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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


King County, City of Seattle release joint Request for Proposals for Legal Defense Fund

Summary

Local organizations providing legal services of immigrants can apply to a $1.55 million fund set up to respond to President Trump's threats to immigrant community.

Story

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, along with the King County and Seattle City Councils, announced a joint request for proposals (RFP) to provide legal services, guidance and referrals to legal services for immigrants from a $1.55 million fund. Local organizations providing these services can apply for the funding, which will assist people living in the area in need of representation for issue related to their legal status. Both the City and the County passed legislation authorizing these funds earlier this year, as President Donald Trump threatened the immigrant community through rhetoric and unconstitutional executive orders.

“The actions of our national leaders do not reflect our local values. Here, in Martin Luther King County, we uphold the Constitution and respect the rights of all people. Along with the City of Seattle, we are supporting those on the front lines of the resistance, providing legal assistance and standing up for the rule of law. In doing so, we declare that our region is, and will always be, a welcoming community,” said Executive Constantine.
 
“Dating back nearly two years to the start of his campaign, President Trump has disparaged, targeted, and attempted to exclude immigrant and refugee communities,” said Mayor Murray. “Seattle has stood up against Trump and with our friends and neighbors by taking action. We are working together with King County to provide support and critical legal services for those who are being targeted because of their status, and for families that face being ripped apart. We are strong because we are a city of immigrants and a welcoming, inclusive city, and we will continue opposing Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.”

Two RFPs are being administered by the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) and the King County Office of Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) for:
 
1. Community Navigation services (i.e. guidance and referral) for legal representation for residents of King County who are in detention, facing deportation, or in danger of losing their status; and
2. Legal representation for residents of King County who are in detention, facing deportation, or in danger of losing their status.
 
With immigrant and refugee communities facing the threat of deportation and being targeted by the Trump administration, both Seattle and King County have acted. Seattle reinforced its status as a Welcoming City, where no City employee will ask a resident about their immigration status and all City services are available to all residents. Mayor Murray created the Inclusive and Equitable Cabinet to address threats to civil rights, including to the immigrant and refugee community, and Mayor Murray signed an ordinance shepherded through Council by Councilmember M. Lorena González, establishing Seattle’s legal defense fund.

King County’s legal defense funding is part of a broader, comprehensive strategy which includes education and know your rights to work more upstream and prevent people from having the need for legal defense. In addition to legal defense, King County is supporting immigrant and refugee organizations with $450,000 to increase the protections of vulnerable residents in the county; via a Resilience Fund, the Seattle Foundation and other philanthropic partners have added to this funding for community organizations.

King County is a Welcoming County, and it has passed ordinances that prohibit conditioning provision of services on immigration status and that stipulate that the County only honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers if they are accompanied by a criminal warrant issued by a federal judge.  King County Executive Dow Constantine has also led more than 80 elected officials from throughout King County who have signed a pledge to promote safe, welcoming, and inclusive communities.

“It was an obvious choice to partner with the City of Seattle after we passed, on the same day, funding for legal aid for immigrants and refugees in our communities,” said King County Council Chair Joe McDermott. “We stand together in our work to ensure our region is a safe place for all residents, and this collaboration should be a model for jurisdictions around the country who want to protect and empower immigrant and refugee communities within their borders.”

 
Both RFPs are due by July 12, with funding decisions to be announced in August.
 


Relevant links

  • Welcoming County
  • City of Seattle Ordinance
  • How to apply for Resilience Fund
  • The actions of our national leaders do not reflect our local values. Here, in Martin Luther King County, we uphold the Constitution and respect the rights of all people. Along with the City of Seattle, we are supporting those on the front lines of the resistance, providing legal assistance and standing up for the rule of law. In doing so, we declare that our region is, and will always be, a welcoming community.

    Dow Constantine, King County Executive

    Dating back nearly two years to the start of his campaign, President Trump has disparaged, targeted, and attempted to exclude immigrant and refugee communities. Seattle has stood up against Trump and with our friends and neighbors by taking action. We are working together with King County to provide support and critical legal services for those who are being targeted because of their status, and for families that face being ripped apart. We are strong because we are a city of immigrants and a welcoming, inclusive city, and we will continue opposing Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.

    Ed Murray, Seattle Mayor

    It was an obvious choice to partner with the City of Seattle after we passed, on the same day, funding for legal aid for immigrants and refugees in our communities. We stand together in our work to ensure our region is a safe place for all residents, and this collaboration should be a model for jurisdictions around the country who want to protect and empower immigrant and refugee communities within their borders.

    Joe McDermott, Chair of King County Council 

    For more information, contact:

    Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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