Hundreds attend free workshop offering legal help to immigrants, refugees

SEATTLE– Seattle reaffirmed its commitment to remain a sanctuary city Saturday, despite push-back from the White House.

A mega-workshop offered free legal help to about a thousand immigrants and refugees. It was a packed house at McCaw Hall, where the event was held.

“They brought us in here step by step,” Said Guadalupe Hernandez who came with her mother who holds a Green Card.

About 800 volunteers helped Seattle-area immigrants and refugees get answers to their legal questions.

“I’m here to ask some questions about the citizenship,” said Josie Bernal who is seeking citizenship.

Getting citizenship is the end goal for most whether they’re in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant, refugee, or Green Card holder like Guadalupe Hernandez’s mother.

“She’s afraid Trump is going to get rid of those green cards and she won’t be able for her to be here in the United States anymore,” said Hernandez.

The highly publicized death of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco by an undocumented immigrant put the spotlight on sanctuary cities.

“My administration is launching a nationwide crackdown on sanctuary cities,” said President Trump back in July.

Last month, the Depertment of Justice sent out letters threatening to take away federal dollars from sanctuary cities like Seattle.

“It seems like they’re putting a lot of effort into figuring out ways to waste my time. They’re sending out repeated communications demanding we do things that are not part of the four corners of the law,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and others are standing firmly behind Seattle’s sanctuary city status. With the lingering threat of federal action, immigrants and refugees Q13 News spoke with say now is the time to become US citizens.

“It is important because we should be able to vote we, should be able to do more, so I guess having a voice to say what you feel and really being called an American citizen for me; it will be a privilege and an honor,” said Bernal.

“She’s very happy now and hopefully she passes her US Citizenship Exam,” said Hernandez about her mother.

If you missed the workshop, you can contact Seattle's Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs for more information about becoming a U.S. citizen. Click here for their website.