Rep. Drew MacEwen: Crime victims must feel free to ask for help
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SUGGESTED LEAD: Lawmakers in Olympia have overwhelmingly passed a bill that many believe will bring victims of crime out of the shadows. Ruth Johnson reports from Olympia.
Johnson: The bill was written specifically in support of victims who often avoid asking for help, those whose immigration status may not be secure. Representative Drew MacEwen of Union told fellow House members that many people never come forward.
MacEwen: “They need to be able to work with law enforcement without fear of legal issues arising because of their immigration status when they are the victim of crime, such as human trafficking, sex crimes. They need to have that safe harbor provision.”
Johnson: And that safe harbor provision may well be House Bill 2895. It builds on federal statutes that allows law enforcement officials to certify applications for temporary visas for non-immigrants who are victims of crime. Says MacEwen: “Forcing victims to hide only adds to victimization. “It is vitally important,” he says, “that we give them a voice and help them seek justice.”
The bill now goes to the Senate.
Ruth Johnson, Olympia.
###Washington State House Republican Communications
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