King County may allocate $750,000 to help immigrants become U.S. citizens, fight deportation and educate them about their rights.
County Executive Dow Constantine plans to propose legislation to make the money available. Metropolitan King County Council Chair Joe McDermott plans to sponsor it.
They held a news conference Wednesday, but the legislation wasn’t yet available.
The money would be used for several purposes, according to Constantine and McDermott: to provide free guidance to immigrants seeking to become citizens, to give people facing deportation legal representation in immigration court, to develop and distribute “know your rights” materials and to boost outreach and education work carried out by community organizations that serve immigrants.
Some of the money would likely go to an organization or organizations that provide various kinds of legal assistance, such as the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, McDermott said.
Constantine linked the plan to President Donald Trump’s recent actions on immigration.
“People in our community are afraid — afraid for their human rights, their families, and their safety,” he said in a statement. “Our message to the White House, the country, and the rest of the world is clear: We proudly uphold the fundamental American promise that we are — and will be — a nation of hope, freedom, and opportunity for all.”
In an interview, McDermott said he views the legislation not only as a response to Trump’s actions but also as an investment in the people of the county.
“Almost one-fourth of our residents are foreign-born,” he said.
Seattle is spending $250,000 to help immigrants and refugees navigate life under the Trump administration, with a focus on children in the city’s public schools.
Mayor Ed Murray announced the allocation in November; details of his plan were still being hammered out last month.
The City Council adopted a resolution last month that says the city will work to create a legal-defense fund for immigrants.