Inslee announces $1.2 million for civil legal aid funding to Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

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Gov. Jay Inslee today announced $1.2 million to provide legal services and representation to immigrants and refugees with no other financial resources.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project is being awarded a $1 million grant from the Department of Commerce and the governor is providing an additional $230,000 in emergency funding. The grant funding was approved by the Legislature last session and awarded through a competitive proposal process. The funding will support NWIRP’s effort to provide legal assistance including information and advice through extended legal representation in individual immigration cases.

The funding comes just as the president has implemented new policies to separate asylum-seeking families at the border. Approximately 200 individuals, most of them mothers, are being detained at the federal detention center in SeaTac, while at least nine separated youth have been placed in Washington state.

Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson have been vocally opposing this new policy and demanding answers from federal officials about when these youth will be reunited with their parents.

“The horrific separation of children from their parents at our southern border is just the latest in an ongoing effort by the president’s administration to terrorize immigrant families and those seeking asylum or refuge,” Inslee said. “Everyone is entitled to a fair and due process, and this funding will help make sure Washington is doing everything it can to protect that system of justice for all.”

"We are grateful to the Legislature, Governor Inslee and the Department of Commerce for making these resources available to expand access to legal services to immigrant and refugee communities throughout the state," said Jorge L. Baron, executive director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. "These services will help ensure that hundreds of individuals in our state will gain protection from violence and be reunified with their family members."

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) is a non-profit dedicated to promoting justice by defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy, and community education. The organization will use the grant to ensure equitable access to referral and representation services for indigent immigrants throughout Washington state, with a priority on helping those at highest risk of deportation and of extreme harm or hardship to themselves or their families.

"Commerce strengthens communities in many ways, and we are happy to play a role in keeping families together," said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.

Media Contacts

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office