Washington state sets aside $40M in relief for undocumented residents

Inslee

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle residents and Washingtonians applied for relief funds as the coronavirus pandemic diminished their incomes and savings. But for the state’s undocumented workers, that wasn’t an option.

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

“We’re excited to have a good chunk of money allocated to our community,” says Alejandra Perez, an immigration activist from the Seattle area who’s been working with the governor’s staff, “Even though our (original) ask was $100 million.”

Initially, the fund was a grassroots effort among several organizations to raise $100,000. That fund raised $5 million over the last several months.

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.

For those individuals and their mixed-status families the additional money means the opportunity to catch up on rent, car and utility bills, and other expenses.

Washington follows California and Oregon among that states developing relief funds for their undocumented residents.

The state next will look for a foundation or nonprofit to manage and distribute the money. The funds are expected to be distributed to immigrant families and individuals this fall with an estimated $3,000 per household and $1,000 per person.