February 2020 Community Newsletter
In this Issue: How the Muslim Ban Harms Families, NWIRP in the News, Upcoming Events and Fundraisers, and How You Can Take a Stand for Immigrants
The Expanded Muslim Ban Targets Africans and Low-Income Immigrants
Last week was the three-year anniversary of the President's racist and unjust Muslim Ban. And last Friday, the President announced that he was expanding the scope of the ban . Immigration from Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar will now be virtually impossible. Furthermore, immigrants from Sudan and Tanzania are now excluded from participating in the diversity visa lottery. Each of these countries have significant Muslim populations, including Myanmar, whose Rohingya Muslims are fleeing genocide. This exclusionary policy also means that spouses and children of permanent residents or U.S. citizens who are currently in these countries will be kept from their loved ones.
We have already seen how this ban has harmed members of our community in the past three years. Recently, we spoke with former NWIRP client Sanaz Neissani about how the ban has impacted her family:

"The President's awful travel ban has become the biggest issue in our life. It’s caused me so much depression. My parents cannot come to visit. My father has been to the US many times and has never had any issues but now he can’t come visit. He hasn’t been able to come for three years. He’s been told that he shouldn’t be worried because his son in-law is an American born citizen who can apply again for him to come for a visit, and they still deny the visa for no valid reason. They just deny the visa because of where they are from.

My mother applied for her green card and it took two years to be scheduled for an interview. Such a lengthy process. But she did everything she needed to do. She went to the interview which was difficult because there isn’t an American embassy in Iran so she had to travel to another country to do the interview. It was very time consuming and costly. She goes to it and there is no explanation, she is just categorically denied. They told her she isn’t a threat at all but that she just can’t get it because of where she’s from. The two experiences were so negative and racist. 

This is causing millions of Iranians in Tehran who are communicating problems. There is only one lawyer who is helping people who are affected by this travel ban. My father has not seen his grandchildren since they were born. And my son has autism and needs special attention and we really needed one of my parents to be able to visit to help us out so that one of us could find a job at the time. Even more so now that kids are older and my son needs just gets bigger with him growing. My husband, who is American, and needs help, can’t even have his in-laws who are Iranian come and take care of their grandchildren while it is needed the most, just because of their nationality? It’s awful and against the humanity values that were respected in America before. We are being so marginalized simply because of where we are from and it’s unfair. This country considers itself the best country in the world and we don’t even have a way for families to stay together?"
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in the News
Washington could become the next state to ban private prisons
Under the bill, Washington state’s one private detention facility, the Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma, would continue to detain people only for the duration of its contract, which expires in 2025.

Marysville pays $85,000 over immigrant’s detention
The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project sued on behalf of Enrique Ahumada Meza. Ahumada was arrested on a fourth-degree assault charge in late 2017.

Blaine lawyer: CBP memo appears to order border stops of Iranian Americans, others from Middle East
A Blaine immigration lawyer said Thursday he has obtained what appears to be a photocopied memo from the Seattle Field Office of Customs and Border Protection directing officers to vet Iranian and Lebanese nationals, among others, including people of any nationality who had traveled to Iran or Lebanon.

Upcoming Events and NWIRP Fundraisers
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.

Immigration 101 Training with ASL Interpretation
Tuesday, February 11th at 10am
Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center in Tacoma
Come to this workshop to learn more here about your rights as an immigrant. We will also discuss what to do if you are approached by ICE and what you and your family can do to prepare. ASL interpretation provided by HSDC.

Public Charge Workshop for Service Providers
Monday, February 24th at 9am
Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
We're teaming up with the  Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs  (OIRA) for this free training about the "public charge" rule that goes into effect on February 24, 2020.

The information available at this workshop is intended for health care workers, case managers, teachers/school personnel, community organizers, and anyone who serves immigrant and refugee communities.

Join Us for a Seattle Solidarity Social at Machine House Brewing
Please join NWIRP’s Seattle staff on Thursday, March 5th at 5:30pm for a free solidarity social at the Machine House Brewery in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood.

We will enjoy delicious drinks, food, and conversation about how we are keeping families together, protecting survivors of violence, and providing new opportunities for immigrants in our community. Accessibility info and RSVP at link below.

Help Us Push Back on the Administration's Attacks on Low-Income Immigrants
Late last year, the Trump Administration published a proposal that would increase the fees immigrant community members have to pay to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a wide range of immigration applications.

USCIS is proposing these fee increases without any meaningful evidence that they would relieve case processing delays or otherwise improve services. In fact, the proposal seeks to shift some of these funds to pay for some ICE enforcement activities.

The deadline to submit public comments opposing these fee hikes and related changes has been extended through February 10th.

We hope you will join us in urging the Administration to withdraw this proposal by submitting a personalized comment through the template below, which was prepared by our colleagues at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Please take a moment to submit your comment today.

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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