Councilmember M. Lorena González (Citywide, Pos. 9), Chair of the City Council’s New Americans Committee, issued the following statement related to the Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs’ immigration “mega workshop” that the City of Seattle funds to provide free legal assistance to immigrants and refugees seeking to become U.S. Citizens as well as those that are in need of free immigration-related legal advice:
“As a Welcoming City, Seattle is committed to continuing to invest in the resilience of our immigrant and refugee communities to further their desire to integrate into the fabric of our society by taking the step of becoming a naturalized U.S. Citizen. Today’s Seattle United for Immigrants and Refugees mega workshop is a product of the Council prioritizing investments that empower immigrants and refugees to continue pursuing their American Dream. Becoming a naturalized U.S. Citizen is a cornerstone of our democracy and the best defense against deportation.
“There are many benefits of citizenship, including stronger, vibrant communities as naturalized immigrants have higher rates of home ownership, higher household incomes, and the right to vote. As the daughter of once-undocumented immigrants, I know firsthand how transformative naturalization can be for families and what it means to have your American dream possible. My own mother’s citizenship ceremony continues to be etched into my memory as a pivotal moment of her belonging.
“Over the last year, we have seen a dramatic and troubling change in immigration enforcement by the federal administration. From multiple ‘Muslim Bans’ to revoking protected status for Dreamers or individuals from countries like El Salvador and Haiti; the Trump Administration continues to abuse its power to make immigrants and refugees feel like targets, unwelcomed and unwanted. This is both a dangerous and unconscionable policy direction for our City and the nation.
“I am proud to represent a Welcoming City that rejects tactics and rhetoric that serve the primary purpose of bullying and scapegoating our immigrant community rather than having serious conversations about policy solutions that promote inclusivity, a better economy and real public safety.”