Supporting Yakima's Immigrant Communities  |  News  |  Contact Us
Supporting Yakima's Immigrant Communities  |  News  |  Contact Us

Keep Washington Working Act

The Keep Washington Working Act

Establishes a statewide policy supporting Washington State’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace

More than 1 in 6 residents of Yakima County are foreign-born. Yakima County’s population is young and vibrant, with a median age 5 years younger than Washington State as a whole. [1]  Community members in Yakima have a vital role in ensuring that public officials comply with the Keep Washington Working Act (KWW).

As of May 21, 2019, all state agencies must comply with KWW.  The state Attorney General’s office is drafting model policies to ensure compliance that will be available by May 2020.  It is our responsibility to hold Yakima’s state and local officials accountable to comply with KWW.  Once the model policies are available, YIRN will release additional information on how community members can help monitor local agencies’ compliance with KWW.

Protect All Washington Residents – KWW prohibits state agencies from inquiring into or conditioning services on an individual’s place of birth, immigration or citizenship status, unless expressly required under federal or state law. No one may be denied services, benefits, privileges or opportunities due to presence of an ICE detainer, notification request, or immigration warrant.

Ensure Public Safety – Yakima County’s contract to detain immigrants for ICE/CBP will terminate on December 31, 2021. As of May 21, 2019, local and state law enforcement agencies are PROHIBITED FROM:

  • Detaining someone solely to determine immigration or citizenship status;
  • Taking or holding someone in custody based on a civil immigration warrant;
  • Providing non-public personal information to ICE or CBP, including people on probation;
  • Giving ICE or CBP access to interview people in custody, unless the detained person has given written consent;
  • Asking about or collecting information on immigration or citizenship status at arrest. Detained people are not required to disclose their place of birth, immigration or citizenship status, unless they choose to exercise their right to contact their consulate if they are a noncitizen; 
  • Providing ICE or CBP notification of a person’s date and/or time of release from custody;
  • Entering into an agreement with the federal government to deputize local law enforcement agents to enforce federal immigration laws;
  • Entering into an agreement with the federal government to detain noncitizens for ICE or CBP;
  • Contract for, or accept for free, language services from ICE or CBP.

[1] Source:  www.yakimavalleytrends.org

Download this Summary of the Keep Washington Working Act

 

The bill was signed Into Law by Governor Inslee on May 21, 2019!

The law:

  1. Forms a statewide workgroup that must work to help attract immigrants to Washington state and keep immigrants who are working in Washington State here, this group is made up of business and immigrant constituency groups.
  2. Directs the Attorney General to publish model policies for limiting immigration enforcement at facilities operated by the state, political subdivision, court houses, shelters, and other sensitive places.
  3. Directs specific state agencies to review their confidentiality polices and identify changes necessary in order to make sure the agency is not compiling data which may be used by immigration enforcement agencies.
  4. Prohibits state agencies to use their resources to investigate, enforce, cooperate with, or assist immigration enforcement agencies.
  5. Clarifies that local policies officers do not have a primary purpose of enforcing federal immigration laws.
  6. Stops the spread of using local jails to hold immigration detainees. 
  7. Prohibits state agencies from asking about immigration status or to provide personal information to the government except where it is in relation to a criminal investigation.
  8. Prohibits local law enforcement agencies from giving federal immigration enforcement agencies access to interview people in custody in noncriminal matters.
  9. Prohibits local law enforcement agencies from transferring or holding individuals for federal immigration authorities.
  10. Prohibits local law enforcement agencies from detaining, taking into custody, denying service or placing people into federal custody solely because of immigration status.
  11. Enshrines the right of consular notification into state law, which is the right to notify your home country’s government if you are detained.
  12. Has strong language to protect the law from coming into conflict with Federal law or precedent.

All in all, the law works to make sure that the State of Washington plays no role in federal immigration enforcement, which will likely reduce the amount of people who are deported every year among those who are not convicted of crimes.

Know Your Rights under KWW
Download the PDF – English & Spanish

More specific information from the Washington Defenders Association

 

History of the Bill 

SB 5497 – 2019-20 and HB 1815 – 2019-20  – Establishing a statewide policy supporting Washington state’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace.
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