2022 Legislative Session Wrap-Up: Immigrants win Language Access Supports and Refugee Resettlement Funding

For the past 20 years, immigrant leaders and supporters like you have built OneAmerica to own and tell our own narratives, grow a larger immigrant political voice, organize for more immigrants in our democracy and advocate for lasting change and power for our communities.  This year was no different.

A few of our OneAmerica Leaders at our Virtual Lobby Day on February 1 meeting with Rep. Tina Orwall

With your help and our immigrant leaders, we advocated this legislative session to: 

  • Support folks who’ve been excluded from our safety net by expanding unemployment insurance to include undocumented folks 
  • Reduce racism in our election systems and shore up voting rights by strengthening the WA Voting Rights Act  
  • Make sure everyone, including immigrants, has a say in our children’s schools by expanding access to run for school board  
  • Expand language access supports in K-12 schools so that all families can meaningfully and equitably take part in their child’s education 

We have a lot to celebrate but also much work to do to continue working towards a truly just Washington State. Join us in building immigrant power at our Monthly Meetings! Come to build community, talk about issues affecting immigrants, and how we can act together. Register today

WHAT WE WON

LANGUAGE ACCESS SUPPORTS

A screenshot of our Language Access in Public Schools Townhall on February 24th. OneAmerica Youth Leader, Jesse, leads the introduction and shares why he believes in language access!

After years of fighting, and with our partners Open Doors for Multicultural Families (ODMF) and Rep. Tina Orwall, we passed HB 1153 winning language access supports for our K-12 schools! This bill will ensure our schools have language access coordinators, interpreter training and more.

Kaitie Dong, OneAmerica’s Leadership Development and Education Manager led this work alongside ODMF and her leaders. They held phone banks, a teach-in, a town hall, lobbied their elected officials, and sent countless letters to our legislators, for this incredible win that will help ALL families in Washington State.  

As we celebrate this collective win she shares, “The passage of this bill means that immigrant and refugee families in Washington State will have the structures and services to fully and meaningfully be a part of their student’s education, while also feeling that their first language and their culture are valuable. We celebrate this monumental win for immigrants, refugees, and families with disabilities, as a pivotal step in our work towards a world where historically marginalized communities have fair access to a quality K-12 education where their needs are centered, and their cultures are celebrated.” 

OneAmerica Leader, Mahad, advocated for this bill and shared, “this bill opens new doors of communication between schools and the Somali population in Washington State and will help my community better understand different disabilities because they can learn about them in their language. At the same time, I celebrate achieving equity when it comes to language justice and disability justice as I continue my leadership journey to protecting and advocating for human rights for the Somali community worldwide!”

INVESTMENT IN REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT

Working with a broad refugee coalition and with your support, we won the important investment of $28.4 million in refugee resettlement agencies in Washington in response to crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine so that we can welcome refugees and ensure that they thrive.

WHAT WE WILL KEEP FIGHTING FOR 

We are already looking towards the 2023 legislative session and the work ahead. In 2023 we will once again fight to expand unemployment insurance to include undocumented folks, strengthen the WA Voting Rights Act to fix racist election systems, and 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. 

Join our monthly meetings to act with us in support of bold pro-immigrant legislation in the years to come. Register today!

REFLECTIONS ON THE 2022 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

As we begin our third year of a global pandemic, we know that immigrant and refugee communities were hit hard and have not yet recovered as the crisis continues. We also know systemic change is needed far beyond just emergency pandemic measures. We’ll keep fighting to expand our safety net and strengthen our democracy. We expect our legislators to truly stand up for our communities in the next legislative session and continue to fight alongside us to make strong, historic investments for immigrants and refugees. 


Below is a snapshot of our legislative wrap-up! Use it to share our collective wins with your friends on social media!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.