January 2020 Community Newsletter
In this Issue: Assisting Iranian-Americans at the Border, NWIRP in the News, Upcoming Events and other Fundraisers
Assisting Iranian-Americans at the Border
This weekend, NWIRP executive director Jorge Barón traveled to the Customs and Border Patrol port of entry in Blaine, WA responding to reports of Iranian-American community members being subjected to questioning and delays by border patrol agents.
Here's what Jorge had to say:

"I arrived at the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) port of entry in Blaine on Sunday afternoon and met with three families who had ties to Iran; two were US citizens, the others were Legal Permanent Residents. One couple noted that there had been more families there earlier, one of whom had been held up for several hours. CBP claims that they were not 'detaining' people but this is only true if you define 'detain' to mean only to be placed in a locked room. These individuals were in a waiting area and could walk to the parking lot but were not free to go.

These families were not being allowed to enter the United States (their only home) and CBP was holding their passports so they couldn't go back to Canada even if they had wanted to do so. The people I made contact with there were held up for questioning for as long as 2 1/2 hours. But this wasn't as bad as it had been on Saturday. That evening I spoke to a permanent resident who spent 11 hours at this 'secondary screening' overnight along with over 40 others.

The only issue they all had in common (despite all being US citizens or Legal Permanent Residents) was their place of birth: Iran. By the time I left late that evening, all the people I had been in touch with had been allowed to continue their travels. I certainly had memories of January 2017 at SeaTac airport when the Muslim Ban was first implemented. I had to improvise with a hand-made sign (pictured above) to let people know help was available.

I wanted to share what I saw with you and confirm that border patrol agents were in fact engaged in a pattern of detaining (as in not letting into the country) Iranian-Americans for clearly extended periods of time in the past 36 hours."
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in the News
Groups demand answers after Iranians say they were detained
"Jorge Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said he went to the border crossing at Blaine, WA on Sunday in response to the reports."

Press conference with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
Yesterday, Jorge and other community partners participated in a press conference hosted by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal regarding the news of Iranian-American community members being held at the United States-Canada border check-point near Blaine, WA. (Jorge's comments begin at the 10:00-minute mark)

US Citizens from Iran were stopped and questioned at the US border while returning from Canada
"Matt Adams, legal director at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, whose group spoke with two families that were questioned, told BuzzFeed News the number of impacted community members was at least 40."

The Northwest turns up the heat on ICE, making it harder to arrest and deport immigrants
"ICE finds itself bedeviled by activists, attorneys and politicians in the Pacific Northwest who are determined to gum up the machinery of immigration enforcement."

Upcoming Events and NWIRP Fundraisers
Free public performance of 'Get On The Bus'
Sunday, January 19th at 3pm
The Pantages Theater, Tacoma
If you're in the Tacoma area, please join us for a free performance of 'Get On The Bus' as part of the Civil Rights Legacy Tour at Tacoma Arts Live!

Harp Concert featuring Sophie Baird-Daniel
Saturday, February 8th at 4pm
Temple De Hirsch Sinai's Seattle Campus
Praised for her "technicolor" sound, harpist Sophie Baird-Daniel is in high demand as a soloist and collaborator. This featured concert is free with a suggested donation of $18 per person with all proceeds being donated to Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project's Annual Gala
Friday, May 15th at 6pm
The Westin Seattle
We are proud to announce that our Annual Gala 2020 will take place on the evening of May 15th at the Westin in downtown Seattle. Ticket sales begin in late February.

'Daylight Forever' Book Release
by Mahvash Khajavi-Harvey
Proceeds to benefit NWIRP
Dr. Mahvash-Khajavi-Harvey is an Iranian-American immigrant and NWIRP supporter. Her upcoming book, Daylight Forever, is her inspiring immigration story of courage and perseverance. The book is set to be available on Amazon for purchase in 2-3 weeks as a physical and e-book release. A portion of the profits will be donated to NWIRP.

About Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
We believe that access to justice shouldn't depend on the size of your wallet or the country of your birth.

Since 1984, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) has defended and advanced the rights of immigrants through direct legal representation, community education, and systemic advocacy. NWIRP is one of the largest direct legal service providers to low-income immigrants in the United States and operates out of four offices in Washington State in Granger, Seattle, Tacoma, and Wenatchee.

Learn more at www.nwirp.org
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