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Find out why 2019 has already been a BUSY year for us!

Cuc Vu, Director, Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

Almost four months into the year, and we’ve weathered two phases of the “Seattle Squeeze,” responded to really quite bizarre immigrant policy statements from the Trump administration, helped launch a new website focused on Census 2020 issues, submitted three public comments against federal anti-immigrant proposals (more on that below), and so much more! Keep your seat belts on. I can say with certainty that there is more to come for 2019!


Funding Available to Orgs for Census 2020 Outreach

Seattle Census 2020 Logo: a checked box

The City of Seattle, King County, and Seattle Foundation have come together to launch the first-ever Regional Census Fund (RCF) to provide $1 million in funding to help community organizations prepare for the 2020 Census.
The application for the RCF is at the Seattle Foundation’s website here. All King County-based 501(c)3 organizations planning to conduct Census outreach are encouraged to apply by the May 15th deadline.

Also, check out this newly created Seattle Census 2020 information and resources page here.


High cost of Applying for Citizenship Shouldn’t be a Barrier to New Americans 

A citizenship clinic volunteer helping an attendee

As many of you might know, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) charges a filing fee of $725 to apply for citizenship. However, if you are income-qualified, you may be able to apply for citizenship for free or at a discounted rate of $405. To do so, you must apply for what is called a “fee waiver.” Last fall, USCIS submitted notice that they plan to make it harder for immigrants to apply and qualify for the fee waiver program. And we submitted a comment against this proposal. A comment period is currently open for you to tell them what you think about this proposal.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice has this online portal that makes it easy for you to comment in the next two weeks. The comment period closes on May 6, 2019.


When Immigrants are Under Attack…

Immigrant community members holding protest signs

What do we do? Stand up, fight back! Or at least for us, it’s file public comments to the federal government in protest. Our public comment against the fee waiver proposal was not our only dissent on the public record. To date, we have been involved in drafting a total of FIVE public comments against:

The public comment process can be confusing and highly technical. But the mayor and our office prioritize ensuring that our Welcoming City values are on the public record.


ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)

Mayor Jenny Durkan's headshot

Official comments are not the only way to speak on our values. Did you see Mayor Durkan’s op-ed in The Washington Post? It was Seattle’s response to Trump’s idea of releasing immigrant detainees in cities like Seattle as a form of…”punishment?” This was an idea so bizarre that even ICE thought it was inappropriate. Immigrants are people deserving of human dignity, not political pawns.

You can read the mayor’s op-ed here: “Seattle isn’t afraid of immigrants, Mr. Trump.”


Citizenship Clinic Attorney Volunteers Needed!

New Americans at a 2017 citizenship event

Our citizenship clinics are FREE community events where volunteer attorneys, interpreters, and others assist eligible green card holders with completing their N-400 naturalization application through an organized step-by-step process. We have a big need for volunteer immigration attorneys for our next clinic and for the rest of this year’s clinic schedule.

The next clinic will take place this Saturday, May 11 at 10:00 AM in the Chinatown/International District neighborhood (611 S Lane St, Seattle 98104). To reserve a timeslot, call (206) 957-8515. (Same day walk-ins welcome.) If you are an immigration attorney interested in volunteering, please start by registering here.

Please help us with outreach by downloading a flyer here.