To the Secretary of the State Kim Wyman: I am writing you today to urge you to reconsider your current efforts to implement the Real ID Act in Washington state. The hype has suggested that our elections have been corrupted by the votes of undocumented immigrants. The reality is that most undocumented Washingtonians are not voting with these licenses, they are driving to work.
We need to craft policy in Washington State that acknowledges the past and present and addresses the future.
Well into Washington’s past, even before the Bracero program during WWII, our agricultural economy has relied heavily on immigrant labor to keep producing food and profits. Many workers have come here from other parts of the world seeking greener fields, and many have made lives for themselves here, with families, jobs, and, yes, cars.
The bulk of agricultural jobs, the grunt labor, the jobs that don’t even qualify for overtime pay, are done by undocumented workers, and they get to these jobs by driving. Without these workers, and without their cars, the whole agricultural sector would collapse.
Hard-working immigrants that work in Washington’s fields need to be able to drive to and from work, and by having a license they are able to. If we take away their licenses and reduce their mobility this year, we might find next year’s agricultural harvest in Washington having trouble making it to market as a result.