Your help is needed now more than ever | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

As a board member and volunteer for Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center (KIAC), I’m so grateful to my fellow islanders who gave generously during last year’s One Call for All to support immigrants on Bainbridge and throughout the West Sound region.

Because of you, KIAC was able to assist more than 1,100 people through our family and legal services programs.

Your donations have helped reunite families and provide legal representation in immigration court proceedings. You’ve helped people become citizens, and obtain green cards, work permits and DACA renewals. You’ve supported free medical and dental clinics, programs for pregnant and new moms, financial workshops and much more.

Even with this generous support, KIAC’s work has become more urgent and daunting over the past year. Proposed and finalized rules and executive orders from the federal government have decimated the immigration system in our country. Valid immigration applications are increasingly delayed or denied. People who are fleeing persecution and violence — many of whom are women and children — are being denied asylum or forced to wait for a hearing for months or years, often in detention, if they’re allowed to remain in the U.S. at all.

This dangerous situation is the daily reality for KIAC’s clients. Yet they remain hopeful and hardworking. They are the heartbeat of this extraordinary organization that draws together people from more than sixty countries, of all ages, and a multitude of races and religions.

The need for services and welcoming support continues to grow, even with the dedicated volunteers and donors who make this work possible. KIAC and its clients need you more than ever.

In this year’s One Call for All, I hope you will give to KIAC as generously as you can.

ALTHEA PAULSON

Bainbridge Island

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