Archive for month: April, 2014

April 15, 2014
15 Apr 2014

Seattle Times Editorial: Benjamin Nuñez-Marquez’ deportation highlights need for immigration reform

http://seattletimes.com/html/editorials/2023376125_immigrationreformbenjaminnunezmarquezedit15xml.html

BENJAMIN Nuñez-Marquez’s deportation, scheduled for April 29, underscores the urgent need for Congress to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

An operator at a sawmill on Orcas Island immigrated to the U.S. illegally, but he has proved himself an irreplaceable worker and trusted neighbor. Hundreds of local residents and at least four Democratic members of Washington’s congressional delegation have organized efforts to help him stay.

As The Seattle Times’ Lornet Turnbull reported last week, Nuñez was driving a sick neighbor to the hospital in 2008 when the U.S. Border Patrol performed a random check and detained him.

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April 10, 2014
10 Apr 2014

Orcas Island tries to protect skilled immigrant facing deportation

Robert Gibbs was quoted on the following Seattle Times article.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2023341545_undocumentedorcasxml.html

By Lornet Turnbull

Seattle Times

People on Orcas Island are uniting around the sole operator of a small family-run sawmill there, saying his scheduled deportation to Mexico this month could force that business closed and harm the region’s economy.

Owners of West Sound Lumber, where Benjamin Nuñez-Marquez has milled native timber for 15 years, have told immigration authorities that in two years of trying they’ve been unable to find anyone to replace him.

Jack Helsell, 90, who designed and built the operation four decades ago, said those with the knowledge and skill to run the mill’s antique circular saw are well into their 70s now and can’t be expected to work that hard.

And his family, Helsell said, can’t afford to upgrade.

“I didn’t realize how rare he was,” Helsell said of his sawyer. “What we found from all the advertising is that nobody could or wanted to do that job.”

The San Juan Builders Association has written the federal government on Nuñez’s behalf, as has the San Juan County Economic Development Council, which said his deportation, “would adversely affect the economy here as well as the livelihood of many Orcas Island business owners and residents.”

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