The Stand

Budget plans include Immigrant Relief Fund

Thank your Washington state legislators for this important COVID-19 response


OLYMPIA (March 31, 2021) — Last week, Democratic leaders in the Washington State House of Representatives and the State Senate released their proposed budgets for the 2021-23 biennium. Both proposals place heavy emphasis on helping the people suffering the worst consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and both include something Washington’s labor movement and immigrants’ advocates have requested: significant funding for the state’s COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund.

The fund is in response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on immigrant communities, both in terms of higher infection rates and loss of employment/income during the pandemic. Many immigrants are essential workers in Washington’s biggest industries, including agriculture, construction and health ​​care. While most immigrants (regardless of immigration status) pay local, state and federal taxes, about 250,000 people in Washington state do not have access to any federal assistance, relief funds or unemployment benefits.

As the state receives billions in federal assistance via the American Rescue Plan, dedicating significant funding to extend the Immigrant Relief Fund launched by Gov. Jay Inslee last year is an important part of our state’s COVID-19 response and our economic recovery. The House Democrats’ budget proposal includes $340 million for the fund and the Senate proposal includes $300 million.

TAKE A STAND — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO joins the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network in urging all union members and community supporters to send a message to their state legislators thanking them for including the Immigrant Relief Fund in their proposed budgets, and urging its inclusion in the final budget.

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