Honorable Pramila Jayapal

Congresswoman @ United States Congress of Representatives
India Forum
Congresswoman, United States Congress of Representatives

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is a first-term Member of the House of Representatives who serves Washington’s 7th District. Born in Chennai, she is the only current Member of Congress to be born in India.

Her focus is on ensuring income equality; access to education, from early learning to higher education, including debt-free college; expanding Social Security and Medicare; protecting our environment for our next generation; and ensuring immigrant, civil and human rights for all. The first Indian-American woman in the House of Representatives, Jayapal has spent the last twenty years working internationally and domestically as a leading national advocate for women’s, immigrant, civil, and human rights.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, and in the wake of discrimination and civil liberties abuses against Muslims, Arabs and South Asians, Jayapal founded the nonprofit Hate Free Zone (now OneAmerica). She served as Executive Director for 11 years, growing the organization to be the largest immigrant advocacy organization in Washington state and one of the largest in the country. Under her leadership, OneAmerica successfully stopped the deportations of thousands of Somalis across the country; to help end Special Registration of Muslims and Arabs; and to lead the fight for comprehensive immigration reform.

OneAmerica also led the effort to establish an Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs in Seattle, and to make Seattle one of the first cities to ban asking about immigration status by law enforcement or city officials. At the state level, OneAmerica was at the forefront of the effort to preserve drivers’ licenses for all, regardless of citizenship status, in Washington state, and to promote immigrant integration. In 2009, Jayapal was named by Governor Christine Gregoire as Vice Chair of the state’s New Americans Policy Council. OneAmerica also led one of the largest voter registration efforts in Washington state, helping more than 23,000 new Americans register to vote.