Gov. Inslee announces funds to support undocumented workers

Gov. Jay Inslee yesterday announced the creation of two funds to help workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Washingtonians applied for relief funds as the coronavirus pandemic diminished their incomes and savings, the state’s undocumented workers, that wasn’t an option.

 The Northwest News Network reports after months of pressure from immigration activists and organizations, Gov. Jay Inslee is launching a $40 million state fund for undocumented workers. 

  • The Immigrant Relief Fund will provide $40 million to assist Washington residents who are unable to access federal stimulus programs due to their immigration status yet are among those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
  • The Food Production Paid Leave Program will provide $3 million of financial resources to certain food production workers who remain home when ill.

The governor and his staff worked closely with a coalition representing 430 immigrant rights and social services organizations, and labor advocacy leaders, to develop the funds.

Seattle area immigration activist Alejandra Perezsays she’s excited to have the money allocated to the community although their original ask was $100 million. 

Washington has an estimated 240,000 residents without legal authorization, according to the Pew Research Center, and they pay an estimated $368 million in state and local taxes.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has issued a request for proposals to select a nonprofit that will administer the Immigrant Relief Fund. The institution will then partner with community organizations to manage applications and awards of $1,000 per eligible individual. Initial awards are expected to be made later in the fall.    

Read the governor’s press release for more details and see information about the RFP.