Marta’s Story … When you give to KIAC, you help change lives!

Marta in front of a local waterfall.

As a child, Marta* endured a series of devastating events. Her mother died of cancer, and her father suffered a serious brain injury which left him unable to work and in poor health.

When Marta was just 11 years old, she made the arduous journey to the United States accompanied by family acquaintances with whom she has since lost touch. When crossing the border, she was sleeping in the back seat of their car and does not remember how they got through the US entry point. As a result, Marta has not been eligible for a green card because she can’t prove whether she entered the United States lawfully.

Even without documents, Marta persevered – raising her children who were born in the U.S. and are U.S. citizens. By the time she turned 30, the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program launched, and Marta qualified. Her DACA did not provide a path to a green card, but it did allow her to work legally. She has had a good job at a grocery store chain for the last decade, paying taxes and making a life here.

Recently, one of her children turned 21 and is able to sponsor Marta for a green card. KIAC lawyers obtained a travel document so that she could return to her country of origin to be with her ailing father for the first time in years and return to the US legally. She now qualifies for a green card, and KIAC team members are helping her with that application.

Five years after receiving her green card she will be able to apply for citizenship … the opportunity she has dreamed of since arriving here as a child.

DACA has been an asset for Marta and so many others, but DACA offers no path to citizenship. KIAC continues to help clients renew their DACA, and when the opportunity arises as it did for Marta, to help with acquiring green cards and working towards their citizenship.

DACA needs reform. Alongside our immigrant clients, KIAC advocates for change. Childhood arrivals like Marta need a clear path to citizenship.

When you donate to KIAC, you make this work possible. 

Please consider a gift today!

*name changed for confidentiality

A STORY OF TRAUMA & RESILIENCE … KIAC OFFERS HOPE

The following story highlights the type of trauma experienced by many immigrants and the life-changing work done by KIAC’s immigration legal team.

When you donate to KIAC, you make this work possible.

This young woman suffered sexual assault by government security forces in her country of origin resulting in pregnancy. To escape further harm, she fled and lived in a refugee camp where she gave birth. She sent the child to her mother to keep the baby safe.

After suffering another sexual assault in the refugee camp, our client fled to yet another country to seek asylum. Sadly, refugees in that country face violent xenophobia. Even there, where she was hoping to find safety, she was the recipient of more physical violence. In an effort to support herself, she sold clothing on the street and was able to save enough money for the long journey to the United States.

Once in the US, she was put into removal proceedings and held at the NW Detention Center in Tacoma. KIAC secured a bond for her release. After numerous delays in proceedings and a contested hearing, she was finally granted asylum. KIAC’s legal team is now helping her file petitions to be reunited with her children.

With KIAC’s support, she is on the path towards building a safer and more promising life for herself and her children.

When you donate to KIAC, you make this work possible.

Thank you for making a gift today!

From the Desk of KIAC’s Executive Director

Warm greetings to you all!

It is very special to me to address and greet you at one of the most beautiful times of the year. KIAC has undergone many changes in 2022. After years marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, KIAC has had the opportunity to reimagine ways to continue providing our services. It may not have been an easy road, but it has been one filled with new experiences and blessings. KIAC has demonstrated that no matter the adversities and situations that arise, if we work together as a team, we can achieve success.

I am pleased to inform you that we completed the application process for the WA COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund. Our team completed 1,093 applications, putting an estimated 2.9 million dollars into the pockets of our immigrant neighbors. It was an exceptional job, with over 900 hours of work and 25 events hosted in Bremerton, Belfair, and Shelton. I want to recognize the efforts of our Family Services Director, Annika, and her contractor team comprised of Nanci, Oscar, Otto, Emiliana, Micaela, Maria, Juan, and Reyna. Excellent work! Outside of this project, our Family Services Team has been hard at work answering calls, meeting with clients, and connecting immigrants with resources. Thank you, Annika and Tracy for all you have done throughout this year.

KIAC’s Legal Services Director Larry Chin reported that last month, volunteers Bob and Shelley received their first partial accreditations from the Department of Justice, and Emily and Beverly successfully renewed their accreditations. KIAC’s volunteer Accredited Representatives perform much of the immigration legal work at KIAC. Without the willingness of the ARs and a few attorneys to volunteer, we would not be able to assist as many immigrants. We congratulate Larry, Alex, and their entire team of volunteers for all they’ve accomplished in 2022. We also excitedly announce that Jorge, KIAC’s Administrative Assistant, has joined the Legal Services team and will be working as our Legal Coordinator. Congratulations, Jorge!

Our Management Team is very busy with year-end closing and budgeting for 2023. We are looking forward to finalizing our plans for next year. We are pleased to announce that we have hired Nanci (our Lead WIRF Contractor) full-time for the Administrative Assistant/Front Desk position. Welcome, Nanci! We wish you much success. I would like to acknowledge the great work done by our Operations Manager, Graciela. Thank you very much for all your support and advice and for always being available to help us. I look forward to continuing to grow as a team and contribute to the success of KIAC together.

The Development and Marketing Team has also been hard at work, finishing up 2022 fundraising and working on planning for 2023. I would like to acknowledge the work done by Development & Marketing Director, Kimberly and Associate Dasha. Thank you for the energy, hard work, and effort you have put into achieving KIAC’s fundraising and communications goals.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude for the effort and dedication that each team member puts into their work every day. I thank our Board of Directors for their guidance and the many ways they support KIAC’s work. It has been a good year for KIAC despite the ever-changing landscape. We have hope that 2023 will be one full of many blessings, and that we can continue to grow to meet the needs of those we serve. Thank you for your support of our work.

May you have a blessed holiday season.

Jayson Vega, Executive Director 

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