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We 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.
In this Newsletter:

2328 Washington Street, Port Townsend

Open House
Friday, June 9     3 - 5 PM

Celebration - Party
Sunday, June 11     2 - 5 PM

For more information, call 360-232-6070
A Note from Outreach Coordinator Natalia Durán:
Why do People Travel?
JCIRA Outreach Coordinator Natalia Durán and Member Libby Palmer present stories from The Welcoming Library

A few years ago, I was seated in front of a group of parents of first graders at my daughter’s school. I shared with them the hard moments my daughter had experienced while in the classroom. As a mom, I was heartbroken and was hardly able to speak and explain in another language what my daughter had experienced. Tears didn’t stop me.
Recently, the Port Townsend Library offered JCIRA a grant for a collection of books entitled The Welcoming Library. These books tell the stories of families and how they arrived to the USA. Through beautiful pictures, the books describe the journeys and challenges many families faced on their way to where they now call home.
The Welcoming Library has given me the opportunity to sit in front of children from the Chimacum Primary School and read some of these stories out loud. As in immigrant, this is important as many times these stories don’t get to be told by the people that lived them. The children’s acceptance, engagement, and love was overwhelming! I could hear them repeating many words in Spanish, asking questions, and even sharing their own family backgrounds.
JCIRA will continue collaborating with schools to reach as many children as we can through The Welcoming Library. My hope is that children learn how and why people travel; some in an airplane, others in a train, and many, walking hundreds of miles…

Legislative Update: A Step in the Right Direction

The 2023 Washington Legislative Session ended on April 23; many thanks to those of you who let the 24th District representatives know the importance of supporting the immigrant community through your phone calls, letter and email writing and signing petitions.
JCIRA joined with WAISN (Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network) and the ACLU to focus on two issues for this legislative session: Unemployment Insurance for Undocumented Workers (HB1095/SB5109) and the Health Equity for Immigrants Campaign. While the unemployment bill did not garner sufficient support from legislators to pass this session, you can be sure the fight is not over. Preliminary review of the biennium budget shows some gains for healthcare for the undocumented. This was achieved through a budget proviso process and tremendous support from the many organizations and individuals. Here’s a snapshot of what was achieved: 
  • $49.5M (million) for a new Medicaid-like program for undocumented immigrants under 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) starting July 2024.
  • $110M to continue funding for HealthPlanFinder premium assistance for all Washingtonians under 250% FPL, including $10M for undocumented immigrants for premium assistance thanks to the 1332 waiver starting January 2024.
  • $3.7M in new funds to support outreach, customer assistance, and administration.
 A more thorough summary of the budget will soon be made available by the Health Equity Campaign. In the meantime, JCIRA will send a letter to Governor Inslee letting him know that we want to keep the funding for Health Equity and to make sure there are no further delays in its implementation beyond July of 2024.  (Governor Inslee has 20 days to sign the budget or use his veto or line-item veto power.)

Between now and 2024, we have a lot more work to do to make sure these programs are implemented to meet the needs of the immigrant community. JCIRA will keep you informed.

Thank you for your support!

Día de Los Niños - Día de Los Libros
(Children’s Day – Book Day)

Join JCIRA for an afternoon of songs, stories and activities for families in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean and other languages.  Presented by Port Townsend Public Library and JCIRA, this traditional Mexican holiday was brought to the U. S. in 1996 by Mexican-American author Pat Mora, and is now a yearly celebration of multicultural literacy. We’ll help connect children and their families to a variety of books, languages, cultures, and the libraries in our community.  Snacks will be provided, hope to see you there!
Sunday, April 30th, 1-3 PM
JCIRA Multicultural Center
2328 Washington Street, Port Townsend
Documentary Film: Since I Been Down
Speaker Kimonti Carter

Date: May 3 

5 PM: Film       7 PM:  Panel discussion, Q & A
Peninsula College Learning Center, Fort Worden State Park
Kimonti Carter was sentenced to life in prison for a gang-related murder 25 years ago. Today, Kimonti is a teacher, mentor, leader, and advocate for the power of transformative justice. He is the founder of T.E.A.C.H. (Taking Education and Creating History), a prisoner-led higher-education program now in place in three Washington State prisons and is a leader in the Black Prisoners’ Caucus.  He has dedicated himself to preventing kids and young adults from making the same mistakes he made so many years ago. In light of his development as a leader during his years in prison, Kimonti requested and received re-sentencing to time served, the the 25 years that he had already been imprisoned. Kimonti is now able to spread his work to a much larger population.

The film starts with a powerful introduction to the Tacoma of 1980-1990’s when gang violence was rampant, destroying families and an entire community. It then shifts to Kimonti, following his efforts, and those of other prisoners, as they create a model of education that has transformed their lives and their communities.  Through film, we virtually join the in-prison classes, hearing the deep conversations among prisoners and seeing a unique form of group-led education.
The event is free and open to the public.

You can also join the May 4 Port Angeles Kimonti panel discussion via Zoom at, meeting ID: 830 2454 2567.
Other options:

      Watch a 7-minute film trailer  
      Rent complete film $3.95
      View Kimonti Carter’s website

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo by visiting one of the wonderful Mexican restaurants in town:
Burritos y Tacos
Fiesta Jalisco
Fiesta Mexican Restaurant
Hacienda Tizapan
La Cocina
Molcajete (Port Ludlow)
San Juan Taqueria (Kala Point)
Taco Wagon (corner F Street and San Juan)
An Immigration Story

In late 2017, Moises, Jacqueline, and their four children presented at the San Ysidro port of entry and
requested asylum seeking protection from gang violence in Acapulco. Moises was sent to a detention center in Georgia. Jacqueline and the children were allowed to travel to Omaha to join her sister, but she was required to wear an ankle bracelet tracking device. In 2018 Moises was released from detention under sponsorship of an Omaha group similar to JCIRA. After five years of delays they had an immigration court hearing on March 21. JCIRA’s Larry Jensen traveled to Omaha to support his friends. The result of the hearing was scheduling a final hearing for April of 2026. We hope that by then U.S. immigration laws and policies will have become more humane. We celebrated the result with ice cream.
Volunteer Spotlight
Bev Shelton and Doug Humes
Working behind the scenes, several Jefferson County residents are working as Accredited Representatives (ARs), helping immigrants on their path to citizenship. Accredited through the Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center (KIAC), and with support from JCIRA, they have volunteered for an extensive training process to aid immigrants in their journey through the US legal system. Two of these volunteers, Bev Shelton and Doug Humes, agreed to be interviewed about their experience, and a third, Sheila Khalov, continues to support immigrants through this work.  
Driven by concern over harsh immigration policies (family separations, bans on religious groups), Bev and Doug became active with JCIRA, looking to see how they could help. They were drawn to the process of becoming an AR because of the practical aspects of the work. ARs provide inexpensive legal help to immigrants and are accredited through the US Department of Justice, requiring extensive hours of training, and then shadowing another AR. There are two levels of accreditation: ARs with “partial” accreditation can work on affirmative cases such as family petitions, green cards, etc., while fully accredited ARs can go to court.
Readers may recognize Bev as a retired Port Townsend librarian. She says that at first, she felt like an imposter as she was thrown into complex and emotional immigration cases. After four years she finds the work challenging and sometimes frustrating, but she says she is doing this because “it makes me happy.” The need is great, clients are motivated and inspirational.  
Doug has been doing this work for over a year.  He found himself in Port Townend in 1978 helping a friend build a boat. But now that he's 'buried the anchor,' he's always looking around the local community for something new and interesting. His work as an AR is challenging but worth it. He enjoys making a contribution and especially working with the dedicated legal team at KIAC. “People tend to be suspicious by what they don’t know… we need to get over this because the world will have to get used to migrants and immigrants.”

In addition to Spanish-speaking countries, they have “clients” from all over the world including Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica, the Philippines, and more. RAs do work on asylum cases, which they find interesting but also unsettling depending on the background of the case.  The learning curve is high, as each case is unique.  
If you would like to learn more about becoming an Accredited Representative, contact Bev ( who will put you in touch with KIAC. The AR process takes real commitment, as it takes a year to get accredited followed by a 3 year minimum stint.
JCIRA Volunteers at the Connections Fair
Medical and Health

JC Mash (free clinic)
136 Water Street, Suite 109
PT, WA 98368   360-385-4268

JFC Express Clinic
834 Sheridan St., Suite B
PT, WA  98368   360-385-2204
North Olympic Healthcare Network
Two locations in Port Angeles
Jefferson Dental Clinic 
915 Sheridan
PT, WA 98368   360-344-1005
Ecumenical Christian Helping Hands Organization
1110 Jefferson St., PT, WA  98368

WIC Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children under 5
Jefferson County Public Health
615 Sheridan St., PT, WA  98368

All Food Banks:

Quilcene Food Bank
294952 US 101
Quilcene, WA 98376
Tri-Area Food Bank
760 Chimacum Road
Chimacum, WA 98325
Port Townsend Food Bank
1925 Blaine Street
PT, WA  98368 
Other Services
Dove House Advocacy Services
Advocacy, basic needs, housing assistance, and other resources for recent and past victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and general crime.
1045 10th Street, PT WA 98368
Office and 24/7 Crisis Line: 360-385-5291
St. Vincent de Paul
Help with needs like food, gas, prescriptions, mobile phones/minutes, propane, utilities, medical/dental expenses, repairs, clothing and laundry. 

Olympic Community Action (OlyCAP)
Provides assistance for all basic needs (rent, utilities, energy, prescriptions, gas, public transportation, etc.) for low-income households.
823 Commerce Loop    Quilcene, WA 98376
Bayside Housing and Services        
310 Hadlock Bay Road   
Port Hadlock, WA 98339              
Jefferson County Emergency Shelter
Located in the basement of the American Legion 
209 Monroe St, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Regular hours 4:00 PM-8:00 AM 7 days a week. 

Support our mission by donating to JCIRA. Click on the word Donate or click Here to go to the donation page on our website.  Thank you for considering! 
Copyright © 2021 JCIRA, All rights reserved.
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PO Box 647
Port Townsend, WA 98368-0647
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JCIRA · PO Box 647 · Port Townsend, WA 98368-0647 · USA

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