Letter: Immigrant sanctuary, religious freedom means safety, prosperity

Mar 08, 2017

Regarding “Latest mosque news startling” (Feb. 1) and “Voters want safety, not sanctuary for criminals” (Feb. 22):

Yes, we want to make America safer. So, we consider options and use data to make decisions. We include our American values of inclusion and compassion.

We consider what a 'sanctuary' city is – essentially not targeting non-criminal illegal immigrants – and recommend that Mukilteo become a sanctuary city because it makes us more safe. Immigrants help the police with investigations of crimes if they don't fear their or their family's deportation. Immigrants commit less crime than American citizens. This is why many U.S. cities are making this choice.

And, we would make a pathway to citizenship so we're not separating families who have been trying for years to become citizens. Do we really want to deport a 22-year-old, who was brought here when she was 7, back to Argentina?

Immigrants contribute more than they receive, providing labor and intellectual input, plus payment of taxes. So our community grows with the contribution of immigrants. This has been true in America for centuries.

Secondly, we encourage faith-based communities in our city. We welcome a mosque being built, just like we would welcome another Christian church, Jewish synagogue, Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple.

Sharia law is not to be feared but understood, just as we would learn about Christian doctrine or Jewish law. A Muslim ban does not make us safer, because it plays into the ISIS propaganda that we're targeting Muslims.

Some of my ancestors escaped religious persecution in Europe because they weren't the “right type of Christian” to immigrate here. They worked hard, found acceptance and religious freedom here. We reject any attacks against religions and people who look different from us.

For perspective, the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics report notes that 48 percent of the hate crimes committed in 2015 were by whites. Anti-government and white supremacists have killed twice as many Americans as Muslim terrorist have in the past 15 years. We need to work to reduce all forms of hate speech and actions, from all its sources.

We make America safer – and more prosperous – by emphasizing our core values of religious freedom, empathy and diversity. There is always room for improvement. We want to continue the dialogue for understanding and growth. American beliefs and laws, fine-tuned throughout our history, continue to demonstrate to ourselves and the world community our character and standards.


Alison Timidaiski
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