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Seattle Announces Recipients Of Legal-Defense Fund For Immigrants

Six nonprofit organizations have been awarded grants from a $1.5 million legal-defense fund the City of Seattle has set up to help immigrants who face deportation or are in danger of losing their legal status.

Last spring, the Seattle City Council approved spending $1 million out of the general fund to set up the legal-defense fund. King County kicked in another $500,000.

On Monday, at a news conference in a 1930s building that once housed a federal detention center for immigrants, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced the grant recipients of the fund.

Receiving grants are Kids in Need of Defense, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project/Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, Filipino Community of Seattle, South Park Information and Referral Center and West African Community Council.

Murray said the fund was set up as a reaction to President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, like the administration's ban on travel from six predominantly Muslim countries to Trump's proposal to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Murray said those run counter to Seattle’s values as a diverse and welcoming city.

“With President Trump recently channeling neo-Nazi and KKK talking points about preserving white heritage, we are in a fight to defend Seattle’s status as an inclusive city, as a city that guarantees civil rights to all of its residents,” Murray said.

On the brick wall of the old Immigration and Naturalization Services building, directly behind where Murray spoke, was graffiti left by former detainees. On the wall, immigrants being held would  write their names, countries of birth and the date they were detained. 

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