Liz Jones | KUOW News and Information

Liz Jones

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2006

Liz reports on immigration and emerging communities for KUOW. Her work covers issues within our region’s growing immigrant and refugee populations, as well as stories connected to minority groups with a longer history in the area.

She comes to KUOW after several years at an online news startup, which was later bought by Oxygen Media in New York.  Her last position there was health editor for the network’s website.

Liz has also lived in Spain and Peru and speaks Spanish. She is a graduate of the University of Washington, with a degree in communications.

Liz’s work for KUOW has taken her to Mexico and India. Both those reporting trips produced award-winning documentaries. In 2009, Liz received a regional Murrow award for a documentary about indigenous Mexicans who migrate to the Seattle area. In 2014, she won a national Gracie award and RTNDA’s Kaleidoscope Award for a series that focused on immigration-related links between India and the Puget Sound region.

Her work has also been heard on national shows including NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now, PRI's The World, Latino USA, Marketplace, The Takeaway and BBC News Service.  

Ways to Connect

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

What would you do if a Starbucks barista refused to give you the bathroom code? Or refused to give it to your black friend?  

When this happened to two coworkers in Seattle, one was ready to let it slide.

Daniel Ramirez Medina, left, and his brother Tony Ramirez Medina outside of U.S. District Court in Seattle on May 1st, 2018.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A federal judge in Seattle has upheld, for now, Daniel Ramirez Medina’s DACA status.

Virginia Cole, with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, teaches a legal aid class at the Northwest Detention Center on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Every day at detention centers around the country, lawyers give "know your rights" presentations to immigrants facing deportation. For many, it’s the only legal help they’ll get.

And the feds just pulled the money for the program.

Jacinta Morales learned she was pregnant after she was processed into ICE detention. She said she was happy to be pregnant.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Immigration authorities have detained 506 pregnant women since December, when the Trump administration ended a policy to release most pregnant women while their immigration cases are pending.


Noe Vasquez, right, on a state wildfire crew in the Okanogan Valley. After Vasquez lost his DACA status and his job, a traffic stop led to immigration custody.
Courtesy of Noe Vasquez

The small outpost of Tonasket sits near the northern border of Washington state, surrounded by forests and farmland. It's probably not where you want to be if you're an immigrant at risk of deportation.

Just ask 20-year-old Noe Vasquez.


Women's March at Cal Anderson Park on Saturday, January 20, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Soon after the #MeToo scandals broke loose last fall, calls started pouring in to King County’s Sexual Assault Resource Center.

“More people are finding courage,” said Mary Ellen Stone, the center’s executive director. “The need is considerable.”

Immigrant rights activist Maru Mora Villalpando speaks to supporters after an initial court hearing on her deportation case.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Prominent immigrant rights activist Maru Mora Villalpando has asked a Seattle immigration judge to throw out her deportation case.

Villalpando’s lawyers claim the Bellingham resident was unlawfully targeted because of her political activity and protests against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sherman Alexie is a beloved native writer, filmmaker and poet. He also stands accused of sexual harassment by three women on the record and many more anonymously. KUOW reporter Liz Jones is following the story and sat down with Bill Radke after her first piece on the story published. 

Elissa Washuta, a writer and member of Washington’s Cowlitz Indian Tribe.
Courtesy of Hugo House/Amber Cortes

Several women who have accused author Sherman Alexie of sexual harassment have now gone public with their stories.

As this story unfolds, it’s stirring some tough conversations within literary and Native American communities in the Northwest.


File: Sherman Alexie reads from his book, 'Thunder Boy Jr.,' at the RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All at Arizona State University, Tempe, April 22, 2016.
Flickr Photo/ASU Department of English (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/JmRvrM

Prominent Seattle writer Sherman Alexie on Wednesday addressed allegations that have rocked the literary world over the past few days: That he had sexually harassed numerous women.


Maru Mora Villalpando, far right, joins a 2014 protest outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Newly released public records suggest a prominent Northwest activist was targeted for deportation partly because she spoke out to the media. Lawyers say the documents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raise concerns about free speech.


Raphael Sanchez is seen in U.S. District Court in Seattle in this artist's sketch.
Sketch by Peter Millett

People who’ve worked with Raphael Sanchez say they’re shocked to see the complex fraud he carried out for more than four years, for his own personal gain.

Sketch by Peter Millett

Update 2/15/18, 12:30 p.m.

Raphael Sanchez pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of a wire fraud and aggravated identity theft scheme involving the stolen identities of numerous people. The plea recommends a four-year sentence and restitution paid to victims. A judge will decide sentencing in May.

NW Detention Center Resistance

Several detainees at the immigration jail in Tacoma say they are on hunger strike to push for better conditions. And they claim some guards are taking aggressive steps to stop them.

Musa Sesay completes paperwork while waiting to meet with an immigration expert at McCaw Hall in Seattle on January 23, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Immigrants and refugees can get some free legal services this Saturday at the Seattle Center. For the second year, the city is hosting what it calls a “mega workshop” that aims to help more than a thousand people with citizenship applications and other immigration issues.

KUOW PHOTO/MEGAN FARMER

State investigators say a farm near Bellingham is not to blame for the death a worker last summer. But the owners face steep fines for other violations.

Workers at Sarbanand Farms picking blueberries on August 8, 2017, in Sumas, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Supervisors at a sprawling blueberry farm in northern Washington state threatened and intimidated workers and ordered them to report for 12-hour shifts "unless they were on their death bed," according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday.

Screenshot TV-W

Immigrants without legal status are not eligible for government healthcare plans, like Medicaid.

More than a dozen Washington lawmakers want to create a program to cover some of these immigrants' reproductive healthcare needs, including abortion, birth control and family planning.

LIZ JONES / KUOW PUBLIC RADIO

Over the years, Seattle area activist Maru Mora-Villalpando has staged many protests to speak out for undocumented families and for immigrants held in the Tacoma detention center.

Jaidaa Bazara, left, with her younger siblings Alaa and Mohamed Bazara.
Courtesy of International Rescue Committee/Nick Hall

In the wake of the Trump Administration’s travel ban, the resettlement of Syrian refugees to the U.S. slowed considerably. In Washington state, the number dwindled to just 29 people in 2017, compared to nearly 200 the year before.

Arsalan Bukhari is the former executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Seattle
KUOW PHOTO/GIL AEGERTER

One of the big stories of 2017 was the Trump administration's travel ban targeting some Muslim countries. Arsalan Bukhari of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR says the travel ban also had an impact on Americans.


COURTESY U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

Morning traffic streamed past a busy intersection in South Seattle, past a family-style pizza shop and a brightly-painted Mexican restaurant that still wouldn't open for several hours. A few residents came and went from the low-rise apartments lining the blocks in this largely Latino neighborhood.


Jim Hamre (left) and Zack Willhoite are shown in a photo taken at Yellowstone National Park in 2005.
Courtesy All Aboard Washington

Two friends who shared a lifelong love of trains, Zack Willhoite and Jim Hamre, had looked forward to the inaugural run of Amtrak 501 from Seattle to Portland.

Friends who knew them said it was a given they would’ve been on this initial trip, likely in a front car as the train followed a brand-new route south of Tacoma.


Courtesy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Sanctuary policies in Seattle and King County have put some money on the line, and drawn questions from the feds. Local officials defended their position this week against what they call a threat to withhold federal law enforcement aid.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

The Trump administration told a federal appeals court Wednesday that the president has broad authority to prevent people from any country from traveling to the U.S.

Gustavo Lavariega, a volunteer with Deportees United, talks with an official from Mexico's labor department as he waits for deportees to arrive on a flight from Texas.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

In a far corner of the Mexico City Airport, past all the shops inside the international arrivals terminal, you’ll find the N door.

This is a special exit for passengers who arrive on deportation flights from the U.S.

Rebecca Fatty becomes emotional while holding her 4-month-old daughter Sunkarah as she speaks to the press after her husband Bangally Fatty was denied bond on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Court hearings at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma are typically a quiet affair. But this week, a busload of students and faculty from the University of Washington showed up to call for the release of a fellow student who’s facing deportation.

A picture of Rebecca and Bangally Fatty on their wedding day is shown in a photo album on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Updated 11/27/2017, 1:55 p.m.

Bangally Fatty, a University of Washington student who faces deportation, could be allowed to return to his Seattle home this week. A judge is set to decide on Wednesday, Nov. 29, if Fatty will remain in custody or be released on bond.

Original story, 11/16/2017

An empty classroom in Parrington Hall where Bangally Fatty was enrolled and taking a class is shown on the University of Washington campus on Thursday, November 16, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The University of Washington is facing a test of what it means to be a so-called sanctuary campus. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has detained a UW student. He’s the first student detainee that the university knows about.

KUOW race and equity reporter Liz Jones reported the story; The Record host Bill Radke sat down with Liz to learn more.

KUOW file photo/Liz Jones

After former U.S. Army Captain Allen Vaught was ambushed and hit with an IED in Iraq, a translator he’d hired traveled nearly 60 miles to make sure he was okay. The two men formed a close bond.

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