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/Liz Jones

Fast-food workers and union activists in Seattle and Tacoma joined a nationwide rally Thursday aimed to bring attention to a drive for a $15 minimum wage.

A federal review team is taking a close look at the Snohomish County Jail in Everett this week. The review comes after last month’s death of a jail inmate. It was the eighth such death since 2010.

Flats of blueberries from Sakuma Brothers Farms are seen at Ballard Market in Seattle in 2013.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Disgruntled berry pickers at a major farm in Skagit Valley have brought their fight to grocery stores in Seattle, Mount Vernon and Bellingham. On Tuesday, about a dozen farm workers and advocates waved handmade signs outside of the upscale Ballard Market in Seattle, calling for a boycott.

“Don’t buy Sakuma berries,” shouted Anna Lopez, who’s picked berries at Sakuma Brothers Farms for about 10 years. Just inside the store, the produce section features deals on fresh-picked Sakuma blueberries and strawberries.

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Courtesy of Angel Rabang

Hundreds of members of the Nooksack Tribe near Bellingham won a temporary victory Wednesday. Hearings were scheduled to start this week to potentially expel 306 members from the tribe, but a ruling from the Nooksack Court of Appeals has halted the proceeding for now.

The ongoing immigration debate in Congress often spotlights the job market for people living in the U.S. illegally. Not long ago, that market included one of the country's top organic herb farms — until an immigration bust forced the business, based in Washington state, to clean up its payroll.

Ted Andrews, owner of HerbCo International, says he's learned some tough lessons during the transition to a legal workforce. Lesson No. 1: "There are events that can destroy a business in the snap of a finger," he says. "This was one of them."

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Kenneth Bae, an American man from Lynnwood, Wash., has spent more than nine months imprisoned in North Korea. That’s longer than any other American recently held there. Bae’s family members say their frustration and worries grow as each day passes.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Several news outlets reported Monday that former President Jimmy Carter may travel to North Korea to secure the release of Kenneth Bae, who's been imprisoned in North Korea for nine months.

The unconfirmed reports raised hopes for Bae's family members, though they said they had not been informed of any specific plans to seek his release.

Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives

The city of Seattle wants to help clear the way for some unauthorized immigrants to get a work visa. Today city officials reminded young immigrants that they can use a Seattle City Light bill to help prove their residency.

A proposal in King County aims to rein in how much access federal immigration authorities have at the county jail. A council committee held its first public meeting on the measure Tuesday.

Several counties in other states have already adopted similar policies, with mixed public reaction.

From Sakuma Market Stands' Facebook page.

For the second time in 10 days, workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms have gone on strike. More than 200 berry pickers have walked off the job at the farm near Burlington, saying they want the farm to pay more for each box of blueberries and strawberries they harvest.

Liz Jones / KUOW

Correction 7/18/13: A previous version of this story stated that Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law was a key part of Zimmerman’s defense. The law was a factor in the case but not part of Zimmerman’s courtroom strategy.

A group of black pastors in the Seattle area say the Trayvon Martin case should be a “wake-up call.” The religious leaders are pushing for changes in gun laws that they say contribute to racial profiling, and they're also urging community members to join their fight.

Flickr Photo/A. Davey

Correction 7/9/13: A previous version of this story erroneously stated that on the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry, the peak season, round-trip fare for a car and driver would go up $0.90 to $17.30. That total was a one-way fare. In fact, the round-trip fare would increase $1.80, to $34.60.

If you ride the Washington State Ferries, prepare to pay a bit more. The Washington State Transportation Commission wants to increase fares by about six percent within the next year. The commission says the rate hike is needed to meet revenue targets set by the legislature in the 2013-2015 transportation budget.

Courtesy of Star Rush

Against the backdrop of a giant American flag, 487 people from more than 80 countries became US citizens during a special 4th of July ceremony yesterday at Seattle Center.

Among them was Seattle resident Star Rush, 45, whose family came here from Vietnam in 1972 seeking refuge from the war.

Liz Jones/KUOW

Across Washington state this week, supporters of immigration reform are taking up a new challenge: no food for 24 hours. The effort is part of national fast that’s underway as Congress debates a sweeping immigration bill.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Every year, hundreds of refugees come to Washington state to escape persecution, conflict or violence in their home countries. Washington consistently ranks as one of the top 10 states for new arrivals.

Many families come here after waiting long stretches in a refugee camp where food, water and shelter is a daily concern. Yet once they have resettled in the Seattle area, their struggles are often far from over. Some agencies that work with refugees in King County say they’ve seen an alarming rise in homelessness within this population of newcomers but they’re stymied by how to measure the increase.

King County council members on Thursday introduced a measure that would limit when unauthorized immigrants can be held in jail.

Every year, hundreds of people booked into King County jail automatically get handed over to immigration authorities. That's even if the person has not yet been convicted of a crime and has no criminal record. Council member Larry Gosset introduced legislation that would change that.

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Since the Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban against gay youth members in May, a handful of churches around the Puget Sound area have decided to cut ties with the organization. Meanwhile, some churches have indicated they are awaiting guidance from national leadership before they make any changes to their existing charters with Scouting units.

drewesque / Flickr

Seattle drivers: Get ready to tap the brakes around more school zones. The city plans to install speed cameras at five more schools after early results indicate that the enforcement devices – and resulting $189 traffic tickets – are motivating drivers to slow down.

In December, the city rolled out the enforcement cameras at four schools. In those school zones, the cameras snap a photo of any vehicles that exceed the 20-mile-per-hour limit. Then the driver later gets a citation in the mail.

Flickr Photo/Seattle Globalist



Forty-eight days: That’s the average time people who are suspected of immigration violations are held in detention in Washington state before they are released or deported. A new report from researchers at Syracuse University also concludes that among states with the largest populations of detainees, Washington ranks among the worst for long detention times: number 20 out of 30.

Harley Soltes

A parade of people who live and work near the collapsed bridge in Mt. Vernon continued to visit the scene today to get a first-hand look at the damage, snap photos and swap news about the accident.

“I’m scared to drive over other bridges,” said Jerry Olmstead, who works in Mt. Vernon and crosses this bridge several times a week. “What if another bridge in Washington goes?”

A sexual harassment lawsuit against an Eastern Washington farm came under scrutiny this week during a congressional hearing. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently lost this expensive, high-profile case and some Congress members are now asking, “Was it worth it?” 

What’s considered the largest proposed disenrollment of tribal members in Washington state is still moving forward, following a tribal court’s ruling this week.  Leaders of the Nooksack Tribe near Bellingham aim to cut ties with 306 of its 2,000 members – that’s 15 percent of the tribe.

Liz Jones / KUOW

Seattle’s native people, the Duwamish, will learn today about their next step in a decades-old legal battle.  The tribe has petitioned the US government for federal recognition, which would make the Duwamish eligible for certain benefits like health care, fishing rights and the chance to run a casino.

H. Barrison / Flickr

Washington Supreme Court Justices heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case that spotlights the Seattle Police Department’s policy regarding public access to dash-camera video footage. The lawsuit, brought by KOMO News against SPD, comes at a time when the police force faces heightened scrutiny about transparency and public accountability.

Liz Jones / KUOW

As lawmakers reconvene in Olympia Monday, the headliner is the state budget, but momentum is building to get the Washington State Dream Act added to the lineup too.  Under the measure, young immigrants who are living in the US illegally would become eligible for college financial aid.

Flickr Photo/Au Zut

In her green minivan, Angelica Villa navigates the farm roads north of Bellingham like a seasoned tour guide. She points out a cannery, a potato plant and miles of berry fields.  Villa previously worked at many of these places and she rattles off story after story about harassment on the job.

Advocates for stricter gun laws in Washington state launched a campaign Monday to take the issue to voters. This comes after state lawmakers voted down a similar bill, SB 1588, that would have expanded background checks on gun sales.

Flickr Photo/Neeta Lind

How long does it take to get a prescription for medical marijuana? More than a few minutes, according to the Washington State Department of Health.  State regulators have suspended the license of a Seattle-area naturopath who did a brisk business at Hempfest event 2011.

The production line at a Boeing facility.
Courtesy/Boeing Company

Boeing officials say pink slips will go out Friday to about a hundred engineers in the Puget Sound area. It’s the first round of more expected cuts for the engineering staff, which Boeing said it plans to reduce by 1,500 to 1,700 positions through layoffs and job openings that will not be filled.

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