St. James Immigrant Assistance
formerly the St. James ESL Program

Our Mission

The St. James Immigrant Assistance mission is to advance justice for refugees and immigrants through education, advocacy, and by helping the most isolated refugees and immigrants to learn English, become citizens and connect to community resources.
Read more about St. James Immigrant Assistance...

"We are One Family Under God"

This reminder is particularly important when dealing with migration, as family members are too often separated from one another. Violence and a dearth of economic opportunities tear families apart. Learn more about our call to welcome immigrants and refugees here. For immigration news and resources, visit our immigration issues page at Immigration Issues.

Changing Lives!

Read our annual report to see the difference you make in the lives of refugees and immigrants.

Announcements & Events

Immigration Advocates Gathering

Join us on Wednesday, March 30th from 6:00 - 7:00 pm to discuss current immigration topics. We will be meeting in the Fireside Room of the Pastoral Outreach Center, 907 Columbia Avenue, Seattle 98104. Open to anyone interested in supporting justice for immigrants. Bring a friend or two. No need to RSVP - just show up! Questions? Call or email Chris Koehler at 206-382-4511 or

European Refugee Crisis

Join us for an informative presentation and discussion with representatives from Catholic Relief Services and two local doctors who have been working in the refugee camps. Click here for more information. Please RSVP to Christopher Koehler at 206-382-4511 or

Citizenship Class now Enrolling in Downtown Seattle

Click here for details.

Show Mercy to Refugees

Pray – Act – Advocate

Recall the terrifying escape of the Holy Family as they fled to Egypt, and the refuge they received in a foreign land. As you spend time with family and friends, ask yourself, if you had to escape from the only land you've ever known, what would you do?

How would you keep your family safe? Where would you live? Where would you turn for help? How would you survive? Learn more about what you can do to make a difference in the lives of today's refugees by clicking on this link.

Volunteer Information Session

Click here for information about the next session. Read volunteer descriptions...

Naturalization Test

Can you pass the test to become a
United States citizen?

You can help an immigrant realize their dream of becoming a citizen. Find out how at Be a Citizenship Sponsor

Learn about immigration

Immigration in the News

See the latest news on our immigration page...

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St. James Immigrant Assistance

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About St. James Immigrant Assistance

St. James Immigrant Assistance (formerly the St. James ESL Program) is a 501(c)(3), non-sectarian, volunteer and community-based organization that provides free English instruction and Citizenship assistance to low-income adult refugees and immigrants in Seattle and King County, Washington. Founded in 1975 with one tutor and one Vietnamese client, SJIA has grown to serve clients from 37 countries in all parts of the world. In 2011-2012, along with our 83 volunteers, we served 481 immigrants and refugees in King County.


Fawziah Al-Hlaly / Marcia Ditter / Tom FitzMacken / Marina Furtado / Anita Gannon / Jane Herrmann / Khoi Hong / Meghan Kelly-Stallings / Barbara Marcouiller / Joyce Mork-O'Brien / Surab Vadachkoria / Joe Varano

"While we do not support illegal immigration we are committed to helping all persons in need regardless of their legal status...Our goal as a community of disciples is comprehensive immigration reform to provide legal pathways for family reunification, guest workers and those seeking citizenship.

We will reach out to all persons in need, including immigrants, regardless of their legal status.

This is nothing new. The Archdiocese of Seattle has a consistent and longstanding commitment to justice based on our belief in the dignity of all persons."

-- Archbishop Brunett