King Co. Exec. Dow Constantine and others speak out against anti-immigrant mailing in Burien
King County Executive Dow Constantine came to Burien Town Square on Oct. 30 to repudiate a mailing made by Respect Washington last week to thousands of Burien residents. Flanked by Joe McDermott, Councilmember Lorena González, Joe Fitzgibbon, Tina Orwall, OneAmerica, El Centro de la Raza, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Constantine said in part,"We are here to tell out of town groups to stay out of Burien, stay out of King County, you are the ones who are not welcome, here or anyplace in America."
The mailing listed names of immigrants the group claimed were here illegally and listed addresses and alleged crimes they committed. It was widely denounced by people across the political spectrum and though it named local conservative candidates, disavowed by some of them as well.
Constantine said the mailing was, "straight out of Trump's playbook, and I am furious. And you should be too. This is personal...These are Trump values not Burien values."
He want on to say that "discrimination and hate will be given no quarter in Martin Luther King County."
Burien City council member Nancy Tosta said, "Things have changed this past year. Forces from outside our community have made efforts to divide us. And within our community people who might have different views from me, but to whom I used to be able to speak, have now taken to attacking and turning their heads."
King County Councilmember Joe McDermott said, "This mailer is particularly hurtful, it's offensive. It's designed to instill fear and division in our community." He explained that the mailer does not represent Burien and cited the 25 percent immigrant population. He noted the new Resilience Fund which supports community organizations and provides grants of up to $20,000 to community-based nonprofits.
Terry Gibbard Cline and Hugo from Burien Represent spoke noting that hate groups had been targeting area grocery stores but that their efforts to halt the spread of misinformation and fear were successful.