NWIRP Expanding Statewide Efforts to Help Undocumented Youth Gain Education and Career Opportunities
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Contact: Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director, NWIRP
SEATTLE – Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) is expanding efforts to help undocumented immigrant youth gain education and career opportunities by assisting them in applying and renewing applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides social security cards and work permits to certain undocumented youth for a period of two years. NWIRP will provide free, high-quality legal assistance and will partner with organizations 21 Progress and OneAmerica to provide focused outreach and community education throughout Washington State. NWIRP’s work will be supported by a recent grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since the inception of the DACA program in 2012, NWIRP has been a statewide leader in engaging and serving immigrant youth eligible for deferred action. Through free community legal clinics and workshops, NWIRP works with volunteer attorneys to screen and assist youth with DACA applications. NWIRP also provides free direct legal representation to clients with more complicated cases. To date, NWIRP has helped over 3,600 youth apply for DACA. With the recent grant from the Gates Foundation, NWIRP intends to expand its services to DACA-eligible young people by providing more legal clinics and workshops and by reaching out to youth in rural and underserved communities.
“We are grateful for the foundation’s investment in the future of young people, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to open new doors in education and careers for youth in our communities across Washington State,” said Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
NWIRP’s high-quality legal assistance will be enhanced by a collaboration with partners 21 Progress and OneAmerica to provide intensive outreach and community education, particularly to underserved and rural communities.
For example, the Asian and Pacific Islander community has had a low percentage of participants in the DACA program nationwide and locally, so 21 Progress will provide comprehensive outreach to individuals in that community.
“We will be able to support undocumented Asians and Pacific Islanders in gaining college and career opportunities.” said Sharon Maeda, Executive Director of 21 Progress. “We will work with formal and informal leaders, primarily in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, to ensure a culturally appropriate atmosphere that enables individuals to move beyond a sense of shame and other cultural values that prevent them from participating in DACA. Additionally, early DACA recipients will be able to testify to the life-changing opportunities it provides.”
OneAmerica will provide outreach efforts throughout Washington State, particularly in rural communities with limited organizational capacity.
Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica said, “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with the Gates Foundation, NWIRP and 21 Progress to reach as many eligible Washington Dreamers as possible to ensure they have the information, as well as the financial and legal support they need, to be shielded from deportation so that they can focus their energies on advancing their education and work experience. These young Americans are contributing every day to our state and nation, their home.”
Together with partners 21 Progress and OneAmerica, NWIRP aims to help thousands more immigrant youth continue their education, gain valuable careers, and contribute even more to our communities.
The next DACA legal workshops, which are free and open to the public, will take place as follows:
Saturday, August 30th, 10:00 am
Radio KDNA Building
121 Sunnyside Ave
Granger, WA 98932
Des Moines, WA
Saturday, September 6th, 10:00 am
Highline Community College, Building 8
2400 S. 240th St, Des Moines, WA 98198
Saturday, September 13th, 10:00 am
Wenatchee First United Methodist Church
941 Washington Street, Wenatchee 98801
Thursday, November 6th, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Columbia Legal Services
418 North Kellogg Street, Kenneck, WA 99336
Weekly DACA legal clinics are also available through NWIRP’s Seattle office. Learn more at www.nwirp.org.