Kennewick City Council Member in Hot Water

August 15, 2016 11:17 am
by David Jakeman

The Tri-City area has not been immune to conflicts and disagreements over immigration the past few years. The Pasco shooting of an undocumented man made national headlines, leading to protests and disagreements in the community. A recent Facebook post by Bob Parks, a Kennewick city councilman, sparked controversy among the local community, and they made their feelings known in a recent city council meeting.

The Controversy

A large number of Kennewick immigration attorneys are now aware of Parks’ Facebook post that has sparked outrage among many in the immigrant community. The post was a meme featuring a picture of an embarrassed Bernie Sanders photoshopped next to the text that read, “I went to Yakima today/Now I know why Trump wants to build a wall.” If that had been all Parks had posted, he might have gotten away with it, but he added his own commentary with it, writing, “Wait until he sees Pasco.”

Given the current climate and increasing debates about immigration in light of the rise of Donald Trump, it was not the most politic move by a politician. The Tri-City area is home to a large number of immigrant families, and Pasco itself is 55 percent Latino. People of many different ethnic groups called for Parks’ resignation. Others invited him to actually be exposed to the Latino culture throughout the Tri-Cities, including visiting classrooms, taking part in a taco run to Mexican restaurants, and attending poetry readings.

City Council Meeting

Parks has ultimately tried to walk back his comments, saying that he had only posted the meme on Facebook because he was trying to be funny. One member of the audience called out, “You’re not funny, Bob.” Parks argues that he is not anti-Latino, but rather, anti-illegal immigration. He meant it entirely as a joke, he said. Obviously there were many people who did not agree with his explanation.

Many were upset with how Parks has handled himself, arguing that he represents all of Kennewick and should not be saying such things. Challenges in Yakima include the fact that no Latino has ever been elected to city council until last year after court intervention that said that the elections needed to be done by districts.

Parks has at this point refused to step down, despite the calls for his resignation. He has promised to serve out his term that ends in 2017, after which, he’ll reportedly “ride off into the sunset.” Kennewick immigration lawyers continue to keep a close eye on developments in the community. There continues to be challenges among community members over the divisive issue of immigration. Insensitive Facebook posts are not likely to help these matters, no matter how much those who post them insist that they are only joking.

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