Pierce County Action Update – The Good and Bad News 

Update – October 6th

The good news: Thanks to all of your support, the Ordinance to remove the E-verify mandate passed!

The (possible) bad news: Following a very partisan vote Tuesday night, we’re concerned – based on precedent – the County Executive will veto this legislation that removes a discriminatory practice AND supports small businesses. He could decide to veto the legislation any moment and we need your continued support!

Here’s how you can help:

1) Email the Executive ASAP and tell him why you support this Ordinance. His email is bruce.dammeier@piercecountywa.gov.

2) If you have any media contacts, please contact them or let us know and we will! (In the past, when an issue got media attention, the Executive backed down from a veto.)

Action Update – October 3rd

When you’re writing, be sure to:

  • Name that you are a resident of Pierce County (if relevant) and affiliation to PS-WA (if relevant)
  • Share why you feel the code is problematic. Here are some sample scripts:
  • PS-WA and programs like ours can’t provide peer support to immigrant and BIPOC communities if we/they are unable to provide a safe workplace for those immigrant and BIPOC peers. E-verify is a barrier to that care. 
  • As a [insert your role] I know the value of peer support programs like ours and how it would be a disservice to Pierce County families to lose it because of hiring barriers that discriminate against minority populations.  
  • Denying access to employment based on an inaccurate database keeps immigrant communities in poverty and disproportionately financially Impacts certain communities.  

selected excerpts from a letter sent to our letter signatories

When PS-WA applied for the Piece County Behavioral Health Grant to expand our Parent Resilience Program offering culturally-matched peer perinatal mental health support we had no idea we would endeavor in such a large-scale undertaking and the support of our community far and wide has been heartwarming. We sincerely thank our supporters for their patience while we work through various levels of intergovernmental bureaucracy and set our course to not only provide peer mental health support to Pierce County but change county-wide hiring practices to be more inclusive and safe for immigrant communities.

A summary of our recent work, PS-WA has been campaigning Pierce County Council to change a discriminatory code in the contract we were offered to expand services that required us to use a discriminatory hiring practice by using a portal operated by Homeland Security called “E-Verify.” This code (Pierce County Code 2.106.022.) is in all Pierce County contracts and we are working with our partners and allies to remove this code from not just our contract but all Pierce County tax dollar-funded contracts.

The exciting update we have to report at this time is that we were able to meet with Pierce County council members, Ryan Mello and Jani Hitchens. With the guidance of their legal representative, they are moving forward to co-author a resolution with Vice Chair Campbell and Council Chair Young to remove the E-Verify Code from all contracts sustained through non-federal dollars.

The final vote will be on Tuesday, October 4th at 3pm. We need your continued support as we have the opportunity to share sentiments on the harmful impact of this code.

  1. Sign up to testify (via zoom, in-person in Tacoma, or written testimony)
  2. Sign and share our Petition to Change the Code that will be presented to the Council before both of these meetings
  3. Watch the meetings live or attend in-person

This will impact not just our programming but all future contracted programming that Pierce County conducts. If (when!) the ordinance is approved by the Pierce County Council, it will go to the County Executive for approval and then all grants funded through non-federal tax dollars will no longer be required to use E-Verify. At that point, we will be able to expand our Parent Resilience Program to provide culturally-matched perinatal mental health services to our immigrant, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ families in Pierce County! 

We are humbled by your support and ask that you please stay in touch with us as we move forward with this hopeful endeavor.  Additionally, if there are other contacts (media or otherwise) that would help further our reach and this work we welcome those connections! Please reach out to our Program Manager at Elizabeth.MooreSimpson@PerinatalSupport.org