Initiative Aims to Weed Out Illegal AliensPosted: Updated:
TOPPENISH--Immigration is just one issue the incoming Obama Administration must deal with. It's an especially important one here in the Yakima Valley.
Wendell Hannigan's initiative would make people show documentation of citizenship in order to be eligible for a driver's license or other public services, or to register to vote.
Similar movements have failed in recent years, but Hannigan said filing a new initiative was a no brainer.
"I just look at the large unemployment we have in the state and the state's budget deficits," Hannigan said. "It just seems to make sense."
He said he wants the government to enforce established laws.
"All these laws are already on the books. People try to go out of their way to avoid complying with the laws."
Hannigan thinks a crackdown on illegal aliens could bring a decrease in crime, especially when it comes to the drug trade.
He's not the only one.
"668,000 illegal immigrants in our prisons throughout the country," Joe Ray of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps said. "[Illegal aliens cost us] billions of dollars per year. We've got to stop it."
The Minutemen Civil Defense Corps has filed initiatives cracking down in immigration before with little success.
This year, they're going back to their roots.
"We have plans of restarting our border operations along our northern border," Ray said.
Hannigan said the government owes it to the people.
"It's really placing an unfair burden on the citizens of the state when federal government fails to make an honest effort to resolve the immigrant situation."
These initiatives are typically popular in the yakima valley, but it's harder to gather statewide support.
The initiative will need more than 240,000 signatures by July 3 to get on the November ballot. Ray said past proposals have failed because of a lack of support from the west side of the state.