Seattle (July 11, 2019) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today responded to reports that beginning this weekend the Trump administration will escalate United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in communities across the United States. While Seattle is not on the initial list of cities where escalated raids are expected, the City of Seattle is working across all departments so residents know their rights and help them access critical legal services if necessary.
“The political decision to order an escalation in ICE raids will distract and drain resources from real public safety threats and to purposely cause widespread fear and uncertainty for all immigrants in their daily lives. Let’s be clear: our region won’t be bullied, we stand with our immigrant communities, and we will not let our law enforcement officials become a political tool. Together, we will keep working to fight injustice and provide support to immigrant families to ensure they are safe and welcome in Seattle,” said Mayor Durkan. “We have robust protocols in Seattle because we believe every resident, regardless of their status, should be able to call 9-1-1, visit the library, or access our City’s services knowing that they are protected, and the Seattle Police Department will never participate in these politically driven, cruel immigration arrests and raids.”
Mayor Durkan encourages residents to review the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s (NWIRP) “Know Your Rights” information, which breaks down a person’s rights when interacting with law enforcement officials, including immigration enforcement. NWIRP’s know your rights fliers are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the City of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) has a comprehensive list of resources for legal representation at immigration proceedings and Know Your Rights information.
Mayor Durkan recently announced the Expanded Seattle-King County Legal Defense Network (ELDN). The ELDN grants $5.6 million to community-based organizations working to provide legal services to immigrants and refugees at risk of deportation.
From October 2017 to April 2019, Legal Defense Network partners have utilized $1.8 million to:
· Screen 1,072 individuals;
· Conduct 885 intake assessments;
· Provide direct representation for 357 individuals, and place another 12 with pro bono attorneys; and
· Provide legal advice to an additional 339 individuals.
For more information on the ELDN, including information regarding free legal services, please visit OIRA’s website. Other local organizations, such as Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) all have upcoming know your rights community events for residents.
WAISN also has a statewide hotline (1–844–724–3737), that provides opportunities for our communities to report the presence of ICE activity in their neighborhood; access information and/or referrals for people who have been detained; and access know your rights information. Advocates recommend that families who might be affected by the raids should develop an Emergency Family Safety Plan, which is a legal plan in case family members are separated.
If you are interested in volunteering your time for immigration organizations, you can help out at City of Seattle citizenship clinics. The first step in that process is to register here. Or you can volunteer for any local community-based organization listed here: www.seattle.gov/NCC.
To learn more about the City of Seattle’s work as a Welcoming City, please visit OIRA’s website. Immigrants and refugees are welcome in Seattle.