“I immigrated to this country when I was just 16 years old, sent by my parents so I’d have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream—the same American Dream that has drawn countless immigrants to this country and led to our nation’s growth and success. That’s why I will stand up to those who want to build a wall around our nation, and focus on passing just and humane immigration policy that welcomes and integrates immigrants into our communities.”
A HISTORY OF STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS
In response to the backlash against immigrant communities after 9/11, Pramila created OneAmerica (formerly called Hate Free Zone) to fight back against the civil liberties abuses of the Bush Administration against Arabs, Muslims and South Asians, and protecting thousands across the country from deportation and detention. As Executive Director for 11 years, she helped organize tens of thousands of diverse immigrants in the fight for immigration reform, including bringing a gender lens to immigration and working to keep families together. She also led efforts for immigrant integration in Washington state, registering 23,000 New Americans to vote, serving as Vice Chair of the Governor’s New Americans Policy Council, and helping to establish the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs in Seattle.
Under Pramila’s leadership, OneAmerica grew into the largest immigrant advocacy organization in the state, and played a key role in passing the 2014 DREAM Act, protecting drivers licenses for all residents regardless of citizenship, and passing a New Americans Executive Order that helped facilitate immigrant integration through citizenship, English Language learning and cross-cultural understanding.
ENACTING JUST AND HUMANE COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
Our immigration policies should reflect our values of family, human dignity and work. In Congress, Pramila is working to pass just and humane immigration reform that provides legalization and a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, reunites families, protects immigrant workers on the job, and fully embraces the contributions that immigrants make to our society. She introduced the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, which would phase out the use of for-profit immigrant prisons and drastically overhaul the nation's immigrant incarceration system to eliminate human rights violations.
ENSURING AMERICA CONTINUES TO WELCOME REFUGEES
America has always been a country that has welcomed refugees from around the world who are escaping economic, political and social turmoil. Pramila believes this is a critically important role for America to play in a world of global migration where more than 1 billion people are on the move. In Congress, she is working to ensure we continue to accept refugees in numbers that reflect America’s global status in the world and history of compassion, and that we provide them with the support and services needed once here.