part of “mixed families” with citizens, immigrants, and undocumented individuals all mixed together.
Removing them is a senseless and cruel waste of time and money. The only reasons for doing it have to do with racial and cultural bias — that’s why guys like Trump, Sessions, Bannon, and Miller have to come up with bogus economic and law enforcement rationales in an attempt to “rationalize” basically irrational policies.
Actually, the number of undocumented individuals in the United States is a boon to our country, our economy, and our culture. It shows that we remain a vibrant nation, and that we should have been admitting hundreds of thousands of additional legal immigrants annually. That’s why GOP proposals to restrict legal immigration are so wrong-headed.
Because we failed to do what we should have, the system basically “self corrected” largely by the operation of free market forces, but with some adverse effects like the use of smugglers, the exploitation of the undocumented, and the colossal amount of money wasted by “dumb” immigration enforcement and detention over many Administrations and Congresses.
But, it’s not too late to get it right by legalizing the productive, law-abiding individuals already here and expanding our legal immigration system to realistic levels that are more consistent with our needs as a nation. That will reduce or eliminate the “job magnet” and cut the business for smugglers without vast expenditures of law enforcement funds.