OneAmerica's 2013 Legislative Agenda
Last November’s elections demonstrated the power of the Latino and immigrant vote across the country and here in Washington State. These voters sent a clear message to legislators about the need for both Democrats and Republicans to work together to support policies that strengthen Washington’s growing immigrant communities.
Politics as usual won't work. Washington's demographics are changing and the centers of power are shifting. It's time for immigrant and refugee communities to lift their collective voices and demand opportunity and justice for all.
In the 2013 Legislative Session, OneAmerica is working with key allies to push for a holistic approach that supports education, citizenship, and civic participation and fosters a lifetime of active and engaged communities.
OneAmerica's ambitious 2013 Legislative Agenda (pdf) aims to strengthen our democracy by passing the Washington Voting Rights Act to make government more accountable to we the people. We believe that providing opportunity to all students is an investment in Washington’s future. This is why we're working along the entire education continuum to strengthen education for English Language Learners and backing the Washington State DREAM Act to ensure that all students wishing to pursue higher education have access to financial aid. In budget negotiations, we'll be promoting citizenship by advocating for the Washington New Americans (WNA) Program in order to help aspiring citizens achieve the American dream.
There are many ways for you to get involved this session:
- You can join us in Olympia on February 6 for Immigrants Day at the Capitol and meet face-to-face with legislators.
- If you want to support legislation at key moments during the session, join our Action Alerts list.
- Want to share your story which highlights the need for one of the bills below? Contact Charlie McAteer.
- If you'd like to volunteer at one of our upcoming events, contact Maha Jahshan.
There's a ton of bills being discussed and activity going on during session. To be strategic and successful, we are putting our energy behind a handful of key policies and budget items that will directly benefit immigrant communities.
Here are some highlights of our 2013 Legislative Agenda:
Making Government Accountable to We the People
Pass the Washington Voting Rights Act (HB1413 / SB 5473). The WVRA will ensure all communities have a fair chance to elect candidates of their choice in local elections. For government to be accountable, all voices need to be heard. But some election systems prevent all neighborhoods from being represented in local government. The WVRA empowers local governments to fix this widespread problem. Read the factsheet (pdf).
Providing Opportunity to All Students Is an Investment in Washington’s Future
Pass the Washington State DREAM Act (HB1817 / SB5655). Education is the cornerstone of our democracy. In Washington State, we have long valued education, fairness, and diversity. The Washington State DREAM Act would build on these values by extending state-based financial aid to our state’s young aspiring citizens, capitalizing on their potential while strengthening our state’s economy. Read the factsheet (pdf).
Supporting English Language Learners
Ensuring the success of English language learner (ELLs) students will help the legislature meet its paramount duty of fully funding basic education under the McCleary decision. As it stands, Washington’s opportunity gap is widening and includes many ELL students who struggle to meet state standards even as they’re ready to transition out of ELL programs. Strengthening these programs – and increased accountability around how funds are utilized and programs are run – will provide an opportunity for all these students to succeed. Read the factsheet (pdf).
Supporting the Washington New Americans (WNA) Program. Washington has approximately 170,000 legal permanent residents eligible for citizenship, who have not yet naturalized because of numerous barriers, such as prohibitive costs, access to legal and other services, or lack of information. The Washington New Americans program ensures that naturalization services are available to all eligible legal permanent residents and provides them the opportunity to become U.S. citizens – active and engaged in our community and able to fully contribute to Washington’s cultural vibrancy and economic health. Read the factsheet (pdf).
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