Washington disclose such sensitive information, but this

Washington
State has explicitly voiced its support for the undocumented individuals
residing within its borders for years, as confirmed in the Seattle City Council’s
statement “…affirming
the City of Seattle as a Welcoming City that promotes policies and programs to
foster inclusion for all, and serves its residents regardless of their
immigration or refugee status…” (“Welcoming
Cities Resolution,” 2017).  This issue is undeniably a local
social problem because Washington State has not protected its undocumented
residents as promised; as unequivocal as the Seattle City Council statements
may be, Washington has not effectively and reliably taken measures to support this
vulnerable population.

            It was
discovered earlier this month that the Washington State DOL has been releasing
personal information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement up to 30 times each
month, and that this information had been used to detain and deport
undocumented immigrants (Shapiro, 2018). 
Undocumented immigrants trusted this government agency not to disclose
such sensitive information, but this lapse will now serve to make life more difficult
for these individuals in the coming months. Governor Jay Inslee spoke
out assure Washington residents that “ICE does NOT
use data from the DMV to identify immigration enforcement targets,” and expressed
his concern regarding the problems that he feared would arise from this incident,
voicing his concern that concern that undocumented
immigrants will now be reluctant to release any information to the DOL, and
instead drive unlicensed and unregulated (Shapiro, 2018).  It is crucial that Washington State find a
way to stand by its promises to undocumented immigrants, because without some
kind of reform, breaches of confidence such as this will continue to occur, much
to the detriment of our communities and our undocumented residents.

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            At the core of the discord regarding
this social problem is the fundamental disagreement over “the relative priority
of different values,” as understood by Wright. The debate surrounding this local social problem can be
refined to a single question:  Should we
prioritize examining cases of undocumented immigration through a lens of
empathy, or is it more important to consider the legality of the situation
above all else?  The current controversy
surrounding an undocumented immigrant residing in the Seattle metropolitan
area, Maru Mora-Villalpando, clearly exemplifies this disagreement.  Villalpando is a Mexican-born, activist for detained
immigrants who is now herself facing the possibility of deportation, having overstayed
her 1992 tourist visa. She has shared that she suspects ICE obtained her
address and information through the DOL, stating that “…I’ve never had any contact with police that could trigger attention
from ICE” (Johnson, 2018).  Mora-Villalpando’s situation typifies the ways
Washington State views those in similar situations:  she is an upstanding individual without a
criminal record, the mother of a college student, and a longtime resident of the
state.  However, she is simultaneously an
individual who committed a civil violation by overstaying her visa limit of her
own volition.

            It
must be acknowledged that there are significant economic implications of deporting
undocumented immigrants.  Within the
Seattle Metropolitan Area, there are approximately 150,000 undocumented
immigrants (Gonzalez & Burgess, 2018). 
In a 2010 study, it was found that these individuals paid more than $292
million in taxes local and Washington State governments (Faulk, 2013).  Money from the paychecks of undocumented
immigrants also supports social services they will never benefit from, such as
Social Security. 

            However undocumented immigrants are
framed, and from whatever perspective their situation is examined, Washington
State government officials must remember that these individuals are neither
political pawns nor inconvenient statistics, but rather human beings in search
of a better life, and in desperate need of the protection they have been
promised.