Thank You for Standing for Immigrant Rights This Year

In the midst of a busy holiday season, I want to take a moment to thank you for your support and reflect on what we have been able to accomplish together.

This past year has brought unprecedented threats to immigrant rights and new challenges for our clients and community. And yet, in this past year, we have also learned that we can fight back against those threats in large and small ways. Together, we can continue to defend the rights of our community.

 

Just days after the inauguration, the new administration’s attacks on the immigrant community began with the President’s unconstitutional Muslim Ban. Within hours of the President’s order, we were at Sea-Tac airport, where we were eventually joined by hundreds of protesters and volunteers. And working with our partners, we stopped two travelers from being deported due to the ban.

 

Our client Mohammed (L) and I after he was released at Sea-Tac airport


 

In April, when the Department of Justice sent NWIRP a cease and desist letter to stop us from providing legal advice to community members facing deportation, we fought back in the case of NWIRP v. Jeff Sessionsand we won, ensuring that we and nonprofits across the country can continue to help people seeking protection from deportation.

 

In September, the President announced that he would be ending the DACA program, eliminating protection from deportation and the opportunity to work for over 17,000 undocumented immigrants in Washington State and hundreds of thousands across the country. We responded by working with partners and hundreds of volunteers in a statewide effort to help hundreds of DACA recipients to file renewal applications and to ensure those impacted by the announcement knew their legal rights and the options available to them. We will continue to advocate for a path to citizenship for undocumented community members and urge you to join us by calling on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act before the end of the year.

 
In the face of so much uncertainty, your support has helped to defend immigrant rights at this pivotal time.

Because, every day, NWIRP staff are defending and advancing the rights of immigrants in our region. Just two days ago, our client Chong Kim, an Iraq war veteran and green card holder who has been in the U.S since he was five, was finally released from the Northwest Detention Center after eight months, free to return to his family, friends, and community in Portland, just in time for the holidays.

 

Chong Kim (R) with NWIRP Attorney Tim Warden-Hertz (L)


 

This is what Chong shared with us as he was released:
“I am ecstatic to be out, especially right before Christmas. It is one of the better gifts I’ve ever gotten. I am so grateful to all of the people who have helped me through the process. The people who wrote letters, donated money, made calls, came up to court, the VA, my lawyers, and everyone who assisted in any way. It is a very humbling feeling to be in a situation when you are up against ICE and you are dependent on other people to help you, without whom you would not have hope. It feels good when people stand up for you, especially as a soldier who has served this country”
 

While we celebrate Chong’s release, we remember that 1,500 of our neighbors are still held at the detention center in Tacoma, separated from their family and friends during this holiday season. And in the days, weeks, and months ahead, we will continue to fight for their rights.

 

We are so grateful that you’re standing with us.

 

Thank you for your commitment to keeping families together and uniting those separated by detention, deportation, or borders; to protecting people from violence in their homes or home countries; and to standing against injustice in our communities and country.

 
Thank you for sharing our commitment to immigrant rights. We wish you a wonderful holiday season.

 

 
Jorge L. Barón

Executive Director