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

Designed to help minimize the amount of deportations in the State of Washington, the Keep Washington Working Act disentangles the government of the State from the Federal government for immigration enforcement purposes. It effectively guarantees that he State will not play an active part in helping remove people from the United States. Initially proposed last year by Senator Wellman, the bill is well supported among the immigrant rights community. The initially proposed bill didn’t pass in the 2017-2018 legislative sessions.

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.
Find your Legislative District

In order to share your thoughts about upcoming bills, please contact your local state representative and state senator. Find your Legislative Districts