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King County Leaders Denounce Flyer Targeting Undocumented Immigrants In Burien

Paula Wissel
Burien City Councilwoman Nancy Tosta speaks out, along with other leaders, against flyers mapping names and addresses of alleged undocumented criminals.

Community leaders in King County are reacting angrily to what they say is a dangerous and divisive flyer targeting undocumented immigrants.

As Crosscut first reported, the mailer sent to Burien residents by the group Respect Washington purports to list the addresses and names of local people who are in the country illegally and have committed crimes.

At a news conference in Burien’s Town Square, King county Executive Dow Constantine said the concerns were twofold.

In addition to being worried about wrong or outdated addresses or inaccurate conviction information, he also said the flyer promotes hate and encourages vigilantes.

“This letter demonizes local immigrants. It is nothing but fear mongering straight out of Trump’s playbook,” Constantine said.

In referencing the 2016 presidential election and Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric, Constantine pointed out the Burien area voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton.

Constantine acknowledges there is nothing illegal about putting out a flyer like this and that the information could be obtained from public records. But he and others who gathered to speak out against it say they will reach out to community groups to make sure people targeted feel safe.

Earlier this year, Respect Washington tried and failed to overturn a Burien ordinance that prevents city employees from asking someone seeking services about their immigration status.

The flyer also endorsed city council candidates who opposed the sanctuary city-style designation.  All the candidates listed have disavowed any connection to the mailer and said they don’t agree with the tactics.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.