The mayor should have led better


Your editorial chides Mayor Tim Callison for some of his actions regarding whether or not Langley should be a sanctuary (or inclusive) city. To state the obvious, the issue has become heated.

But flaring tempers aside, I wish that the mayor had done a better job of listening and leading on the issue. I kept looking for him to show that he understood why it is such an important issue to so many people in the community (including those who live outside the city boundary, although he made it clear those views were not welcome.) It’s my experience that one of the first steps in conflict management is to demonstrate that you’ve actually heard concerns in order to gain understanding and ultimately reach a workable solution. And I didn’t see the mayor do this.

This past week Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order “Reaffirming Washington’s Commitment to Tolerance, Diversity and Inclusiveness.” The order simply but strongly states the many economic, military service and cultural contributions of immigrants. It notes that immigrants comprise 17 percent of our state’s population, contributing $2.4 billion in local and state taxes (2014.)

The order states that, to the full extent allowed under federal law, state agencies will not deny services on the basis of citizenship or legal status and will not collect information beyond what is necessary to perform agency duties.

No “oath of office” concern by the governor because the order does not conflict with the law: the U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States in 2012 upheld that state and local law enforcement agencies are generally prohibited from arresting people solely for violation of civil immigration laws. Further, Inslee explicitly stated that the state will continue to honor federal arrest warrants.

So, our governor listened and acted. As have the leaders of the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, Yakima and others – each adopting a different approach that responds to very real concerns about growing racism and hate crimes as well as the needs of law enforcement. Perhaps there is still an opportunity for the mayor and council to come up with a similar solution that works for Langley.