Ballot measure would deny benefits to any unlawful immigrants
OLYMPIA—A group has filed an initiative to deny illegal immigrants public benefits, like free prenatal care for poor women or subsidized child care for seasonal workers.
Protect Washington Now, headed by Mercer Island resident Bob Baker, needs to collect nearly 225,000 valid voter signatures by July 7 for the measure to make the November ballot.
It would require state employees to verify the immigration status of anyone seeking benefits not mandated by federal law, such as emergency medical care, and to report suspected illegal immigrants to federal authorities.
The state has an estimated 136,000 illegal immigrants, though officials say they don't know how many use the handful of programs administered by the Department of Social and Health Services.