Northwest Immigrant Rights Project is deeply concerned about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and stand in solidarity with Afghan people everywhere. We are grateful for the local community partners who are working to support Afghan people who have recently had to flee their country and have been arriving in our state. For those of you who are interested in assisting with local efforts, Aneelah Afzali from MAPS-AMEN has created an email list for volunteer opportunities. You can sign up for updates at this link. And we also want to encourage you to support the Emergency Afghan Refugee Fund for Washington State. We also stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti. In addition to ongoing political upheaval, violence, and the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions in Haiti have only worsened in recent months with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and more recently, a massive 7.2 earthquake that has claimed over 2,200 lives. Even as Haiti faces these natural and political crises, deportation flights from the U.S. of Haitian nationals have continued. We recently joined over 300 organizations and advocates in urging the Biden Administration to immediately halt deportations and extend further protections to Haitian immigrants. The letter to the administration may be viewed here.
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition and the Welcome With Dignity campaign are hosting Days of Action from July 17-31 to create awareness and end Title 42 and expand asylum protections. The Biden Administration is expected to make a series of announcements on a Trump-era anti-asylum policy known as Title 42 which has been used to block asylum since March 2020, sending families back to dangerous situations and blocking their legal and moral right to seek asylum. #Faiths4Asylum has a Prayer Vigil Toolkit, an action letter to send to your Congressmembers, and a Welcome with Dignity Pledge you can sign.
On January 20, 2021, newly inaugurated President Biden announced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a broad immigration bill he sent to Congress immediately upon taking office. The bill would provide a path to citizenship for the undocumented population, a border management approach that includes a focus on addressing root causes of forced migration, a legal immigration reform platform, a series of humanitarian provisions, and additional rights for immigrant workers. On February 18, the bill was introduced in the House by Representative Linda Sanchez (D-California) and in the Senate by Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey). https://immigrationforum.org/article/u-s-citizenship-act-of-2021-bill-summary/Read more here.
AS JOE BIDEN took the oath of office last month, Guatemalan security forces at the Honduran border thwarted thousands of U.S.-bound migrants. While decadeslong American imperialism has facilitated displacement throughout the region, the U.S. is increasingly outsourcing its deadly immigration policy. This week on Intercepted: The Biden administration announced it will begin to process the 25,000 asylum-seekers stuck in squalid border town camps as part of Donald Trump’s so-called Migrant Protection Protocols, a program commonly referred to as “Remain in Mexico.” But immigration advocates fear Biden will not reverse the bipartisan trend of his predecessors to further militarize the southern border and expand the reaches of immigration enforcement — policies that have led to more migrant deaths and detention in recent decades. Despite Biden’s executive actions to reverse the Muslim ban, initiate migrant family reunification, and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, his administration has indicated that it will continue to support Mexican and Guatemalan armed enforcement of their borders on behalf of the U.S. Read more here.
“If they’re hearing complaints like, ‘Oh it’s cold in here,’ they’ll be like, ‘It could be worse,’ and turn on fans.”
Each year, untold numbers of migrants disappear in the borderlands after being pushed into dangerous and remote terrain by Border Patrol, the same agency that is then tasked with responding to migrants’ search and rescue emergencies. A new report released Wednesday found that the federal agency does not respond to 40% of these emergency calls. In a series of reports published over the course of five years, the southern Arizona organizations No More Deaths and La Coalición de Derechos Humanos have cataloged and reported the specific Border Patrol policies and tactics that have fueled a crisis of death and disappearance in the borderlands. The first report, released in 2016, detailed the 1994 Border Patrol policy “Prevention Through Deterrence” in which the United States militarized urban border areas in an effort to steer migrants away from ports of entry and into geographically harsher and more remote and hazardous regions, leading to their deaths. The second report, published in 2018, detailed Border Patrol’s practice of destroying life-saving humanitarian aid left by volunteers for migrants. Part three in the series published Wednesday—Left to Die: Border Patrol, Search and Rescue, and the Crisis of Disappearance—details how when 911 response systems receive calls from people crossing into the United States without authorization, they transfer those calls away from local emergency services and to Border Patrol, an agency that for decades has failed to provide life-saving assistance to undocumented immigrants who are lost and dying. Read more here.
The Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network is thrilled to share that the Fair Fight Bond Fund is open and accepting applications for people who are detained by immigration in the State of Washington and need support with paying bond.
To request assistance with paying a bond, a request form must be completed. This request form will be reviewed by the Fair Fight Bond Fund steering committee. The steering committee is made up of seven community members, including people who have been directly impacted and have experienced being in immigration detention. All requests for funds will be fully considered on a case-by-case basis and the steering committee will try to pay as many bonds as possible, so long as funds are available. The steering committee will aim to meet on a weekly basis to review applications and give responses as soon as possible.
The steering committee will aim to prioritize individuals who are facing especially difficult situations due to being detained. This includes applicants who are facing physical and/or mental health issues that are aggravated by being detained; applicants who are the primary caretakers to dependents who are facing immediate hardship due to the applicant’s detention; applicants who face serious economic hardship and have no or limited support, options, and resources to pay their bond; applicants who will face negative long-term effects on their immigration status due to being detained; applicants who are members of the LGBTQ community; and applicants who face marginalization based on their language, race, ethnicity, or religion.
Please find the English version of the application at this link: https://bit.ly/
Since Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) launched the WA COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund, over 55,000 people have applied and 16,000 applications have been approved! This is thanks to the tireless work of our community and our organizational partners doing vital outreach and application support. We have two weeks left to get as many applications as possible. That’s where you come in. Due to COVID-19, we haven’t been able to host in-person events to help our community members apply. But you can help by volunteering to be a Virtual Application Helper. The timing is completely flexible–just list the hours you’re available to help and wait for a community member to sign up. We also welcome any languages, so no need to only speak Spanish. Ready to volunteer? Join a required Application Assistance training:
- Nov. 30, 5:30-7:00
- Dec. 1, 6:00-8:00pm
- Dec. 2, 5:30-7:00pm
- Dec. 3, 6:00-8:00pm
COVID-19 financial relief —by and for immigrants.
The Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund provides a $1,000 one-time direct payment (up to $3,000 per household). Eligibility includes: WA resident; at least 18 years old; been significantly affected by the pandemic (such as losing work, being infected by the virus, or caring for a family member who was infected); ineligible to receive federal stimulus dollars or unemployment insurance money due to immigration status. Application and documentation required. For assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-844-724-3737 (Mon-Fri, 9AM-9PM).
We invite you to join us to for bi-weekly Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) General Meeting Covid19 HUB #ImmigrantHealthResponse calls for exciting news and updates! This is reminder that WAISN will be hosting its weekly COVID-19 Response HUB call September 24th and every Thursday from 3-5 PM over Zoom. Call information below:
- Are a Washington resident;
- Are at least 18 years of age;
- Have experienced hardship due to the pandemic; and
- Are ineligible to receive unemployment insurance compensation or federal stimulus dollars due to immigration status.
All leaders must frame their COVID-19 responses within existing obligations under international law. Whilst states may temporarily close their borders to limit transmission, any such measures should be non-discriminatory, necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all circumstances. It is understandable and proper that a leader’s first priority is to take care of the people they govern. But in a global crisis, attention must also be paid to those groups of marginalised people whose situations transcend national borders: refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Furthermore, public health measures put in place to protect citizens should not exclude those with irregular status, or be used to further isolate or punish them. Read more here.
From the moment the coronavirus began spreading in the United States, advocates and experts warned that ICE’s network of detention centers posed a serious problem — medical experts at the Department of Homeland Security called the facilities a “tinderbox” for the spread of the disease — and said they expected detainees to die absent changes in ICE detention policies and priorities. As one of the most visible arms of the Trump administration’s ultra-hardline immigration agenda, ICE has resisted those changes. Because people in ICE custody are held for civil rather than criminal violations, the agency could release them at any time. Though ICE has made limited releases in some areas, including the Otay Mesa Detention Center, it continues to hold more than 26,600 people, many in for-profit facilities with abysmal health and safety records. The agency has tested only a fraction of those in its custody — 2,394 people in total, as of Saturday. Among that population, more than half, 1,201 individuals, have tested positive for Covid-19. An additional 44 ICE employees at detention centers have also tested positive. Read more here.
It's Time Our Elected Officials #ActOnIt and Move Their Talk into Action to #FreeThemAllGo to https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2632349890425924 to watch and share La Resistencia’s latest video, featuring testimonies from family members with detained loved ones, Senator Rebecca Saldaña, essential workers, formerly detained community members, lawyers, Shutdown Coalition members and more. Everyone has a shared message: #FreeThemAll! Detention Centers have been and always will be a public health crisis. Both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tacoma City Council, state legislators and Gov. Inslee have all expressed concern over the neglect and mistreatment of people detained at NWDC. It’s time they #ActOnIt to #FreeThemAll from NWDC and take steps to #ShutDownNWDC during this global pandemic. This week, you can help us pressure our electeds to send a letter to the local ICE Field Office Director Nathalie Asher, urging her to free everyone from NWDC immediately. Emptying the cages is not just the right thing to do for public health, it’s a path to shutting the facility down!
3 Things You Can Do TODAYEmail and call elected officials. You can find scripts below in this email or a text-only version online at https://docs.google.com/document/d/13CHKUD7bI2WkiNsvLjW_1aLG3LXvUpogMBw7i68wMLo/edit After you've sent those emails & calls, make it public! Tweet at your elected officials, tagging them. And share our video, FB post and IG post on your social media! Share this CTA, take a picture of yourself with the text #ActOnIt #ShutDownNWDC #FreeThemAll and tag 5 friends to join you in action. Tag us @LaResistenciaNW
Today's Action Contact Info & TemplatesGovernor Inslee
Governor Jay Inslee, 360-902-4111
David Postman, Chief of Staff, email@example.com, 360-902-4112
Alejandro Sanchez, Special Assistant, Alejandro.Sanchez@gov.wa.gov, 360-902-4124
Molly Voris, Senior Policy Advisor, Public Health and Health Care, firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-902-0557Tacoma City Council, Mayor Woodards
Mayor Victoria Woodards, (253) 594-7848, Victoria.email@example.com
CM John Hines, (253) 591-5470, firstname.lastname@example.org
CM Robert Thoms, (253) 594-7848, email@example.com
Deputy Mayor Keith Blocker, (253) 591-5470, firstname.lastname@example.org
CM Catherine Ushka,(253) 594-7848, email@example.com
CM Lillian Hunter, (253) 594-7848, firstname.lastname@example.org
CM Conor McCarthy, (253) 594-7848, email@example.com
CM Kristina Walker, (253) 591-5470, firstname.lastname@example.org
CM Chris Beale, (253) 591-5470, email@example.com
Assistant to the City Manager Anita Gallagher, (253) 591-5133, firstname.lastname@example.orgState Legislators
House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, Laurie.Jinkins@leg.wa.gov
Legislative Assistant for Laurie Jinkins, Ann Dasch, Ann.Dasch@leg.wa.gov
Senator Jeannie Darneille, J.Darneille@leg.wa.gov
Legislative Assistant for Darneille, Lisa Fisch, email@example.com
Representative Jake Fey, Jake.Fey@leg.wa.gov
Legislative Assistant for Jake Fey, Anna Nepomuceno, Anna.Nepomuceno@leg.wa.gov
Draft Email Template for GovernorEmail addresses to send to: firstname.lastname@example.org Alejandro.Sanchez@gov.wa.gov email@example.com Dear Governor Inslee, I am a [WASHINGTON RESIDENT/HEALTHCARE WORKER/ETC] and I am [WRITING/CALLING] to ask that you write a follow up letter (view template letter here) to ICE Field Director Nathalie Asher, urging her to release everyone from NWDC and provide weekly updates on the number of people released. In your own words, “We do not accept preventable death in Washington.” Conditions in detention were already deplorable, but under the threat of a global pandemic it is imperative to release everyone in detention before it is too late. We know there are over 900 positive cases of COVID-19 in detention sites across the country, minimal testing and transparency from ICE, and at least one “recovered positive” inside NWDC right now. We also received news from people detained that ICE officers at NWDC are staging photos in a pod under quarantine (where one person is awaiting a test) to make it look like social distancing is possible. Please act on your written commitment to “protect the health of those detained at the Northwest Detention Center” and amplify the voices of your constituents in demanding mass release and transparency from ICE. Sincerely, [YOUR NAME] [ANY ORGANIZATIONS YOU REPRESENT]
Draft Email / Phone Call for Mayor and City Councilkristina.firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Victoria.email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Dear Tacoma City Council Members, Mayor Victoria Woodards, and Assistant to the City Manager Anita Gallagher, I am [WRITING/CALLING] to urge you to follow up on your April 24th letter to ICE with the following actions to protect the health and safety of the people inside the Northwest Detention Center:
- Pass a non-binding resolution calling for the immediate release of all people from NWDC
- Write a follow up letter (view template letter here) to ICE Field Director Nathalie Asher, urging her to release everyone from NWDC and provide weekly updates on the number of people released
Draft Email / Phone Call for State LegislatorsJ.Darneille@leg.wa.gov firstname.lastname@example.org Jake.Fey@leg.wa.gov Anna.Nepomuceno@leg.wa.gov Laurie.Jinkins@leg.wa.gov Ann.Dasch@leg.wa.gov Dear House Speaker Jinkins, Senator Darneille, and Representative Fey, I am a [WASHINGTON RESIDENT/HEALTHCARE WORKER/ETC] and I would like to thank you for contacting ICE in DC on May 5th with your concerns about the well being of people detained at NWDC. I am [WRITING/CALLING] today to remind you that the privately-run Northwest Detention Center continues to pose an urgent public health threat, and to ask that you write a follow up letter (view template letter here) to ICE Field Director Nathalie Asher, urging her to release everyone from NWDC and provide weekly updates on the number of people released. In the words of your colleague Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, “It is wrong and immoral to profit from the misfortune of others.” It’s time to act on those words. Conditions in detention were already deplorable, but under the threat of a global pandemic it is imperative to release everyone in detention. We know there are over 900 positive cases of COVID-19 in detention sites across the country — and at least one “recovered positive” inside NWDC. We also received news from people detained that ICE officers at NWDC are staging photos in a pod under quarantine (where one person is awaiting a test) to make it look like social distancing is possible. Please act now, before it is too late. Sincerely, [YOUR NAME] [ANY ORGANIZATIONS YOU REPRESENT]
Updates from InsideStay updated on conditions inside by listening to testimony from those detained at the NWDC here. Since late March people detained have staged at least 3 hunger strikes and one work stoppage. All calling for immediate release of all people detained who are “sitting ducks” for a contagion of COVID19. Detention conditions have worsened in the middle of the global pandemic; we've received reports of scabies, mistreatment from guards, denied medical care and access to COVID19 tests, transfers to other facilities, and ongoing deportations. People detained staged a SOS action at the yard last April 15th, sending us a distress signal in hopes we would listen and act. There are over 900 positive cases in detention centers across the country. ICE rate of testing is low because they have tested a small number of people out of the 28,000 plus people they continue detaining. This is why we support the call to #FreeThemAll and #ShutDownNWDC.
Download #FreeThemAll Coloring Book(https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5917516cb8a79b8c6e2bf67e/t/5ebc440fb499bb7eea6709bb/1589396528347/FreeThemAll_Final_Optimized.pdf) A group of 20 artists from across the US released a print-at-home coloring book to raise funds for undocumented communities impacted by COVID-19. In exchange for a free download, the artists are asking folks to make a donation to one of several funds listed on our website, which includes Resistencia! You can download the entire book (more than 50 pages!) or just individual artworks that speak to you. Share your creations with the hashtags #freethemallcoloringbook #freethemall #liberenatodos #liberenatodx.
In Iowa, Latinos account for more than 20 percent of coronavirus cases though they are only 6 percent of the population. Latinos in Washington State make up 13 percent of the population but 31 percent of cases. In Florida, they are just over a quarter of the population but account for two of every five virus cases where ethnicity is known.
Public health experts say Latinos may be more vulnerable to the virus as a result of the same factors that have put minorities at risk across the country. Many have low-paying service jobs that require them to work through the pandemic, interacting with the public. A large number also lack access to health care, which contributes to higher rates of diabetes and other conditions that can worsen infections.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a test of our common humanity. It has revealed our shared vulnerabilities, and only a coordinated response based on justice, solidarity and humanitarian principles can help us overcome it. Unfortunately the coronavirus crisis also is exposing problems of inequality between and within countries and the exclusion of vulnerable groups. How leaders respond to the plight of desperate, marginalized sectors of society will define their reputations and legacies. Read more here.
Last year, the Trump administration rolled out several policies that restricted access to asylum as well as employment-based and family-based immigration pathways. With a presidential election on the horizon, 2020 could bring even more restrictions as US President Donald Trump makes a final push to fulfill his agenda before voters head to the ballot box.
Here are 10 immigration issues we’re watching this year . . .