BURIEN, Wash. -- An organization that took aim at Burien’s sanctuary city status is now taking heat for distributing flyers with the names and addresses of alleged undocumented immigrants in town. Some were listed as criminals or gang members.
Ask the people living in Burien about the sanctuary city debate, “It’s very heated,” said Stacy Wikle whose lived in south Seattle for about 15 years.
Wikle says the flyers sent out by Respect Washington organization adds to the fiery rhetoric around immigrants in the community.
“I personally find it distasteful and not compassionate,” said Wikle.
Respect Washington says the flyers were sent to people who signed the petition to put Proposition 1 on the November ballot to overturn Burien’s sanctuary city status.
“This was a communication to the good people in Burien that deserve to know what happened on Prop 1 and why it was stricken on the ballot. It’s also an effort to educate them to the crime that’s around them constantly, a lot of it, to do with the unlawfully present individuals in their community,” said Craig Keller, co-founder of Respect Washington.
The flyers were mailed out this past week to about 3,600 people in Burien. Some of the people listed in the flyers are alleged in the flyers to have a criminal past but even if true, residents of Burien still find the flyers disturbing.
“We in this country don’t publish a list of people who committed a crime and send it out so people can go find them. That is not the way it was supposed to be,” said Meggan Davies, who lives in Burien.
The flyers came with a letter and a map with addresses of alleged illegal immigrants.
“This sort of rhetoric does nothing to solve crimes and keep people safe, in fact it does just the opposite,” said King County Sheriff John Urquhart.
Urquhart, who is up for re-election, says there is nothing illegal about the flyers, but if the people listed at the addresses mentioned in the mailers become targets or are harassed, law enforcement will step in.
“If they’re harassed, if there’s some criminal act that goes on, we want to know about it. We will absolutely take it serious and make arrests if appropriate,” said Urquhart.
He says the flyers angered him and puts innocent people at risk for vigilante action striking fear in the community.
“Absolutely not. He’s irresponsible in even suggesting this vigilante action as he said it, was anywhere part of our objective. No. The citizens need to know what dangers are in their community,” said Keller.
The citizens in this community, asking that a heated topic be handled with a little compassion.
“The lack of humanity and compassion in Burien is sad,” said Wikle.