An appeal from our CEO – Urge WA lawmakers to come through for refugees

by | Feb 18, 2022 | Refugees & Immigrants

To the LCS Northwest community,

Helping refugees find their footing on the path to stability is a team effort. We couldn’t do it without fellow resettlement agencies and community-based organizations up and down the Interstate 5 corridor. We certainly couldn’t do it without friends like you.

And we’ll be hard pressed to keep doing this work at the highest level unless we see an investment from elected leaders in Olympia, real soon.

Here at LCSNW, we have welcomed nearly 700 new neighbors from Afghanistan to the Puget Sound, Vancouver and Portland areas over the last five months. We’re also planning for a resurgence in refugees from other countries; we’re already seeing a fresh wave of Ukrainian arrivals. Meantime, agencies like ours continue to rebuild refugee capacity that was lost during the last presidential administration.

This is why LCSNW has joined a chorus of Washington organizations in issuing an urgent appeal. And it’s why we need agency supporters like you to contact your senators and representatives before they complete this year’s supplemental state budget. Their short 2022 session is scheduled to end March 10.

Please join me by sending an email in favor of a $30 million budget request by Rep. My-Linh Thai. This proposal by Washington’s first refugee legislator, who fled Vietnam with her family as a child, will bolster our efforts on behalf of all refugees who need food, housing and other short-term support to start a new life. It will let us keep cultivating mutually enriching friendships, like the one that began Christmas Eve between the Stanakzai family and the South Hill Rotary Club. 

While you’re at it, please advocate for a separate $2.5 million budget request for refugee legal aid. This will help allay their well-founded fear of being displaced without a country once again.

Elected leaders to the south have already come through for refugees: The Oregon Legislature approved a bipartisan $18 million funding package in December. It’s not too much to ask their counterparts in Washington to support resettling nearly 3,000 Afghan arrivals, which is more than double what Oregon expects.

It is Washington’s turn to step up. Would you please email your legislators (here’s how to find them) and urge them to meet this moment? If you want to keep it simple, try this sentence: Please vote “yes” on a minimum of $30 million for refugee resettlement, and show that Washington won’t let down our allies in their time of need.

In Health, Justice and Hope –

David Duea

LCSNW President and CEO

If you haven’t watched the video about our Refugee Response efforts, you can find it here.

Gov. Jay Inslee pledged a welcoming Washington at an event at Sea-Tac Airport in October. Now it’s time for Inslee and the Washington Legislature to see it through with at least a $30 million state budget allocation for refugee resettlement. (Photo courtesy governor’s office)