- We host educational forums on the structure and operations of our government, key issues affecting refugee and immigrant communities, engaging in the democratic process, and strategies for advocacy.
- We ensure that the refugee and immigrant community has representation at city budget conferences and other critical decision-making meetings.
- We advocate for clients’ access to the services they need to become self-sufficient through each of our programs.
State Legislative Advocacy
ReWA’s organization of the annual Washington State Refugee and Immigrant Legislative Day has been the centerpiece of our advocacy efforts. For 10 years, members of the communities we serve, ReWA staff, our partner organizations, and supporters gather at Olympia to raise awareness about issues that affect the lives of refugees and immigrants. We rally and personally meet with our legislators — and do so peacefully, vibrantly, and effectively.
2017 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
TANF provides limited-time cash assistance to help struggling families meet their most basic needs including: rent, utilities, food, clothing, and hygiene items. TANF’s welfare-to-work component, WorkFirst, provides parents with job training, basic employment skills, and job search skills to help families attain economic security through employment.
Restore the TANF grant to its 2011 level and help families get out of poverty faster. Remove TANF’s lifetime limit, reinstating some of the previously eligible families who either cannot work or cannot find work due to factors beyond their control.
LEP Pathway helps limited English speaking refugees and immigrants find employment and economic success by providing them with access to job training and readiness programs, ESL classes, case management, and other social services.
Maintain funding for LEP Pathway program, a vital program that helps put refugees to work, thereby reducing or eliminating their need for public assistance. Expand educational and vocational opportunities available to LEP Pathway participants, including recertification for educated professionals.
Naturalization services provide low-income, elderly, and disabled refugees and immigrants who meet federal criteria with the resources they need to apply for and obtain U.S. citizenship.
We urge legislators to increase funding for naturalization services by $1,000,000, thereby helping refugees and immigrants to become active and engaged U.S. citizens.
Refugees and immigrants are a nearly invisible part of Washington’s homeless community, in large part because few end up on the streets or in shelters. Instead, most find temporary space with family or community members. High rents, low wages, and limited English language skills make it especially difficult for refugees and immigrants to find and keep housing. With stable housing, refugees and immigrants can focus on improving their lives through education and job training.
Maintain funding levels for the Housing and Essential Needs Program (HEN), Aged, Blind, and Disabled Program (ABD), and SSI Facilitation Services. These programs offer a safety net for people who are unable to work due to poor mental or physical health, helping them to avoid homelessness. Invest $10 million from the Supplemental Capital Budget in the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) to build and preserve safe, healthy, and affordable homes.
By 2025, 25% of Washington public school students will be English language learners (ELLs). In classrooms and on tests, ELLs consistently lag behind English-only students. Early learning and K-12 dual language programs represent the best evidence-based approach to meet the needs of ELLs and close the academic opportunity gap.
Expand the number of Early Learning and K-12 dual language programs in Washington state as a means of closing the academic opportunity gap. Increase the bilingual teaching workforce to provide all Washington students with the best opportunity to succeed.