Tag Archives: Immigration

“We Did Everything We Could”: Community Organizations Fear A Census Undercount

by Luna Reyna


As a child, I can recall two groups of strangers coming to our door: census workers and religious groups. My Latinx family of 7 never opened the door for either. The fear and lack of trust in government-affiliated institutions has always been tangible, and rightly so, in many marginalized communities. This fear has contributed to federally-underfunded schools, hospitals, public transportation, and even Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the past. All federal funding is guided and allocated through the findings of the decennial census.   

Continue reading “We Did Everything We Could”: Community Organizations Fear A Census Undercount

On Making Sense of Anti-Blackness in America as an Immigrant Person of Colour

by Ruchika Tulshyan


It was apparent to me from the moment I immigrated to the United States in 2012 that civil unrest was coming. The seeds of despair were sown in this country long before any of us were born.

Moving to Atlanta eight years ago forced me to confront social inequities I didn’t believe existed in the West. The last time I’d had to examine them so closely was when I lived in India two years prior. 

It was clear that there was a wealthy (white) Atlanta and a poor (Black) one. At lunch, the media organization I worked for was divided into Black tables and white tables. As a Brown Indian woman from Singapore, I was often caught in the middle. Many wealthy CEOs I interviewed as a business reporter would make off-the-cuff remarks about how “Atlanta was doomed because we can’t have a good white mayor” and how I should “stay away from Black people.”

Continue reading On Making Sense of Anti-Blackness in America as an Immigrant Person of Colour

Seattle City Council Passes Resolution Asking Gov. Inslee to Create Relief Fund for Undocumented Workers

by Carolyn Bick


The Seattle City Council has unanimously adopted a resolution asking Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee to create a relief fund for undocumented workers affected by the current novel coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution, which was championed at the grassroots level by several immigrants’ rights organizations and introduced by sponsors Seattle City Councilmembers Lorena Gonzalez and Teresa Mosqueda at the City Council’s May 18 meeting, asks that the governor create the fund, because undocumented workers are ineligible for regular federal or state unemployment benefits or relief, despite paying taxes like official United States citizens.

Continue reading Seattle City Council Passes Resolution Asking Gov. Inslee to Create Relief Fund for Undocumented Workers

OPINION: The Immigration Smokescreen

by Rich Stolz


We are living in an unprecedented crisis. We know this moment calls on all of us to go all in for all of us so that we can all be safe and healthy. And we also know that COVID-19 is harming black and brown communities, including immigrants, at higher rates, due to deep underlying inequities in our society. 

An unprecedented crisis calls for competent leadership, especially in the White House. Unfortunately, that’s something we don’t have. A confusing and confused response to the pandemic has made the crisis worse, and the president is agitating for states to reopen their economies in a manner that contradicts his own talking points. 

Enter the immigration ban.

Anyone who uses this health crisis to divide Americans and scapegoat immigrants undermines everything we need to do to keep each other safe in the face of this pandemic. Politicians like Donald Trump are blowing a smokescreen to divert attention from their own failures by whipping up resentment and fear of immigrants, scapegoating our communities with xenophobic attacks. Unfortunately, these policies have real consequences.

The new ‘immigration ban’ signed by the president last week restricts immigrant visas and green cards to folks abroad who wish to immigrate to the U.S. The ban is initially set for 60 days, and it may be extended. This ban on legal immigration follows on the administration’s decision to halt refugee resettlement earlier in the crisis. And it follows on three years of policy changes that have eviscerated our asylum system.

There are some exceptions to the ban, including spouses and children of U.S. Citizens, physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals and wealthy immigrant investors. But that’s no solace for the tens of thousands U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are separated from their loved ones overseas and must now put their plans to reunite their families on hold.

The administration’s stated reason for the ban is to reduce strain to the healthcare market, protect the American worker, and to help folks retain their jobs, especially African Americans, the disabled, and lower income workers at the margins. But we know that’s a false narrative.

Immigration hardliners, nativists and xenophobes are using this crisis to enact policies they’ve sought to implement for years, and the president is seeking to shore up support in his nativist base to counter his falling poll numbers. Once again, Trump is attempting to divide black and brown voters and voters on the margin against immigrants by recycling age-old stereotypes about immigrants stealing jobs. But that’s not true, and jobs are not a zero-sum game. Adding new residents to our country creates jobs, and economic models show that time and again. The rampant inequality that Trump’s policies are fueling is what’s keeping communities down. 

The very people that Trump is now excluding are the same people serving all of us as “essential workers.” It’s a loaded term. Many of them are immigrant and native-born workers, typically working on an hourly basis or in the fields, in warehouses or in grocery stores. Because they can’t afford not to work, they are risking exposure to COVID-19 in order to minimize the impact of the crisis on those of us who can work from home. These workers are the frontline heroes we need right now, and it’s up to us to make sure we have their back.

Let’s make sure we don’t fall for the smokescreen. This is a time to come together across the differences too often used to divide us. We all need to stay healthy and safe. We all need to call blatantly racist and xenophobic attacks on our communities what they are when we see them. We will need each other to make it through the economic crisis we’re in. And we’ll need to draw on all of us to muster the vision we’ll need to shape a recovery toward a more resilient, more equitable economy.


Rich Stolz has been OneAmerica’s executive director since 2012. Born in Seoul, South Korea, he understands the need to organize, advocate and engage on behalf of immigrants and their families. He has dedicated his career to social justice and immigrant rights and was honored by President Obama as a Cesar Chavez Champion for Change. Follow him on Twitter @rstolz11.

Featured image: Alisdare Hickson (licensed by Creative Commons)

Agricultural Warehouse Workers Claim Employers Failing to Protect Them From Novel Coronavirus, Follow L&I Rules

by Carolyn Bick


Every morning at 6 a.m., Penelope punches into work at a food processing warehouse in Eltopia, Washington. She works seven days a week with no days off for $13.65 an hour. With the exception of a 30-minute lunch break, Penelope is on her feet sorting spears of asparagus for up to nine or 10 hours a day. It’s difficult work in normal times. But now, it’s become dangerous.

Penelope says her employer is not providing her or other employees with enough personal protective equipment or allowing them any space to social distance to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. She is undocumented, so she’s afraid of repercussions if she speaks out or tries to involve the Department of Labor and Industries, which is responsible for overseeing safe workplace conditions. But she is also afraid that these conditions will get her killed: she’s 40 years old and suffers from diabetes and heart disease, and has breast cancer that has recently reemerged.

Continue reading Agricultural Warehouse Workers Claim Employers Failing to Protect Them From Novel Coronavirus, Follow L&I Rules

PHOTOS: Jewish Activists Say ‘Never Again Is Now’ At Rally Downtown

Photos by Alex Garland
Story by Aaron Burkhalter

Emma Klein stood in a line of people locked together at the wrists outside of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters on the 29th floor of a building in Downtown Seattle Aug. 8. She was one of 10 people blocking two entrances into the office to disrupt business for ICE to protest the escalating actions against people seeking asylum and undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Continue reading PHOTOS: Jewish Activists Say ‘Never Again Is Now’ At Rally Downtown

OPINION: Willem Van Spronsen and John Brown Both Chose to Die Opposing Human Bondage

by Casey Jaywork

In the early morning of July 13, Tacoma police shot and killed Seattle-area man Willem Van Spronsen at the Northwest Detention Center, where the federal government imprisons refugees awaiting deportation. According to police statements published in various media, Van Spronsen was in a parking area attempting to damage vehicles used to facilitate prisoner transport, carrying a rifle and throwing “incendiary devices” near a propane tank. No one except Van Spronsen — shot and killed by police — was physically harmed.

Continue reading OPINION: Willem Van Spronsen and John Brown Both Chose to Die Opposing Human Bondage

Parenting in the Shadow of American Concentration Camps

by Brett Hamil

Last night my wife tucked the toddler into bed as she normally does then headed out for a meeting. I sat in the studio downstairs and listened to him scream for his mommy for about 15 or 20 minutes, a feral, throat-shredding yowl that didn’t let up. I tried to go in and comfort him several times but he wasn’t having it. “I want Mommy! I need mommy!” he wailed, kicking his legs and flailing his arms and clawing at his face.

Continue reading Parenting in the Shadow of American Concentration Camps

Local, State Organizations Encourage Inclusion of Communities in Midst of 2020 Census Fears

by Hannah Myrick

Communities across King County risk being undercounted in the upcoming census because of fear around a potential citizenship question, according to organizations that work with undercounted populations in Washington.

Continue reading Local, State Organizations Encourage Inclusion of Communities in Midst of 2020 Census Fears