Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center KIAC
of Matching Funds Remaining
The Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center (KIAC) is committed to the wellbeing of immigrants and strives to support a welcoming multicultural climate in Kitsap County. Recognizing the daunting challenges faced by immigrants in our community, KIAC's Family Center works to assist, educate and integrate immigrants through mentoring, advocacy and partnerships with other agencies. KIAC's Immigration Legal Services Program compliments the Family Center by addressing the challenges of immigration status. It focuses on family unity cases, citizenship and legal status applications and it encourages civic participation. A growing focus for KIAC this year is our Welcoming Communities Initiative which seeks to unite our civic institutions, businesses and citizens in fostering a welcoming environment for all people and in protecting immigrants from injustice. Founded in 2004, KIAC assisted 746 clients in 2016.
KIAC’s programs lead to health, economic security and participation in the social and civic life of our community. One additional outcome that we diligently strive for is the safety of our clients. Here is one story of success: Born in a Central American village, E. was a teen at a time when government was powerless to control gangs. Terrified after her father was killed and she was harassed by a gang, she fled. Crossing into the US, she was put into deportation proceedings. As a minor, she was placed with a Washington State resident (S.) from her village. To avoid deportation E. needed to meet the requirements of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) before her 18th birthday, qualifying her for a green card and eventually citizenship. In a race to meet SIJS eligibility in time, KIAC partnered with The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) and a local lawyer. Court documents, affidavits from relatives and legal representation all were needed for S. to be assigned custody of E., a requirement for SIJS status. One day before E’s 18th birthday the court granted this custody. E. is now a legal permanent resident. The fast action of KIAC and NWIRP probably saved E.’s life. This story happens daily in our country. Often people don’t find resources like KIAC and are deported.
The integration of immigrants into our community is a multi faceted task that KIAC approaches through two major programs: - Family Services, which meets immigrant needs through referral, advocacy and instruction in a safe, immigrant friendly environment, and - Immigration Legal Services, which focuses on immigration status, reuniting families and protecting immigrants from injustice. With increasing demand due to changes in national immigration policy, KIAC is focused on increasing capacity. Funds from the Great Give will be used towards our increased employee and office costs, rent for larger space, advanced legal representative training and case management systems. Specific KIAC services that rely on meeting these expenses include: - Referrals to legal, domestic violence, and social and health services - Connections to English language instruction - Mentoring on American mores and daily living skills - On-site free medical and dental clinics - Green card and citizenship applications - Family immigration - Tax preparation assistance - Representation of immigrants in court deportation proceedings.
802 Dr Martin Luther King Way
Bremerton, WA 98337