Updates: How We Are Responding to ICE Raids

For the month of July, we have two major updates to share. First, in response to the imminent ICE raids, we have been meeting with various local stakeholder groups to ensure that our community members know what to do in the event of an ICE encounter. Second, we have been working alongside our partners to include an automatic adjustment for inflation in all Human Services Department contracts.

How We Are Responding to ICE Raids
Today, immigrant communities are hunkering down yet again to prepare for imminent ICE raids. Adults are avoiding seeking care for their health. Families are practicing their religion behind closed doors. Children are not getting the education they deserve because they are afraid to attend school.

These instances of what widespread fear can do to children and families must cease immediately. Recently, Senator Patty Murray introduced a bill titled Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, effectively blocking ICE raids from happening at schools and churches. The bill codifies the Department of Homeland Security’s existing policies and expands them to ensure that immigrants are able to access education, criminal justice, and social services without fear of deportation.

As a Sensitive Location since 2017, by definition, immigration enforcement activities are prohibited on El Centro de la Raza’s campus. It is critical that community members safely seek services. To that end, we have met with school district administrators, healthcare professionals, rabbis, and other nonprofit leaders to be better prepared for potential ICE encounters. To date, we provided two Know Your Rights trainings in Spanish over the radio. This outreach method allows us to reach thousands of people. Currently, we are building relationships with rabbis and Jewish organizations to declare synagogues as a Sensitive Location. It is important that community members can take sanctuary in a synagogue as well as other places of worship. This work is not easy, but it is necessary. Raids have no place in our schools, churches, daycares, community centers, places of worship – much less our country. We applaud the leadership of Senator Patty Murray and fellow community partners.

To learn more about Sensitive Locations, click here for the toolkit, which includes a list of FAQs. We are also offering workshops. For the schedule, please contact Adriana Ortiz-Serano, our Sensitive Locations Project Coordinator, via email at aortiz@elcentrodelaraza.org or by phone at 206-717-0089.

Automatic Adjustment for Inflation to HSD Contracts
Mil gracias to our allies who supported and rallied for the City’s historic piece of legislation to ensure nonprofits’ contracts with the Human Services Department (HSD) keep pace with inflation. Seattle City councilmembers voted unanimously for this law said to be the first of its kind in the country. The City recognized the work we are doing on their behalf to make our community a better place. While this law does not compensate all nonprofit contractors fairly, we are proud of this milestone because it is a step in the right direction. To send a thank-you note to your councilmembers, click here.