Councilmember Morales, Director Mohamed, OneAmerica and NW Immigrant Rights Project Denounce Manipulation of Asylum Seekers by Governors DeSantis and Abbott 

SEATTLE, WA – Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2, Chinatown / International District and South Seattle) joins Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and community organizations in denouncing the recent political stunts manipulating asylum seekers by Texas, Florida, and Arizona’s Governors.  

On September 15th, Florida Gov. DeSantis flew migrants to Martha’s Vineyard without alerting local authorities that they were on their way, essentially manufacturing a crisis as the local community stepped up to help with very little notice. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also bussed migrants to Vice President Harris’ official residence in Washington, DC to the same effect. These governors have threatened to bus migrants to Democratic states across the US. At this time, Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs is monitoring the developing situation and has not learned of any buses of migrant families sent by GOP governors intended to arrive in Seattle.  

“Immigrants make our communities stronger. Southeast Seattle and the Chinatown-International District is home to almost 50% immigrants and that’s part of what makes my district a vibrant place to be,” said Councilmember Morales. “Politicians who act on fearmongering and xenophobia are missing out on the richness that newcomers bring to a community. I am proud that the City of Seattle is a place that will welcome and offer support to the people and families who come seeking a better life. I hope my colleagues on the federal, state and county levels will denounce the use of migrants as props and instead affirm that we remain steadfast in our values of care and compassion.” 

“Guided by our values of inclusion and equity, as One Seattle, immigrants and refugees are absolutely welcome here,” says Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) Director Hamdi Mohamed. “We also know that the Seattle area continues to be a top destination for Afghan refugees and Ukrainian families, and we continue to be inspired by the organizations and community members who have opened their literal doors to families fleeing war, violence, and terror. The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs has been in one-on-one communication with several immigrant- and refugee-serving community-based organizations to learn more about the evolving situation of migrants arriving to Seattle. OIRA does have a plan in-place that includes other City of Seattle departments and service providers to help ensure that we are able to help our guests as quickly as possible. We have also moved forward with a process of convening a meeting with community members and organization representatives to create a space to learn from each other and start a community-wide dialogue on next steps. Additionally, the City is an active member and leading city of the national coalitions Cities for Action (C4A) and Cities and Counties for Citizenship (CC4C). And through C4A and CC4C, we have been talking with our counterparts in cities that have been the target of various busing programs, including New York City, to learn more about best practices.”  

“The Seattle area has welcomed countless asylum-seekers, refugees, and immigrants over the years and continues to do so today. We reject the cruel tactics of some Governors to harm individuals and families seeking protection as part of a political stunt,” said Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. “We should respond to their inhumanity by redoubling our efforts to support those who seek safe haven or who seek to reunite with their families. All of us benefit from being a welcoming community.”  

“These anti-immigrant governors are desperate to distract from their lack of real solutions and extremists in their party who want to tear down our democracy and once again immigrant communities of bearing the brunt of their cruel attacks,” said OneAmerica’s Executive Director Roxana Norouzi. “It’s not surprising after years of ramped-up anti-immigrant rhetoric from Trump and MAGA Republicans – they’d rather divide and scare people than solve problems. We need elected officials who respect and value our immigrant communities and present real solutions to create a just immigration system.” 

Immigrant and Refugee Protections in Seattle: 

Seattle is a Welcoming City because we believe in inclusion and equity. City employees, including Seattle police officers, do not ask about citizenship status, and all City of Seattle services are available to eligible residents regardless of your citizenship and immigration status unless noted otherwise. Immigrants and refugees are welcome here. 

To learn more about City of Seattle programs and services for immigrant and refugee community members, please contact the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs by calling (206) 727-8515 or emailing When you call, please inform us if you require an interpreter. 

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