Bill prevents landlords, employers discriminating against illegal immigrants

Feb 28, 2019, 5:21 PM
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The Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. (AP)

Washingtonians are protected from discrimination based on factors such as gender, race, religion and sexual orientation — and now, Democrats in Olympia want to add illegal immigrants to the list of protected groups.

Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that Senate Bill 5165 prohibits discrimination by employers “based on citizenship or immigration status.” This applies to every realm from employment to housing rental and even to insurance transactions.

In other words, if an employer had two equally-qualified candidates to choose from — one a citizen and one an illegal immigrant who had been deported several times — and the employer hired the citizen, this could be grounds for a lawsuit on the immigrant’s behalf.

“Under Washington state law, they would have the right to a cause of action against that employer if they were discriminated against because of their legal status,” Ericksen said. “Now federal law might come in and have something to say about that, but this is what Washington state law would say. ”

The bill passed on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

Ericksen welcomes political discourse, but said that the extent to how far to the Left the Democratic legislators have gone is extreme. Now, he said, moderate Democrats are actually in the minority.

“I don’t know how we’ve gotten quite to this point, but I have never seen a Legislature like the one we currently have, in term of the bills they’re moving and how far Left, socialist — there’s no other word for it, socialist — they have become,” he said.

Nationally, he said, people find the Green New Deal in Congress to be radical, but really, it just promotes the kind of ideas that have flourished in the Washington state Legislature for years.

The legislators in opposition to the bill protecting illegal immigrants aim to spread the word so that there will be push-back, similar to large outcry that caused the hairdresser bill to be abandoned last month.

“We just have to get the information out to the public, and we’re working hard to try to do that, and our members are trying to highlight it,” Ericksen said. “People just need to see what’s happening.”

Ericksen encourages anyone upset about SB 5165 to contact their legislator.

“Hopefully, once the public kind of understands the radical nature of these bills that are going through, there’ll be a bit more push-back … once people find out about it, hopefully they’ll rise up,” he said.

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

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Bill prevents landlords, employers discriminating against illegal immigrants