The Washington Wine Industry Foundation presented a check for $15,000 to the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) at an event held in Benton City yesterday. The NWIRP provides legal services to thousands of immigrants and their families in Washington State helping them to navigate the complexities of the United States immigration system.
Access and shortages are the leading issues for Washington’s labor-intensive agriculture including the grape and wine industry. The lack of comprehensive immigration reform threatens immigrant families and the sustainable operation of a vineyard. Access to the services NWIRP provides is critical. Without legal support, immigrants and their families are challenged to access medical assistance, housing, or other basic services – creating both economic and personal insecurity.
Mark Wheeler, Chair of the Washington Wine Industry Foundation said: “Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Foundation is delighted to be able to contribute to the excellent work of the NWIRP. Labor is problem number one for the wine industry today, and anything we can do to help our workers benefits both the workers and the industry.”
Accepting the check, Jorge L. Barón, NWIRP Executive Director, said: “The generous funding from the Washington Wine Industry Foundation will support NWIRP’s legal assistance and community education efforts for immigrants in the Yakima Valley. This work helps immigrant families learn about their options under immigration law and helps them access protections that may be available. The goal is to preserve family unity and to ensure individuals and families are protected from violence.”
The Foundation is committed to continue bringing together partners to address critical industry issues such as labor availability.
Photo caption: [Mark Wheeler (right), Chair of the Washington Wine Industry Foundation, presents a $15,000 check to NWIRP Executive Director Jorge L. Barón (left.]