Rep. Mia Gregerson. COURTESY PHOTO, Legislative Support Services

Rep. Mia Gregerson. COURTESY PHOTO, Legislative Support Services

Gregerson state bill aims to improve immigration support

Designed to better address needs of refugees, immigrants arriving in Washington state

A House bill introduced by State Rep. Mia Gregerson, whose 33rd District includes parts of Kent, aims to modernize and improve support for immigrants and refugees arriving in Washington.

House Bill 2368 is designed to support the economic and social integration of immigrants and refugees, as well as the basic needs, an issue that recently popped up in Kent when asylum seekers from Venezuela briefly settled at a local hotel before moving to a SeaTac hotel.

“This is a good government bill that aligns the things the state is already doing,” Gregerson said. “With hundreds of families seeking asylum arriving in our region, a sustainable and supportive solution is urgently needed. This bill will provide the critical support these individuals and families deserve.”

This legislation seeks to codify the longstanding work of the Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance, according to a Gregerson news release. While the office uses federal refugee resettlement funds to administer programs to individuals eligible for those services, it also relies on general fund dollars to serve other immigrants living in Washington who don’t qualify for federally funded services because of their immigration status.

The House passed the bill 61-35 on Feb. 13. The Senate Committee on Human Services passed the bill Tuesday, Feb. 20 to send it to the full Senate, which must pass the bill by March 1 to forward it to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk.

Gregerson said during a phone interview that last fall she visited Riverton United Methodist Church in Tukwila, which had become overcrowded with refugees from several countries.

“I listened and learned about the issues there,” Gregerson said.

That motivated Gregerson to sponsor the bill to get the state more involved in getting funds and support to refugees with a more holistic approached from the state Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance.

“We provide a lot of support, but this is to modernize and align a way to welcome people and give them the navigation,” said Gregerson, with the office as an one stop space for folks.

The bill doesn’t include any funds but rather sets up a better approach to addressing the immigrant issues.

The state Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance has a budget and can contract with nonprofits to provide services. The office also can work with cities and counties about finding solutions.

“If we don’t have a more holistic long-term approach, folks can fall victim to misinformation and become victims,” Gregerson said. “This bill is an attempt to get ahead of that, deal with situations that pop up almost like an emergency natural disaster and when are emergency dollars appropriated. …it’s a multi-prong approach to do the best we can.”

Gregerson said she supports more funds going to the state Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance next year for one-time help with issues that this bill would set up to do that work.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Madeline Goldsmith. COURTESY PHOTO
No suspect yet in July 2023 Kent murder of Madeline Goldsmith

Someone fatally shot 18-year-old Kentwood High graduate as she sat in vehicle near Lake Meridian

Police bust mother, daughter in Kent for retail crime spree

Two reportedly joined one other woman in 3-state crime ring taking women’s clothing from Lululemon

Reith Road in Kent to get two new roundabouts this year

City Council approves $4.28 million bid; project to start in late May or early June

Puget Sound Fire’s Teddy Bear Clinic set for May 18 in Kent

Annual event provides free checkups for teddy bears and children

Overturned military vehicle causes I-5 backup near Kent, Federal Way

Wednesday, April 10 in northbound lanes near South 272nd Street

Kent Police Blotter: March 26 to April 7

Incidents include robberies, burglaries, shooting

State Patrol seek witnesses to I-5 hit-and-run crash in Kent

Collision at about 11:30 p.m. Monday, April 8 along northbound I-5 near State Route 516

Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent turns profit for 2nd consecutive year

City-owned facility brings in about $600,000 in 2023

Kent Police recovered nearly 800 catalytic converters in a 2021 bust. File photo
New state legislation fights catalytic converter theft

Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill on March 26 adding new regulations… Continue reading

Firefighting Diversity & Recruitment Workshop set for May 11 in Kent

Event designed to help potential candidates get jobs

Kentwood High grad’s legacy of love lives on through organ donation

Madeline Goldsmith one of 344 organ donors honored by Gov. Jay Inslee in Olympia

Flowers, framed photos, plush toys and a QR code to the GoFundMe pages of the families grace the memorial site after the March 19 crash. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Sound Publishing.
Judge, lawyers debate low bail for Kent driver in fatal Renton crash

Judge explains reduction from $1 million to $100,000, which was posted by family of Chase Jones