News

Update: Federal Judge Blocked the Public Charge Rule’s Implementation

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court granted the Trump Administration permission to implement the Public Charge rule. This decision would have allowed the government to evaluate a green card applicant’s request for legal status based on their past use of public benefits, among other criteria, and determine if they are likely to become a “public charge” in the future.

In late July, a federal judge blocked the Public Charge rule’s implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic. While USCIS has said that immigrants will not be penalized for seeking COVID-19 medical treatment and services, policies that have come out of the Trump Administration typically target immigrants. This order’s significance is to protect immigrants and ensure they have access to testing and treatment, especially those with no health care coverage.

Yesenia’s Story

We followed up with Yesenia*, a participant from our Youth Job Readiness Training (YJRT) program, to see how her internship is going.

I have been interning at my site remotely, and the experience has been positive. In July alone, I completed 60 hours. On a typical day, I contact program participants by phone and send emails to complete their intake forms or provide training for them. I like my supervisor’s management style and his willingness to help me address any work issues. I also like the people I work with directly.

When I reflect on my time as a YJRT participant, I recognize how the training program has prepared me for my internship. For example, I had learned PowerPoint in school, but through YJRT and my internship, I am applying my PowerPoint knowledge in my work tasks. We also use Excel at my internship, which I am learning.

The YJRT Coordinator, Jeritza, provided invaluable tips on becoming more ready for a job, some of which were tips I have only learned through this training program at El Centro de la Raza. For example, she helped me prepare my first resume. Before that, I had never seen one, so I did not know how to start creating mine. Also, she gave us tips on doing well in an interview and approaching a supervisor about an issue. There is a proper way to do it.

Overall, I have found that my typing speed has increased, and I am more confident in using computers.

*Name has been changed. This interview has been edited for clarity.

Suzy’s Story

Suzy is a recent graduate of the Unidos At Work program. She decided to enroll in our virtual course during the pandemic to become more self-sufficient, be prepared for her future career, and achieve her dreams. Suzy commented that Unidos At Work was convenient for her because of the evening sessions, allowing her to be more engaged because she does not have to be concerned with child care, transportation, and breaking quarantine.

Unidos At Work opened her eyes to the vastness of technology – all in her home’s comfort. Suzy has gained new skills through this program and is motivated to find a new job and live a better life for her children. She said, “This is a highway that never ends. I am always curious to learn new things for my future career. I also want to know how to help my son whenever he starts school.”

She has many dreams, one of which is to work for either Microsoft or Google. She also wants to launch an online business selling handcrafted art. She said, “I am super grateful for my Unidos At Work experience because I learned many things from the professional and motivational coaches, Oscar and Juan Pablo. They make a great team. My message to future Unidos At Work participants is: Time is gold. If I can do it, you can do it. Follow your dreams.

Struggling Parent Finds Hope Amid COVID

Last year, the Molina Segura* family enrolled in our Parents As Teachers program. Throughout the program, both parents were involved in the developmental growth of their daughter, Susana*. They were thrilled to see Susana’s growing independence, autonomy, and confidence.

Then the pandemic hit.

Both parents were out of work, and they struggled to find ways to improve their situation. Our program staff (known as Parent Educators) provided them with resource assistance through the Parents As Teachers program, such as our food bank, financial empowerment, ESL classes, and tax help. The father accepted temporary jobs during the quarantine, but the hours were limited. He began taking online courses to improve his English and earn his GED.

In June, the Parent Educators helped prepare him for a job interview, and he was hired as a paint technician! Susana is now two-years-old and has exceeded the developmental milestones for her age, including motor, social-emotional, language, and cognitive areas. She wants to do things for herself, and her mother encourages her along the way.

*Name has been changed.

Providing Assistance to Families Not Eligible For Benefits

Due to the extension of Washington’s Safe Start Phased Reopening proclamation, our staff recognize that many families have reached their limits. While families understand this extension’s importance, they continue to face unemployment and fall behind on their rent. More family participants than ever face the dilemma of paying rent or buying food. Families to which we have previously provided emergency assistance have called to ask about receiving aid a second time. The combination of limited funding and the widespread needs emerging from the pandemic makes it challenging to do.

Landlords continue to intimidate family participants by reminding them that they are subjected to pay in full their outstanding rent balance. Families with leases are also concerned because their payments have increased due to late charges. We refer these cases to CLEAR or Tenants Union.

We estimate that 90% of these families do not qualify for emergency benefits during the past five months, making them the most vulnerable population during the pandemic. Participants have been filing claims every week for the last four months with no success. Our staff have appealed to the Employment Security Department requesting that an employee contact participants and review their benefits application. In the meantime, staff continue to provide emergency assistance and information about resources.

Impact of the El Paso Shooting on November 3

August 3 marked the first anniversary of the devastating El Paso shooting. Words are never adequate for tragedies, including this one. We share in the sadness of the victims’ friends and families, most of whom were people of color. The gunman’s manifesto posted shortly before the shooting read, “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” In UnidosUS’ poll of Latino voters, gun violence is among the community’s top five issues.

President Trump’s leadership strategy uses primarily anti-immigrant rhetoric to inspire hate crimes and domestic terrorism. On the global stage, Trump represents our country by dehumanizing the Latino community. He has abused his executive powers to separate families at the southern border, implement the Public Charge rule, discourage immigrant and refugee communities from being counted in the 2020 Census, and attack DACA, among many other strategies to keep communities of color down.

There is courage in sorrow and action. As we remember this tragedy, let us stand together in our collective power to vote for candidates whose priority is to bring the country together. This General Election on November 3, let us elect leaders who want to protect immigrants and asylum seekers. The deadline to register or update your voter registration online or by mail is Monday, October 26.

Click for more information. Click to update your address and register to vote. For questions or more information, please contact Mandela via email at volunteer@elcentrodelaraza.org.

Major Updates to the Census / Cambios en la lĂ­nea cronolĂłgica general

Timeline changes:
The Census Bureau will end its field data collection by September 30 – one month earlier than planned – after being pressured by the current administration. This change was made to meet the December 31 deadline for transmitting the state population totals used for congressional apportionment to the president. This new date gives only six weeks for non-response follow up, making it a critical time to ensure our historically undercounted communities are represented in the Census. The self-response options will also close on that date. If you have not responded to the Census already, you must do so now by visiting https://my2020Census.gov/.

Non-Response Follow Up:
As of July 30, Census takers have started to visit households on the west side of the Cascades. Enumerators will begin visiting homes on the east side of the state on August 11. A Census taker knocks on your door to help you fill out the Census and maintain resources that already exist in your community. The interview is quick, easy, and vital to your neighborhood’s next ten years of resources.

For communities who are hesitant to open their doors to officials, the Census Bureau has published several ways to identify if someone is a Census taker or Census Bureau employee:

  • The Census taker will present an ID badge that includes: their name, photograph, a Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date.
  • Census takers and field representatives conduct work only between 9 am and 9 pm, local time.
  • They will have an official Census Bureau-issued device, such as laptops or smartphones, with the Census Bureau logo.
  • A Census taker will never ask for your social security number or banking information.
  • You can also enter the name of the Census taker in the Census Bureau Staff Search.

If you have questions about a Census taker’s identity, you can call 844-330-2020 to speak with a Census Bureau representative.

Census Emails:
The Census Bureau recently announced that they would send emails out to residents who live in Census blocks with a 50% response rate or less. Previous messaging from the Census said that they would not contact individuals by email. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau has adapted its outreach methods to ensure a complete, accurate count.  

Recipients will receive emails from the email address 2020Census@subscriptions.Census.gov that will invite them to respond to the Census online. Only households that have given the Census Bureau or commercial list their contact information will receive these email invitations. The Census Bureau is also considering sending out text messages, though no decision has been announced.

The President and the Census:
On July 21, President Trump signed a memorandum to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted for congressional apportionment. This proposal is unconstitutional as the 14th Amendment requires a count of “all persons” in the United States. The Justice Department, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, has confirmed that apportionment is based on the number of persons living in each state without regard to citizenship status.

The Pew Research Center estimates that if undocumented immigrants were excluded from apportionment, at least three states (California, Florida, and Texas) would lose a House seat. At least three lawsuits have been filed challenging the memorandum. The memorandum does not change which questions are asked on the Census or the protections that keep personally identifiable data for at least 72 years.

The president’s memorandum seeks to shift political representation away from places with large immigrant communities by defying the Census’ constitutional mandate to ensure that each state is represented in proportion to their population. Furthermore, the memorandum is an attempt to suppress Census participation and skew the congressional map, making it more critical than ever that marginalized communities, regardless of citizenship status, participate in the 2020 Census by September 30.

Cambios en la lĂ­nea cronolĂłgica general:
La Oficina del Censo finalizará su recopilación de datos el 30 de septiembre, un mes antes de lo planeado – este resulta después de ser presionados por la administración actual. Este cambio se realizó en un intento por cumplir con la fecha límite del 31 de diciembre para transmitir los totales de la población estatal utilizados para el reparto del Congreso al presidente. Esta nueva fecha solo da seis semanas para el seguimiento sin respuesta, que es un momento crítico para garantizar que nuestras comunidades que históricamente menos contadas estén representadas en el Censo. Las opciones de auto-respuesta también se cerrarán en esa fecha. Si aún no ha respondido al Censo, debe hacerlo ahora visitando https://my2020Census.gov/.

Seguimiento sin respuesta:
A partir del 30 de julio, los encuestadores del censo han comenzado a visitar hogares en el lado oeste de las Cascadas. Los enumeradores comenzarán a visitar hogares en el lado este del estado el 11 de agosto. Un encuestador del censo llegara a su puerta para ayudarlo a completar el censo para mantener los recursos que ya existen en su comunidad. La entrevista es rápida, fácil y vital para los próximos diez años de recursos en su vecindario.

Para las comunidades que dudan en abrir sus puertas a los funcionarios, la Oficina del Censo ha publicado una lista de varias formas de identificar si alguien es un empleado del Censo o empleado de la Oficina del Censo:

  • El encuestador del censo presentará una credencial de identificaciĂłn que incluye: su nombre, fotografĂ­a, una marca de agua del Departamento de Comercio y la fecha de vencimiento.
  • Los encuestadores del censo y los representantes de campo realizan el trabajo solo entre las 9 am y las 9 pm, hora local.
  • Tendrán un dispositivo oficial emitido por la Oficina del Censo, como una computadora portátil o un telĂ©fono que tenga el logotipo de la Oficina del Censo.
  • Un encuestador del Censo nunca le pedirá su nĂşmero de seguro social o informaciĂłn bancaria.
  • TambiĂ©n puede ingresar el nombre del encuestador del censo en la BĂşsqueda de personal de la Oficina del Censo.

Si tiene preguntas o dudas sobre la identidad de un encuestador del Censo, puede llamar al 844-330-2020 para hablar con un representante de la Oficina del Censo

Correos electrĂłnicos del censo:
La Oficina del Censo anunció recientemente que enviarían correos electrónicos a los residentes que viven en los bloques del Censo que tienen una tasa de respuesta del 50% o menos. Los mensajes anteriores del Censo decían que no contactarían a las personas por correo electrónico. Sin embargo, debido a la pandemia de COVID-19, la Oficina del Censo ha adaptado sus métodos de divulgación para garantizar un recuento completo y preciso.

Los destinatarios recibirán correos electrĂłnicos de la direcciĂłn de la cuenta 2020Census@subscriptions.Census.gov  que los invitará a responder al Censo en lĂ­nea. Solo las familias que le hayan dado a la Oficina del Censo o a la lista comercial su informaciĂłn de contacto recibirán estas invitaciones por correo electrĂłnico. La Oficina del Censo tambiĂ©n está considerando enviar mensajes de texto, aunque no se ha anunciado ninguna decisiĂłn.

El presidente y el censo:
El 21 de julio, el presidente Trump firmĂł un memorando para excluir a los inmigrantes indocumentados de ser contados para el reparto del Congreso. Esta propuesta es inconstitucional ya que la Enmienda 14 requiere un recuento de “todas las personas” que viven en los Estados Unidos. El Departamento de Justicia, bajo las administraciones demĂłcratas y republicanas, ha confirmado que el reparto se basa en el nĂşmero de personas que viven en cada estado sin tener en cuenta el estado de ciudadanĂ­a.

El Pew Research Center estima que si los inmigrantes indocumentados fueran excluidos del reparto, al menos tres estados (California, Florida y Texas) perderían un asiento en la Cámara de los Representantes. Al menos tres demandas han sido presentadas desafiando el memorándum.

El memorando no cambia qué preguntas se hacen en el Censo o las protecciones que mantienen los datos de identificación personal durante al menos 72 años. El memorando del presidente busca desviar la representación política de lugares con grandes comunidades de inmigrantes desafiando el mandato constitucional del Censo para garantizar que cada estado esté representado en proporción a su población. El memorándum es un intento de suprimir la participación en el Censo y sesgar el mapa del Congreso. Con esto en mente, es más importante que nunca que las comunidades marginadas, independientemente de su condición de ciudadanía, participen en el Censo 2020.

Override Mayor’s Veto on JumpStart COVID Relief Bill

We need your help. Please join us now in calling on Seattle City Council to override Mayor Durkan’s veto of the JumpStart Seattle COVID relief bill and urge the Mayor to appropriate the money for emergency relief needed for our immigrant and refugee communities. Take a few minutes to take action in two ways by: 

  • Signing onto this petition. If the Mayor vetoes a bill, it is sent back to the City Council for reconsideration, and the City Council may override the veto by a two-thirds vote.
  • Emailing your Councilmembers and Mayor Durkan using the sample message below. 

Before you begin composing your email to your Councilmembers and Mayor Durkan,

1. Identify or verify which Councilmembers represent you based on your address: https://www.seattle.gov/council/meet-the-council/find-your-district-and-councilmembers.

District 1 – Lisa Herbold: lisa.herbold@seattle.gov

District 2 – Tammy Morales: tammy.morales@seattle.gov

District 3 – Kshama Sawant: kshama.sawant@seattle.gov

District 4 – Alex Pedersen: alex.pedersen@seattle.gov

District 5 – Debora Juarez: debora.juarez@seattle.gov

District 6 – Dan Strauss: dan.strauss@seattle.gov

District 7 – Andrew Lewis: andrew.lewis@seattle.gov

District 8 (city-wide) – Teresa Mosqueda: teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov

District 9 (city-wide) – Lorena González: lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov

2. Create a new email with the following components:

To: {Your district councilmember’s email address goes here; see above}, teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov; lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov; jenny.durkan@seattle.gov

Subject line: Override Mayor’s Veto of JumpStart Bill

Sample message (edit as you see fit):

Councilmembers and Mayor Durkan,

I urge you to reaffirm your unanimous vote on the JumpStart COVID relief bill as soon as possible.

Our communities need support now. Federal and state aid, though vital, continues to be inadequate, particularly for immigrants and refugees who are not eligible to receive emergency assistance. The longer the city waits to act, the more families accrue rental debt and risk eviction, children suffer from food insecurity, immigrant families have nowhere to turn, small businesses go under, and our neighbors experiencing homelessness risk illness or death from COVID-19.

To let this happen is irresponsible and will delay Seattle’s economic recovery. The fallout will be felt for years, perhaps even longer for immigrant and refugee households working in food services and domestic household services. Families are clinging to hope because JumpStart Seattle is the lifeline they need. It is irresponsible to leave families high and dry without emergency assistance and with no relief in sight. They have already been excluded from four bipartisan federal pandemic relief packages.

Please act swiftly to override Mayor Durkan’s veto and authorize $18 million this year for direct financial assistance for immigrant and refugee households and language access support for people who need help accessing and understanding assistance programs. 

The rainy day is here. It is happening right now.

Thank you,

{Your full name goes here}
{Your district number goes here}

3. Send your email.

Things to Know about August Primary

“Voting is not only our right – it is our power.” –Loung Ung

A major election is coming up, and we at El Centro de la Raza want to make sure that you have the information you need to participate. We believe that participation in our democratic electoral process is an indelible part of our society, and now more than ever, we need the community to make their voices heard.

Please read below for important reminders and information on how to get out the vote!

Primary Election – August 4
The next Primary election is Tuesday, August 4! In this election, voters will choose their top candidates for Washington State Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and nine other state-level positions. In addition, voters will choose US Representatives for up to four congressional districts, State Senators and Representatives for up to 17 Legislative Districts, and up to three Ballot Measures for King County. It will be a large and important election for us in Washington!

Do YOU know where to go to register? You can do it: 

The last day to register to vote online or by mail for the August 4 Primary election is TODAY, Monday, July 27! After today, you must register to vote in person by visiting your local voter center in order to be eligible to vote by election day. Find your nearest voter center here. Please note that, in keeping with public safety measures, voting centers will be limited in availability and may have increased wait times and capacity restrictions, so it is highly recommended that you register online today if possible!

Ask all your friends if they are registered to vote!

Who Can Register to Vote
To register to vote in Washington, you must be: 

  • A citizen of the United States 
  • Currently living Washington State
  • At least 18 years old by election day 
  • Not disqualified from voting due to a court order
  • Not under Department of Corrections supervision for a Washington felony conviction 

Read more about who can vote in Washington. 

Already registered? Turn in Your Ballot
For those of you who are already registered and have received your ballot in the mail – you are halfway there! Submitting your ballot is now more convenient than ever! You have three ways to turn your ballot in:

  • At a designated drop box: There are drop boxes located throughout King County. Locate your nearest drop box here. Drop boxes close at 7:59pm on election day!
  • By mail: All ballot envelopes are stamped, addressed, and ready to be sent via postal mail – just make sure you give your ballot time to arrive at your voting center by Election Day! We recommend dropping your ballot in the mail by the Friday before Election Day to make sure it gets postmarked in time to be counted. If you are in doubt, use a dropbox instead.
  • In person at your local voter center. Voter centers open in King County during the weeks leading up to local elections. Find your nearest voter center here.

If you are registered to vote and HAVE NOT yet received your ballot in the mail, contact King County Elections at (206) 296-VOTE (8683) or elections@kingcounty.gov

Did You Know?
Washington State mail-in ballots require that voters sign the outside of their ballot envelope prior to returning it. If a signature is missing or is done improperly it can delay the counting of your ballot, and even the results of the election. Do not let this happen to you! Make sure you sign the return envelope of your ballot before returning it. Please contact elections@kingcounty.gov or call 206-296-VOTE (8683) if you need assistance.

Volunteer With Us
We are so thankful to our volunteers, who have helped us spread the word about the importance of voting throughout King County. They have gone to events, agency programs, and have even taken to the phones to help the community register vote. 

Are you interested in volunteering in voter registration at El Centro De La Raza? Email volunteer@elcentrodelaraza.org for more information!

Support Additional 0.2% Sales Tax for Transit

Currently, Seattle has a 0.1% sales tax + $60 car tabs to help pay for about 300,000 hours in bus service annually. A new proposal is on the table for the November ballot: a 0.1% tax, without the car tabs, which would result in 80,000 hours instead of 300,000. Due to the loss in car tab revenue, it is possible that neighborhoods in the south end could lose their bus routes. This disruption would be devastating to our communities that have been pushed out of the city due to housing affordability issues.

The Seattle Transportation Benefit District (SBTD) is a sales tax created by the City of Seattle that creates revenue for transit service. As the SBTD sets to expire this year, the City Council is voting to continue SBTD so that there is a 0.1% sales tax. The revenue from this tax will fund fare affordability programs, such as the free youth fare, purchasing service hours from Metro, and alternative solutions for West Seattle Commuters. With the passage of I-976 last year, our transit infrastructure is facing a major deficit and could stand to lost 300,000 bus service hours – which will be devastating to communities of color and low-income communities reliant on public transit. SBTD is essential to not only maintaining transit infrastructure but also the quality of life for many of our communities

We understand that there might be an amendment to increase SBTD from 0.1% to a 0.2% sales tax. While we must acknowledge that any sales tax is regressive and disproportionately puts the burden on low-income and working class Seattle residents, our communities also stand the most to lose from transit cuts. Many of our essential workers are reliant on bus service hours and fare affordability. Knowing that our communities need affordable and expansive public transit, we support this amendment with the caveat that revenue raised from SBTD prioritizes bus service hours and the maintenance of transit routes on the south end (such as the 7, 36, and 106). SBTD must prioritize and meet the needs of our most vulnerable communities through a robust racial equity lens.

There are two ways to take action right now:

  1. Please urge your councilmembers to vote for the additional funds proposed by Councilmember Tammy Morales. Take 30 seconds to send them your letter of support using this form.
  2. Organizations and individuals can show support for SBTD by signing up to give public comment at the City Council meeting on Monday, July 27, at 2 PM (and/or provide written comment) here: http://www.seattle.gov/council/committees/public-comment.