Tag Archives: Undocumented Immigrants

COVID-19 Outbreak at ICE Detention Center Continues

by Luna Reyna

As the delta variant spreads across the country, transfers to Northwest ICE Processing Center are spreading the virus to some of our state’s most vulnerable.


In 2018 the University of Washington Center for Human Rights (UWCHR) began collecting data on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) flights with the assistance of Yakima Immigrant Response Network. These flights, also called ICE Air, were once carried out by the U.S. Marshals. Today, they are carried out by private businesses through private deportation contracts for ICE that are worth millions. According to Phil Neff, project coordinator for the UWCHR, the data revealed that nearly 600 people transferred to Northwest ICE Processing Center (NWIPC) in June 2021 — the most transfers from ICE Air to the facility since June 2014. With these transfers came the transmission of COVID-19, resulting in the worst outbreak of the virus the facility has ever seen. 

According to the Tacoma-Pierce County Department of Health, an outbreak is considered two cases within 14 days of each other. NWIPC reported 32 cases in under 14 days. According to ICE reports, each new case was a transfer from the southern border. “My understanding is that most of them are asylum seekers …” Neff explained. “Under human rights terms, asylum seekers shouldn’t be indefinitely detained.” This number has only increased since June. At least 150 people, including nine guards and one medical personnel, have tested positive. 

Continue reading COVID-19 Outbreak at ICE Detention Center Continues

Dream Away: Washington Dream ACT Coalition Is Led by and for Undocumented Youth

by Kamna Shastri


Ray Corona knew hardly anything about politics and even less about the Washington State Legislature. Yet, as a high school student in 2009, he boldly stood at the head of a room full of legislators in Olympia and testified for a bill that would alter the lives of undocumented young adults forever. He was one of the first students to speaks candidly about his status as an undocumented person. Little did he know that the other students waiting in line to speak were not going to be doing that.

“In many ways that was the first time I sort of came out very publicly about my status, on the record for the [Washington] State Dream Act. That is sort of what prompted my activism with [the] immigrant community, specifically with the undocumented community,” said Corona.

Many of the other young students who had come to testify at this public hearing were part of other organizations and had been coached and mobilized to testify before the Legislature. Corona, however, had heard about the proposed bill from his school counselor who urged him to get involved.

From there, Corona began to organize and became friends with Monserrat Padilla (now at Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network). The two created what was at the time the Washington Dream Act Coalition (WADAC), a coalition that was led by and for young undocumented students.

“We wanted to make sure undocumented youth were at the center and were the ones coming up with these solutions because as the campaign evolved for the State Dream Act, there were many times that allies were willing to compromise just to get a bill passed,” said Corona.

Continue reading Dream Away: Washington Dream ACT Coalition Is Led by and for Undocumented Youth

A Federal Judge Ruled to Fully Reinstate DACA, but the Fight Continues

by Elizabeth Turnbull


On Friday, Dec. 4, a federal judge ordered the government to fully reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to continue to live and work here.

Created by the Obama administration in 2012, the program has been under attack since then by both Republicans and the Trump administration. This past summer, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf issued a memorandum that prevented new applicants from enrolling in the program and reduced the length of work permits from two years to one. But on Dec. 4, that memo was reversed, restoring all of DACA’s original protections. 

Continue reading A Federal Judge Ruled to Fully Reinstate DACA, but the Fight Continues

Relief Fund for Undocumented Workers to Go Live in Autumn, Inslee Says

by Carolyn Bick


Though his office unveiled a $40 million fund for undocumented workers earlier this week, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference on Aug. 13 that the one-time payment fund won’t be available for undocumented workers until the autumn. He also said that the state has made available another $3 million in CARES Act funding for certain food production workers who have to quarantine themselves, due to infection from the novel coronavirus.

Continue reading Relief Fund for Undocumented Workers to Go Live in Autumn, Inslee Says

Washington Earmarks $40M for Undocumented Workers Excluded From Federal Aid

by Ben Adlin


Washington is set to become just the second U.S. state to send coronavirus aid to undocumented residents, who so far have been excluded from federal relief packages. Advocates announced on Monday that the state will soon launch a $40 million worker relief fund to send one-time cash payments directly to undocumented workers.

The funding is less than half of the $100 million relief package requested in recent months by a coalition of more than 230 local organizations. Leaders on Monday described the new fund as a major victory but added that more relief will be necessary to help stabilize Washington’s undocumented population of nearly 230,000 people.

Continue reading Washington Earmarks $40M for Undocumented Workers Excluded From Federal Aid

Undocumented Workers Must Wait on COVID-19 Relief Fund, Will Not Be Eligible for State’s First Public Option Health Program

by Carolyn Bick

Washington State’s undocumented workers waiting for the same kind of economic relief their documented peers receive will have to keep waiting, Gov. Jay Inslee’s office told the Emerald. They also won’t be eligible for the state’s first public option health program, Cascade Care, when it begins next year.

In late May, Inslee said his office was looking into the possibility of creating a novel coronavirus pandemic relief fund for undocumented workers, who are ineligible to receive unemployment benefits or federal economic relief. In an email to the Emerald on July 10, Inslee’s Deputy Communications Director and Press Secretary Mike Faulk said that the reason a fund is taking so long is due to a number of factors, including the complexity of the task and the recent mandate that requires certain staff members to take one furlough day per week, in an effort to cut costs.

Continue reading Undocumented Workers Must Wait on COVID-19 Relief Fund, Will Not Be Eligible for State’s First Public Option Health Program

State Institutes More Protections for Agricultural Workers, Considers Creating Relief Fund for Undocumented Workers

by Carolyn Bick


Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference on May 28 that the state will be instituting additional protections for agricultural workers, and that his office is looking into the possibility of creating a relief fund for undocumented workers who do not have access to unemployment benefits, despite paying taxes.

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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