2024 Legislative Session Wrap-Up: What We Accomplished and Looking to the Future

Together, we’ve been working towards creating a thriving home for immigrants and refugees – where we are equal, valued, and loved. This Legislative Session our leaders and community partners strived to advocate for policies and a budget that met the needs of our communities.  

OneAmerica leaders from across the state traveled in charter buses and cars to Olympia on January 31st for our Lobby Day! Over 100 leaders demonstrated their power and made their voices heard in meetings with their representatives urging their support of our legislative agenda.  

Throughout legislative session immigrant and refugees across WA state showed our collective power through digital action and 227 people sent 647 letters to their lawmakers to advocate for our policies and budget items. 

We organized and showed up! Although we did not get all the wins our communities deserve, we are encouraged that the Dual Language bill passed the legislature, that we continue to get budget wins with over $25 million for asylum seekers, and that many of our legislative sponsors worked hard to address service gaps and inequities such as Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Sefl, Senator Rebecca Saldana, and Rep. Mia Gregerson. 

There is still a lot of work ahead to create a thriving home for our communities in Washington. As we look to the future and the looming 2024 election – we are reminded that our lawmakers must do more for those they represent. Below is a snapshot of our priorities: what we accomplished and what fell short this legislative session.  

But we won’t give up! We are powerful and together we know we can fulfill our vision of a thriving home. One where we have all we need, we belong, we have equal access to opportunities, and our voices are heard.

Dual Language Programs – PASSED!

This year the Dual Language bill (HB 1228) passed out of the Legislature! We thank our bill sponsor Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self for her many years of championing this bill. This bill does several positive things for multilingual learning in Washington but, most importantly, it writes dual language into statue, helping safeguard future funding and setting us up to make even bigger investments in this crucial learning model. Winning on dual language is the product of seven years of grassroots advocacy for multilingualism and multiculturalism in schools so that we can create a more inclusive learning environment with strong supports for students whose heritage language is not English. Our work is not done but we made a lot of progress this session. Thank you for your advocacy and organizing! 

Asylee Support – Fully funded at $25 million!

Every individual deserves to feel safe; however, that is not the reality for many people in the world who live with a credible and constant fear of being persecuted. The United States was built as a country to provide a safe haven for those fleeing persecution and allows them to apply for asylum. Asylum seekers travel thousands of miles to come to the US, escape the conditions of their country, and provide a better life for themselves and their families. However, once asylees enter the US, they are seldom supported. However, this session, the Washington State Legislature ensured that asylum seekers in our community would be supported in our state. 

With all of our collective advocacy work with Lobby Day, Letter Writing, and Phone Banking, we won over $25,000,000 to support asylum seekers in accessing crucial services like food and housing assistance. This is a huge win and this would not have been possible without the work you put into supporting our communities!  

Unemployment System for Excluded Immigrant Workers

This session, our Unemployment Program for Undocumented Workers Bill did not pass out of the Budget committees, however we are still progressing with a fully funded workgroup to explore funding options. This was our fourth year building power to pass this program and ensure a safety net for our communities. With this workgroup and the power of all of us as OneAmerica, we are going to come back next session and make this program law!

Wealth Tax

While the wealth tax did not pass this year, we plan to come back in 2025 to continue to push for progressive revenue to fully fund our social safety net for all- regardless of citizenship status.

Professional Licenses– PASSED!

We were proud to support the passage of Rep. Walen’s bill, HB 1889 that will provide eligibility for certain professional and commercial licenses for various professions regardless of immigration status, such as nursing and firefighters.

What’s Next?

Thank you for your support, voice and advocacy this legislative session. To help plan celebrations for our wins and strategies for next year’s session, please take some time to fill out the form below and be part of our long-term powerbuilding strategy!