FREE Citizenship Assistance and Immigration Consultations

FREE Citizenship Assistance and Immigration Consultations
Seattle United for Immigrants and Refugees
Hosted by the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Seattle Center, and partners

Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 10 AM
Exhibition Hall at Seattle Center 301 Mercer Street, Seattle, WA 98109

This event is open to anyone who needs assistance with completing their citizenship application or needs to talk to an immigration attorney.

To be able to apply for U.S. citizenship, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have had your green card for 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen).

When you come to the event, you must bring:

  • Your green card.
  • ALL your immigration documents: Proof of income: 2017 tax return, recent pay stubs, public benefits letters (SNAP, Apple Health or SSI).
  • Complete home address history, employment/school history, and travel dates outside the U.S. for the last 5 years.

Come prepared! Here is a list of what you need to bring with you.

Sign up for a time slot Walk-ins are also welcome.

To share via social media:

You can link to our Facebook event page: 

You can retweet our pinned Twitter post:

To share via real life:

You can download the flyers here:
Outreach Postcard A (Korean, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese) 

Outreach Postcard B (Amharic, French, Oromo, Somali, Tigrinya) 

Become an Outreach Ambassador:

Outreach Ambassadors formally commit to help us share information with communities so they know about the mega-workshop and have the documents they need to successfully complete their citizenship applications. Our hope is that hundreds of you will become Outreach Ambassadors and help us connect these important services to the people who need them. As an ambassador, you will also be recognized on our website.

Click here for more detailed information about becoming a Seattle United Outreach Ambassador.

Ready to help us make the event a success? Click here to fill out our Outreach Ambassador commitment form.

Whew! Thanks for reading this far down! -Elsa

Elsa Batres-Boni
Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
t  206.727.8819
facebook  /iandraffairs
twitter    @iandraffairs

Open Enrollment For Health Insurance Begins Tomorrow, November 1

The most important thing to know is that the Affordable Care Act makes it difficult for insurance companies to deny coverage during the open enrollment period. Pre-existing conditions cannot be used against you; financial or employment history cannot be used against you, and coverage options are available for many in the criminal justice-involved population as well (see footnote 1). The days of insurance companies denying coverage because they don’t like a person’s health history are mercifully behind us.

The second most important thing to know is that affordable health insurance is available. According to the AARP, a King County household with two adults and two children with annual income of $50,000 can purchase a Silver Plan for about $276 per month. This is possible because such a household qualifies for an estimated $423 per month in premium assistance from the government. The same household making $35,000 qualifies for $591 in premium assistance, paying an estimated $108 per month for all four members. And insurance companies cannot raise your premiums during the year if you get sick. You can explore the subsidy calculator by clicking here:

It cannot be stressed enough that you must apply during the open enrollment period. If you miss the open enrollment period, it will be very difficult to gain coverage before next year’s open enrollment period. There are good reasons for this, so don’t wait.

So tell your family, friends, and co-workers. Let’s make this the first year where everybody in Washington has access to health care.

Key dates:
date          event
Nov 1        Open enrollment begins. Coverage begins January 1
Dec 15      last day to get insurance that begins January 1
Jan 15      Open enrollment ends.*

You may hear often that Dec 15 is the last day of Open Enrollment. That’s true in many states, but not Washington. Washington is one of eleven states that runs its own health care exchanges and exchange administrators keep the open enrollment period going until January 15th. (if you miss the Dec 15 “soft deadline”, your coverage will start after January 15th, so sign up today to get covered by January 1).

footnote 1: 

ACA Open Enrollment 2018

Contrary to the current political machinations, the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. To get health care coverage for calendar year 2018, you must enroll between November 1, 2017 and December 15, 2017.

What should I do? Get started now. There are many resources available to help you enroll in coverage. You will probably need to fill out multiple forms so it’s best to be prepared. Toll-free support is available at 1-855-923-4633; TTY 1-855-627-9604. Language assistance and disability accommodations are provided at no cost.

Visit This is the official site maintained by Washington State. It has many resources, including online enrollment, links to navigators who can assist in choosing a plan, and brokers. These resources are free of charge.

What happens if I miss open enrollment? It will be difficult for you to get health care coverage in 2018. Generally speaking, you need a life event to re-open a “qualification window.” An example of a life event is losing your job or having a baby. So it’s really important to apply for coverage during the open enrollment window.

But I’m not sure I can afford it. You may be eligible for premium assistance depending on your income. When you fill out your application, part of the process is to determine if you qualify for premium subsidies.

Do I qualify for the Medicaid expansion? You may qualify for Washington’s Medicaid expansion program, called Apple Health if you:

  • Are age 19 through 64.
  • Have annual household income at or below the Medicaid standard.
  • Are a U.S. citizen or meet Medicaid immigration requirements.
  • Are not incarcerated.
  • Are not entitled to Medicare.

For more information on your eligibility, go to

Candidate Forum for Renton City Council


August 30, 2017

Media contact: Philip Sherwood               email:    phone: (206) 601-7351



Voters To Hear Views, Platforms in Advance of Nov. 7 Election


Renton WA –  All six Renton city council candidates will present themselves to Renton voters at an open candidate forum on Thursday, September 28, 2017.

The forum will be held at the Carpenters Local 30 Hall, 231 Burnett Ave. N., Renton, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and is open to the public.

Candidates for all three city council positions up for election in November will attend. For position 1, incumbent Randy Corman faces challenger Neil Sheesley; for position 2, incumbent Armondo Pavone faces challenger Diane Dobson; and for position 6, incumbent Ruth Pérez faces challenger Jami Smith.

The event will follow a modified question-and-answer format: candidates will make opening statements, then will take turns responding to questions on topics of current and local interest. They will also have time for brief rebuttals to other candidates’ comments and will make short closing statements.

“This is a non-partisan event,” said Philip Sherwood, event co-organizer. “We’re not supporting any individual candidate – this forum is to give every candidate a chance to speak directly to voters, and to help voters decide for themselves which candidates they prefer.”

“We strongly encourage Renton residents from all walks of life, every neighborhood and community, to come and learn more about the people who want to represent them on the city council, then speak by voting on November 7,” he added.

Co-sponsoring the forum are two local activism groups, the South King County Neighborhood Action Council (SKC NAC), and Renton Resist. SKC NAC is part of a coalition of neighborhood activist groups in the Puget Sound area that works for progressive social change through grass-roots, democratic participation. Renton Resist is an informal citizens’ activism group formed in the wake of last November’s presidential election to push for greater accountability and progressive goals in local government.

The general election will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. As well as electing city council members, Renton voters will also decide on numerous ballot measures and county and state races. Complete ballot information is available at



Rapid Response for Immigrant Rights

The Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network has started a hotline to report ICE immigration activity. If you see a raid happening in your neighborhood (or notice a lot of official-looking men sitting in unmarked cars), you can call 1-844-RAID-REP (1-844-724-3737) or text 253-201-2833. Trained volunteers will be sent out to make sure that the detainees receive support and advocacy.

The Network is a coalition of Labor, Faith, Immigrant and Refugee Rights organizations, and individuals who strive to protect, serve and strengthen communities across the state by providing support, capacity and resources to build power and a united voice in Washington.

You can download the flyer to share with your neighbors. For the flyer in English, click here. For the flyer in Spanish, click here.

Immigrant Rights in South King County

The South King County Neighborhood Action Council is concerned about the anxieties of Latinos in our communities with regard to the threat (actual or perceived) of being harassed or even arrested by ICE agents or local police.  One of our activities, therefore, has been to distribute accurate information about the relevant rights under U.S. law of any person in this country–citizen, immigrant or otherwise.

We have printed out flyers (in both English and Spanish) of coping mechanisms in the case of confrontation by legal authority and of basic rights–such as refusing admission to one’s residence, by police or agents of ICE, unless they present a legal warrant to enter; the right to legal representation if accused of a crime; the right to record an arrest, etc. These flyers are also available in other languages, as needed.

We have disseminated these by visiting neighborhood taquerias, churches, and mercados, in Renton, Kent and Auburn, asking proprietors or managers if they’d be willing to keep a pile of our information packets near the counter or eating area, for patrons to glance at, or pick up and carry away.  In almost every instance, we have been met with smiles and acceptance, and occasionally with outright enthusiasm.

So far, our group has distributed over one thousand flyers, both in English and Spanish, to the people who need them. It’s a relatively simple project which could be extended to all South King County cities and unincorporated areas. It just involves approaching the church or business and asking if they would be willing to leave some flyers where they can be picked up by interested people. Then go back periodically return with more, as needed.

Here’s a link to our flyer.

If you would like more information on this project, or are willing to join us in distributing these flyers, contact us at

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Protect Your Voter Information

Do you want Trump’s voter commission to be examining your voter data? Time to make some calls!

A while back Trump created a “Voter Fraud” Commission and populated it with SPLC-recognized hate group figures and folks with a history of voter suppression. That commission just sent letters to every state requesting voter roles and lots of sensitive information.

So far a few states have said “Um, NO!” (CA, VA, MA & KY). Our own (Republican) Secretary of State Kim Wyman issued a weak Tweet saying she will release publicly available information.

Tell Kim Wyman to unambiguously refuse to participate in this partisan attempt to de-legitimize voters. This data is the property of the citizens of our state, and we demand that they keep our private voter information safe, so let’s contact the following people:

First and foremost-
—> Secretary of State Kim Wyman (R)
360-902-4180 (they are tallying calls!) & 360-902-4151
Twitter: @secstatewa

—> Governor Jay Inslee
Kim’s email contact form:
Twitter: @GovInslee

—> Attorney General Bob Ferguson
(360) 753-6200
Bob’s email contact form:
Twitter: @AGOWA

—> Your state and local MoCs – ask them to publicly oppose the request and have them call on the Secretary of State to reject the request.

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Bystander Intervention Training

Note: please register for this program through the Facebook event: 

Not sure what to do when someone is being harassed at the bus stop? Tired of feeling helpless when someone is being mistreated?
Join South King County Neighborhood Action Coalition (SKC NAC) and Hate Free South King County (Hate Free SKC) in partnership with the Washington Initiative (WAI) for this FREE Bystander Intervention Training!

Why this Training?

The bystander effect, or bystander apathy, is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present.
In other words, it’s when the phrase “See Something, Say Something” fails to work.

We will also be incorporating practical self-defense techniques that correlate to the possible threat levels individuals may encounter.

About the Washington Initiative (WAI):

The WAI does more than teach free Bystander Intervention training; they also provide free Self-Defense and Situational Awareness classes, provide training on Used Needle Disposal & Safety, conduct regular Homeless Outreach events, and create Veteran Care Packs – supplies that help U.S. armed service veterans through a PTSD event. As the Seattle branch of an international grassroots volunteer organization known as The Initiative Collective, they regularly collaborate with the their sister branches in California, Illinois, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Arizona, New York, Virginia, and London (U.K.). An off-shoot of the ‘Real Life Super Hero’ (or, RLSH) movement, The Initiative seeks to engage everyday citizens to address the issues in their communities, and to Be Your Own Hero.

About the Trainer:

Krystal Marx has been the Team Leader of the WAI since 2013. She actively enjoys employing her professional training development experience into her volunteer life, and is the primary instructor for all of the classes and trainings they offer. As a member of the LGBTQ community,

Krystal strives to make all WAI training as inclusive as possible. From early childhood, she has been actively serving her community in various roles – from homeless outreach to ASL interpretation to working with the children of immigrant farm workers. When she isn’t wearing her Team Leader hat, Krystal takes on active roles in community efforts to dismantle racism, sexism and Islamophobic agendas, is the President of the Board for Unexpected Productions (the Pike Place Market theatre), serves on the Board of the 33rd Democrats as well as a subcommittee for the King County Young Democrats, and is currently running for Burien City Council. To relax, she drinks way too much espresso and explores the Pacific Northwest with her husband, four children, and neurotic Chihuahua.

June 24th, 1:30-3:00

Tukwila Library 14380 Tukwila Int’l Blvd, Tukwila, WA 98168

Accessibility Info:
Please come scent free for our event (Library itself not sent free)
Library and meeting rooms are wheelchair accessible
Designated disability parking in parking lot
Bathrooms are ADA accessible
Audio System will be used if requested
Children are welcome to come and participate

Please register for this program through the Facebook event: 

For more information on what we’re up to, visit

Canvassing With The Dems

This is the post excerpt.


Last weekend I joined with volunteers from the 31st District Democrats on a pilot project for the state party. We weren’t promoting any candidate or issue, we were engaging with our neighbors in Auburn, asking them to talk about the issues foremost in their minds at the moment. Based on our feedback, the state Dems will launch a state-wide listening project, which should help them to refine their message to reach more voters.

I have to say, knocking on strangers’ doors and engaging them in conversation did not come naturally to a life-long introvert like me, but I gave it a go. I really want to help the Democrats, and when they asked for volunteers, I couldn’t think up a good excuse.

Nerves aflutter, I approached my first house. As it happened, the gentleman was a committed Republican, who spoke to me for over twenty minutes about his views. I was given a script to prompt my interviewee, but found it wasn’t so useful in his case. The point wasn’t to convince him of anything, it was just to record his views, and that’s what I did.

Because it was a holiday weekend and a lovely, sunny day, many of the residents on my list were not at home. There were a few who declined to talk to me, and the ones who did want to talk were a mix of Democrats and Republicans. With each interaction, I felt my nervousness ebb. When I finished with my list, I joined the other volunteers at a coffee (covfefe?) shop to talk about how we did.

The best part of the day for me was getting to know the other volunteers from the 31st District. From what I’ve noticed at the monthly meetings, they are people from all walks of life, but they share a common goal—getting our country back on the right track. I felt at home at the meetings, and hope to volunteer more, although, I probably won’t be knocking on any more doors in the future. I know some people are really good at that kind of thing, but yikes, I could never be a politician! Still, I feel at home with the Democrats, and I’m sure that in a big organization like that, they have need of volunteers behind-the-scenes as well.

To find out more about what we’re up to, visit