For the past 20 years, immigrant leaders have built OneAmerica to own and tell our own narratives, grow a larger immigrant political voice, to organize for more immigrants in our democracy and advocate for lasting change and power for our communities. 2022 will be no different.
As we continue into our third year of a global pandemic, we must acknowledge that immigrant and refugee communities were hit very hard and recovery is still in process. The economic hardships many faced even before COVID-19 worsened and the structural inequities were laid bare. From not having equal access to financial support or language access, to barriers in running for office to make change, we saw across the state the need for big policy changes.
Out of these hardships have come bold policy ideas to change economic, education and democratic systems. We are excited to share some of the items in our 2022 Legislative Agenda and give you the opportunity to take action to make these ideas a reality:
- SB 5438 Unemployment Benefits for Undocumented Workers: The pandemic highlighted how unfair our unemployment system already was: employers pay into the system but undocumented workers are not eligible for the benefits. We worked last year as part of the WA Immigrant Relief Fund Coalition to help get over $340 million in immediate cash assistance as a stop-gap measure but now we are pushing to pass legislation to create a permanent program to ensure all workers have access to benefits if they lose their job.
- HB 1153 Language Access in K-12 Schools: Even though schools are required to provide interpreters if requested, too often there are still too many gaps in service for meaningful access to families. Having consistency in information regarding their children’s education is of utmost importance and we are working with our partners at Open Door for Multicultural Families in passing legislation to create language access coordinators who will work to ensure schools and districts are serving every family equitably.
- HB 1842 Helping Immigrants Run for School Board: It is currently illegal for immigrants who are Legal Permanent Residents to run for school board as an elected office. We want to change that! School boards should reflect the diversity of families’ experiences and immigrant families deserve representation in local decisions.
- SB 5597 Reducing Racism in our Election Systems: We worked hard to pass the WA Voting Rights Act and were successful in utilizing the law to sue Yakima County over racist voting districts. However, lawsuits can be costly and time consuming so we are pushing legislation to make the process more efficient through a process of preclearance.
How can you support passing these bills?
Join our Action Taker List! By joining, you will get email updates with quick and easy links to contact your legislator in support of these bills. This legislative session will be quick- just 60 days- so we will be asking for your support often.
As we have won bold legislation in the past, we hope to do so again with your support!