Q13 FOX Season of Giving

Seattle City Council approves $1M legal defense fund for immigrants, refugees; King County OKs $750K

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously approved a $1 million legal defense fund for immigrants and refugees who live or work in the city. The King County Council passed $750,000 for similar legislation.

President Donald Trump’s executive orders “will dramatically increase the number of people seeking legal representation in courts,” according to the Seattle City Council’s website, and “immigrants & refugees have no legal right to representation in immigration court.”

The sponsors of the ordinance, council members Lorena Gonzalez and Tim Burgess, said that nearly 1 in 5 residents in Seattle is foreign-born, and that the Seattle area is among the 20 U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest populations of undocumented immigrants.

The King Council Council on Monday also approved a $750,000 fund to support key immigrant and refugee serving organizations throughout the county.

According to the county council, the funds will be distributed in three main areas:

  • $300,000 to support organizations that are providing legal aid to immigrants in immigration proceedings;
  • $100,000 to support organizations that “ensure culturally accessible, relevant information is readily available – efforts such as holding ‘Know your Rights’ trainings for interested communities, and learning opportunities for members outside of ethnic communities to learn about the cultures of their neighbors”;
  • $350,000 to partner with the Seattle Foundation to develop the “Resilience Fund,” a collaborative fund into which other public or private funders can invest to enhance the capacity and resiliency of community based organizations in at-risk communities.