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Council President González, Mayor Durkan, and Congresswoman Jayapal Urge Congress to Create Roadmap to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants

SEATTLE  Council President M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), Chair of the Governance & Education Committee, and her Council colleagues, with the concurrence of Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, passed a resolution today urging Congress to pass immigration reform and more federal support for immigrants and refugees. 

The resolution encourages Congress to create a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, and support legislation and budget strategy to support immigrants and refugees by increasing the number of visas available, increasing admissions for refugees, restoring and improving the asylum system, ending harmful immigration detention and enforcement policies, and ensuring COVID relief programs are available to all regardless of citizenship. 

“In Seattle, one out of every five people is foreign-born. As a first generation American, I know that immigrants play an integral role in our communities as our neighbors, co-workers, and entrepreneurs.  Our immigrant families in Seattle and across the country strive to create a better life for themselves and their children. We urge Congress to pass a permanent legislative fix to our broken immigration system. This means all immigrants and refugees would live in peace in our local communities without carrying the burden of an uncertain future or of being deported and separated from their families and communities,” said Council President González

“I introduced the Roadmap to Freedom Resolution in Congress because we must finally reform our broken immigration system in a humane way that focuses on respect, dignity, family unity, and real opportunity for all immigrants,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). “As a lifelong organizer who created the largest immigrant rights organization in Washington state, I know that this transformative change begins on the ground in our local communities. I’m grateful that Council President González, OneAmerica, and other immigrant rights champions are introducing this resolution as we continue building a powerful movement for immigration reform at the local, state, and national level.”

“Citizenship for undocumented essential workers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipients and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders is step one in overhauling and transforming the current immigration system. Congress cannot overlook the immigrant community that has put their lives on the line over the past year and continues to support our nation as we recover and rebuild from the pandemic. Our Congressional delegation and Biden must include immigration in the next reconciliation package to bring undocumented communities the relief they deserve. We stand boldly with the Seattle City Council in calling Congress to act now,” said Roxana Norouzi, OneAmerica’s Deputy Director.

“Our immigrants and refugees who call Seattle home have created Seattle’s dynamic culture, innovative economy, and small businesses. It is indisputable that immigrants have contributed significantly to our country, yet we have lived far too long with this wholly antiquated and fundamentally broken immigration system. It is long past time for Congress to act to support an overhaul of our outdated immigration system that includes a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented Americans, increasing the caps for refugees and certain visas, and increasing the capacity of federal agencies to help eligible immigrants gain their citizenship,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. According to the Washington Office of Financial Management, in 2017 one in seven people living in Washington State was an immigrant, of which 48 percent were naturalized citizens, 27 percent were legal immigrants, and 25 percent were undocumented immigrants. 

According to the American Community Survey in 2019, there are approximately 56,311 Seattle residents who are not citizens. Seattle, as a Welcoming City, provides programming and support for immigrants and refugees regardless of their immigration status. 

The resolution states, in part:

“The City of Seattle values its ethnic, racial, linguistic, and socio-economic diversity, which is a source of strength in Seattle and beyond, and the City Council is committed to ensuring that all our residents can live and pursue their livelihoods in peace and prosperity.”

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