Get to know Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Get to know Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

March 22, 2018
Categories: Seattle

Inspired by the themes of our upcoming concert, Not In Our Town, we are building ties with organizations in our community that work to support individuals affected by the tides of intolerance. These nonprofits will participate in a pre-concert panel on Saturday, April 7th at 7pm, and will be available in the lobby throughout the weekend of performances for those interested in learning more about their important work.


Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) began in response to an emergency.

In the mid-1980s, Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans were fleeing the political repression and violence of civil wars to seek safety and asylum in the United States.

But once they arrived, they found they were not welcome.

The government did not want to offer the refugees asylum. They did not want to offer them safety. Instead, these refugees faced immigration authorities bent on sending them right back to war and persecution. Not only did they have no legal right to representation, most didn’t have money to hire a lawyer. They were forced to confront the threat and reality of deportation alone.

Without legal representation, many of them would be deported back to political chaos and violence.

In Seattle, a small group gathered together united in their determination to fight for justice and legal protection for the Central Americans seeking safety in the United States. Together, they mobilized volunteer attorneys to defend the rights of these refugees in their search for asylum.

That small group has grown into NWIRP, the largest legal services organization offering direct legal services to low-income immigrants in the United States.

Today, NWIRP serves over 20,000 immigrants from over 130 countries every year. We have a staff of nearly 100 full-time employees which operates out of offices throughout Washington State in Seattle, Tacoma, Granger, and Wenatchee. 

At NWIRP, we believe that all people deserve access to justice, protection from violence, and the opportunity to stay together with family, no matter where they were born or how much money they have.

It is a critical time for many immigrants as they face unprecedented threats. Families are being torn apart by deportation. Asylum seekers fleeing violence are held behind bars in immigration detention centers. Undocumented victims of crime are scared to seek help (and are sometimes unlawfully punished when they do).

For over 34 years, NWIRP has defended and advanced the rights of immigrants in Washington State and beyond. Today, we are on the frontlines of a crisis affecting so many in our community.

We provide legal representation and assistance in each of our four offices throughout Washington State. This includes representing people who are seeking protection from deportation, safety from violence, the ability to reunite with loved ones, citizenship, or new opportunities in work, education, and civic engagement.

We challenge unjust policies through high-impact lawsuits, and we advocate for laws that respect the rights of immigrants.

We empower immigrant communities with information about their rights and educate social service providers about immigration protections available to the communities they serve.

With your help, we can expand our capacity to support immigrants and their families at this pivotal time.

Learn more about our work, make a donation, or become an ambassador for immigrant rights at