My wife and I are psychologists. Both of us have dedicated a large share of our life’s work to serving vulnerable populations worldwide, including immigrants and refugees. We probably work more than we should —we barely have time to make our own doctors’ appointments, much less take time to call our elected representatives to discuss policy issues. Nonetheless, a few weeks ago I carved out the time to call Rep. Dave Reichert’s office on behalf of both of us about the immigration ban recently announced by President Trump, and had a lengthy, but I felt thoughtful, conversation with one of Reichert’s staffers.
Shortly thereafter, the Stranger quoted Dave Reichert as complaining about the calls his office had received: “My staff took over 700 phone calls yesterday … we’re not able to help the people who need help. Those people that aren’t getting their social security check. Those veterans that aren’t getting their VA care — their disability or their retirement money — those are people we need to help … That’s our job, and we’re not able to do it because a certain segment of our society believes that their voice is more important … ”
When I read this, I was appalled. Mr. Reichert was ridiculing and dismissing our effort to communicate.
Quite frankly, immigrants are a major part of Mr. Reichert’s constituency. Immigrants, refugees and asylees make up increasing numbers of the 8th Congressional District.
In fact, the irony is that local government-sanctioned developers are profiting from immigrants moving into the plentiful new housing in our area. Yet, we see in the divisive and xenophobic social climate that the Republican leadership of this country has nurtured the appearance of hate crimes against immigrants, even within the 8th Congressional District. Somehow, Mr. Reichert feels as though immigrants are not in need of his help or his ear? Interestingly, the 8th Congressional District didn’t even support these Republican presidential policies. The district went Democratic in the presidential race. Perhaps this should be the way of the mid-term elections as well.