OLYMPIA — On March 18, Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation to prohibit discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status into law.
Senate Bill 5165, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), adds citizenship and immigration status to the list of characteristics protected by Washington’s Law Against Discrimination. The change prohibits discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status unless a distinction or differential treatment is required by a state or federal law, regulation or government contract.
This bill protects anyone perceived to be a noncitizen, regardless of their actual immigration status, and would help prevent discrimination in numerous settings, such as education, housing, public accommodations, and employment.
“People in our communities report living in fear, sometimes even afraid to take their kids to school,” said Saldaña. “We want this clarification of our law against discrimination to make people feel welcome and safe participating fully in their communities.”