Councilmember Gonzalez’s Statement on Legal Defense Fund Awards

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Dana Robinson Slote, Council Communications, 206-615-0061
Vy Nguyen, Councilmember González Legislative Aide, 206-290-3455

SEATTLE Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), Chair of the Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans Committee, issued the following statement after City of Seattle and King County awarded funds from the Legal Defense Fund to the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), West African Community Center, South Park Information and Referral Center, and Filipino Community of Seattle:

“I’m thrilled to join our partners at King County to support these invaluable community-based organizations who will provide essential legal services and community navigation to indigent immigrant and refugee residents and workers of Seattle/King County.  This provides many people some hope against deportation and a chance to pursue their American Dream. This country, at its birth, declared that all would have due process of the law with access to legal representation; a right affirmed by Gideon vs. Wainwright.

“Immigration Courts, on the other hand, often do not reflect this as those facing deportation – including unaccompanied children who are here by themselves – are left to defend themselves against experienced government attorneys.  Through this funding, the City Council affirms its commitment to guarantee Constitutional rights to all, regardless of immigration status.

“You need not look far to see a limited application of the Constitution: that Jeff Session’s Department of Justice would dedicate resources to fighting a person’s access to knowing their rights shows how limited their understanding of the Constitution is and how backwards their priorities are.  The Trump Administration embraces ideas that would not only negatively impact human lives, but also cause harm and disruption to the American economy.

“I’m truly proud that our local and county governments were not deterred by the Trump Administration’s threats, but instead doubled-down to say we are safer as an inclusive community and we stand with our immigrant neighbors. Other municipalities have already been reaching out to learn more about our joint efforts to fight for immigrants and refugees.  Together we can build  a national movement and create incredible change that benefits us all regardless of where we were born.”