King County Immigrant and Refugee Commission an Important Step Toward Inclusion for All

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Last week, King County Executive Dow Constantine took an important step toward welcoming immigrants and refugees, endorsing recommendations to create a county-wide Immigrant and Refugee Commission that would add resources and investments to ensure that all those who come to King County seeking opportunity have a welcoming home.

The recommendations come from the King County Immigrant and Refugee Task Force, which was formed last year to develop a program for King County to create an immigrant and refugee commission that works to achieve fair and equitable access to county services for immigrant and refugee communities. The task force was comprised of 13 leaders in the immigrant and refugee community. With more than 400,000 foreign-born residents in the King County region, and with hateful rhetoric targeting immigrants and refugees on the rise, the creation of the commission stands as an affirmation of King County’s commitment to its immigrant and refugee population.

The task force’s report, released last month, outlined several ways that King County can improve the immigrant and refugee community’s ability to access vital services, most notably the creation of a commission that would serve as a county-wide hub connecting organizations and critical players serving the refugee and immigrant population.

“It was a privilege to serve on the King County Task Force to establish a commission on immigrants and refugees with so many fabulous and committed colleagues,” said OneAmerica Executive Director Rich Stolz. “The task force met with hundreds of community members, examining critical unmet needs while also affirming how immigrants and refugees make tremendous contributions to our communities. The outcome is a strong set of innovative recommendations on the structure and purpose of the commission, including promising approaches for engaging philanthropy, municipal government and businesses in identifying, implementing and amplifying best practices in the civic, cultural and economic integration of King County’s fast growing immigrant and refugee communities. The report also urges the County to lay the groundwork for the creation of an Office of New Americans in future years.”

Stay tuned as we follow the development of this excellent resource for immigrants and refugees and continue to stand with all who call King County home.

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