A couple months ago, among the email communications that came to JCIRA, was a message to contact the Group Health Foundation (GHF) of Seattle. They had heard about us from other immigration organizations, including WAISN and Pacific Immigrant Support, and thought they would like to support our work. In fact, they were giving JCIRA $50,000, unsolicited!
This funding comes with few strings attached. The Foundation says it trusts the groups it chooses to use the money however best furthers the goals of each organization. After a lot of conversation and research, we've decided how we would use this windfall. In this newsletter is a want ad for our first, part-time employee. We want to hire a bilingual, hopefully native Spanish speaker who can do outreach to immigrant communities across our service area, provide translation/interpretation, and assist with some administrative tasks.
This is a giant step for JCIRA, which except for our contracted ESL teacher, has been all-volunteer until now. Everyone can help by sending the job announcement to anyone they think might be interested in the job. And everyone, please raise a glass and cheer this good news.
Maria Arreola Vela proudly holds her newly achieved U.S. citizenship certificate. Maria's daughter, Lucero Figueroa, former JCIRA board member, stated, "I am so proud of my mother. I know how hard she worked to accomplish this--U.S. citizenship!" In addition to Lucero's support, JCIRA Accredited Representative Sheila Khalov helped Maria prepare for the citizenship test process. Well done, Maria!
Conversation Circle Update
We, the group exploring possibilities, are searching for people who want to join our Conversation Circle--both those who would like to practice English and those who enjoy conversing with English Language Learners. In the process we are learning a lot about the hard working immigrants in our area and their challenges. Please contact me, Holly Hallman, email@example.com, if you have ideas and/or are interested in the project.
JCIRA wanted to share this Call to Action from Amnesty International that both commends the Biden administration for its aid to Ukrainian refugees but reminds the administration of those many refugees of color that also need and deserve U.S. support. You can consider signing on to their Act Now campaign on the link below.
With 4 million Ukrainian refugees on the move, the world’s response has been tremendous: A German rail company offered free train travel for all Ukrainians coming from Poland… strangers opened up their homes throughout Europe... and one elderly woman in Berlin walked up to a refugee at a train station and handed him 100 Euros, with tears in her eyes.
President Biden is now stepping up to share global responsibility, too: he announced the U.S. will welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and provide $1 billion in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
This is the way refugees should always be met — no matter their country of origin or skin color.
And yet, this response stands in stark contrast to how the world treats refugees and asylum-seekers who are not white.
Here in the U.S., the Biden administration is failing to protect people of color from countries in armed conflict and crisis, including Cameroon and Haiti. Just last month, over 165,000 people seeking safety were denied protection at the U.S. southern border — the majority of whom are Black and brown.
We’ve seen some important progress. President Biden has been rebuilding the U.S. resettlement program after it was gutted by President Trump, and he announced he would double the cap on refugee admissions in the U.S. this year.
1. All refugees need compassion, no matter where they come from.
An Iraqi refugee, who fled the country with her family around 2008, sees similarities between her situation and what Ukrainians today are facing. How the media talks about crises and our response to them can influence public thinking on which refugees we should welcome and those we should not. All refugees deserve compassion, no matter where they come from. For more see Newsweek.
2. Biden adminstration to offer Covid-19 vaccinations to migrants at the border.
The U.S. government will offer COVID-19 vaccines to migrants taken into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border. Initially, up to 2,700 vaccines per day will be provided, increasing to 6,000 vaccines daily by the end of May.For more please see this CNN Newsource. /
3. Immigration Restriction will be removed in May.
The U.S. government will soon lift Title 42, the public health order that has restricted immigration for the past two years by allowing rapid expulsion of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. The change will take effect in May and restore the right of migrants to request asylum inside the United States.For more go to this report by ABC.
4. Government shifting away from detention centers.
The Biden administration is looking to cut bed capacity at immigration detention centers by 9,000 in the budget request for the next fiscal year. It indicates that the government is shifting from incarceration to alternatives, such as ankle monitors.For more visit this New York Times site.
Immigration and Aging in the U.S.
The American Society on Aging has dedicated its entire March/April 2022 Generations Journal to the complicated topics involving immigrants and aging in the U.S. Topics include the following:
Our mission is to support the rights of immigrants and their families, giving priority to those who live or work on the Olympic Peninsula and immigrant detainees within Washington State, through access to legal services, standing witness, family support, community education and advocacy for local, state and national issues.