Citizenship Assistance 

Untitled_edited_edited_edited.jpg

Citizenship Assistance

Immigration Justice

In order for AAPI immigrants in Washington State to live full, safe, and healthy lives, we need safe and supportive institutions and policies that serve all individuals regardless of immigration status. 

 

Why is this important?

 

  • Because of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, many immigrants are not eligible for safety net programs for the first five years of their residence, and fears over public charge have discouraged more immigrants from accessing services.  

  • Of the over 800,000 AAPIs living in Washington state, around half are foreign-born. This includes around 60,000 undocumented AAPIs (there are around 1.7 million undocumented AAPIs nationwide).

  • 73% of Asian Americans in Washington speak a language other than English at home, and of those, more than 44% speak English less than “very well.”

  • About 60,707 Asian Americans in Washington (10%) live in poverty and about 7,951 NHPIs in Washington (17%) live in poverty, signifying the need for public assistance. 

  • Contrary to mainstream narratives, there is a high level of socioeconomic, ethnic and linguistic/cultural diversity among AAPI groups. For example, the median income for Indian households is $115,105, whereas the median income for Hmong households is $53,717. 

 

To that end, APIC supports your access to free/reduced legal help, and advocates the following policy recommendations:

 

  • Expand LEP Pathways: LEP funding promotes economic self-sufficiency for refugees and immigrants through job training programs, ESL classes, and work support which provides a solid base for job opportunities and naturalization. LEP also gives access to seniors seeking health and social services. LEP Pathways funding was cut after the recession and has not since been restored to the original amount.  

  • Increase funding for Naturalization Services: The Washington State’s naturalization program helps refugees and immigrants become citizens, through assistance with the citizenship application, English and civics classes, and interview preparation. Elderly and disabled refugees and immigrants are the primary recipients of the naturalization program.

  • Allocate funding to the Legal Defense Fund: Under the law, immigrants are not guaranteed access to a lawyer and often find themselves in immigration court without legal representation. This fund is necessary to provide immigrants with the proper resources and tools they need to stay in their community, regardless of if they can afford an attorney. 

  • Expand eligibility for unemployment benefits: With one of the largest economic crises in history looming, undocumented workers are just as deserving of access to unemployment insurance. Expanding unemployment benefits to all is necessary in supporting and uplifting all immigrants. 

  • Protect undocumented immigrants: With the passage of Keep Washington Working and Courts Open to All, our state government should continued to prioritize the safety of undocumented Washingtonians and minimize the power and actions of federal immigration enforcement agencies. This includes continuing to end any inappropriate collaboration between government agencies and immigration enforcement agencies, increase the power and frequency of gubernatorial pardons, and ending for-profit detention centers.

Citizenship Clinic & Updates

Please check back soon for information on citizenship clinics. For legal reference or support, please check https://www.lawhelp.org/