2021 Legislative Wins for Immigrant Communities in Washington State

After the last four years of anti-immigrant attacks, voters and people like us became a rising tide that lifted new, pro-immigrant elected leaders to office at the state level. In building our power, our sister organization, OneAmerica Votes, focused on endorsing and electing a diverse slate of candidates who have shown their commitment to expanding immigrant and refugee rights, legislating for an equitable state budget that fully funds prek-12 education and gives immigrant families the resources they need to thrive in WA state, and a slate of candidates who believe that our democracy needs big reforms to ensure that people like us are represented up and down ballot.

Through these key endorsements and building relationships with our electeds, we were able to move our power to win BIG this state legislative session and had the most successful session in OneAmerica’s history.

At the state level, our work focused on pandemic relief for all, shoring up our early learning and childcare systems that have been underfunded and harmed during the pandemic, and creating a just immigration system right here at home.

Because we stood up and fought for it, we’re celebrating:

PASSING NEW LAWS

  • Fairstart for Kids
    • The largest investment in child care and early learning in the state’s history, Fairstart will strengthen and expand access to culturally appropriate, multi-lingual, high quality child care and early learning opportunities.
  • Working Families Tax Credit
    • Years after the bill was passed, we were finally able to fulfill its promise and fund a tax rebate for working families at $268 million, ensuring it’s available to ALL regardless of immigration status.
  • Ban on Private Prisons
    • Because no one should profit off of mass incarceration, our coalition, led by La Resistencia, banned private prisons. This will lead to shutting down the Northwest Immigrant Detention Center, a site of countless abuses inflicted on our communities.
  • Capital Gains
    • To fund critical programs, we taxed those who can afford it and started to fix our regressive state tax system by taxing capital gains from the wealthy.

DEEP INVESTMENTS IN OUR COMMUNITIES

OneAmerica Leader, Ilene, testifies on January 26th in support of Language Access supports in schools!
  • $340 million in direct relief for undocumented workers, who, despite paying taxes, have been excluded from any pandemic support like unemployment and the federal stimulus. This brings total relief funds to $440 million, making Washington state a leader in pandemic relief for all along with states like Oregon, California and New York.
  • $2 million for the Washington New Americans program to ensure immigrants have access to free citizenship services in WA.
  • $1.85 million to continue our dual and heritage language programs.
  • $15.75 million for language access supports and rate enhancements in early learning and child care programs in WA state that were hit hard by the pandemic and more needed than ever to support immigrant childcare providers
  • $400 million for Childcare Stabilization Grants and $5 million for Equity Grants to keep childcare affordable both for providers and families
  • $310,000 for language access supports for school districts

There is so much to celebrate! But even with these amazing wins, our fight isn’t over. At the state level, in 2022, we’ll continue fighting to create a permanent unemployment system that’s available to everyone, regardless of immigration status. We’ll work to make sure everyone, including immigrants, has a say in our children’s schools by expanding access to run for school board to legal permanent residents. We’ll work to expand language access in our classrooms to make sure language is never a barrier to learning, and that bilingualism is an asset that’s recognized and supported. And at the federal level, we’ll keep pushing NOW and as long as it takes to create a just immigration system that treats immigrants like whole human beings whose home is here.

Join us in these future fights by pledging to take action with us during the 2022 legislative session.

We’d also like to thank our OneAmerica leaders for testifying and sharing their stories. As well as shout out many of the organizations and elected leaders (in no particular order) who fought alongside us to make these wins possible:

  • MomsRising
  • Childcare Resources
  • La Resistencia
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
  • Open Doors for Multicultural Families
  • OSPI
  • ELL Workgroup
  • Balance our Tax Code Coalition
  • Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network
  • Fair Work Center
  • Scholarship Junkies
  • Asian Counseling and Referral Services
  • Budget and Policy Center
  • Working Families Tax Credit Coalition
  • Senator Rebecca Saldaña
  • Senator June Robinson
  • Senator Joe Nguyen
  • Senator Christine Rofles
  • Senator Claire Wilson
  • Senator Lisa Wellman
  • Representative Lilliana Ortiz-Self
  • Representative Mia Gregerson
  • Representative Noel Frame
  • Representative Kirsten Harris-Talley
  • Representative Frank Chopp
  • Representative Timm Ormsby
  • Representative My-Linh Thai
  • Representative Tana Senn

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