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

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.

Liz Jones / KUOW

The mood was upbeat Wednesday afternoon as supporters of immigration reform gathered in Seattle for a press conference. Students, union workers and immigrant advocates cheered the long-awaited arrival of a proposed bill in Congress. But many at the event also voiced mixed feelings about a few things the bill includes and a few things it leaves out.

USCIS

Attorneys with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle say they’ve reached agreement with federal officials on a nationwide class action lawsuit.  The case was filed on behalf of immigrants requesting asylum in the US who say they face persecution or harm in their home countries. The settlement aims to speed up the process for asylum seekers to get a work permit.

Liz Jones / KUOW

Supporters of immigration reform call the outside of the Federal Building in downtown Seattle their patio. That’s because they’ve gathered here so many times in the past decade to push for an overhaul to the country’s immigration system, including a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in  the US illegally.

Flickr Photo/Dave Herholz

Supporters of a bill dubbed the Washington Dream Act plan to make one more uphill push in Olympia Tuesday. The measure would extend state financial aid to eligible college students who are in the US illegally. Hopes for the bill dwindled this weekend as a key state senator spoke out against the measure.

Liz Jones / KUOW

A new mega-hotel proposed for downtown Seattle aims to draw more big conventions to the city. The developer posted its official public notice with the city Thursday, as a first step in the approval process. The proposal is to build a 43-story tower on the block that’s currently home to the Greyhound bus station.

King County Jail in downtown Seattle.
King County Photo

If you’re booked into a King County jail, you’ll stay an extra month on average if immigration officials want to review your file. That’s even if you haven’t been charged with a crime.

Courtesy Photo

At the Duwamish Longhouse in West Seattle, Cecile Hansen traces her finger down a plaque of names. “Look at all our leaders, starting with the chief here,” Hansen says.

Immigrant restaurant workers
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Next time you go out for a nice dinner, give a listen near the restaurant’s kitchen. Amid the bustle, there’s a decent chance you’ll hear chefs, cooks or dishwashers speaking Spanish.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Seattle schoolteacher Sandra Aguila became a US citizen through the last major immigration reform bill, which President Ronald Reagan signed in 1986. Aguila had arrived in the US one year earlier at age 25. She spoke almost no English. “I could only say ‘good morning,’” she laughs.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

On a recent night at El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, undocumented workers show up with folders of paperwork. They’ve come to this Latino-focused non-profit to get help with their tax returns.

Flickr/Common Language Project

Sequestration has apparently led to a “get out of jail free” card for some detainees at an immigration lockup in Tacoma.

Flickr Photo/rwoan

The Seattle Sonics' basketball season is penciled-in at Key Arena for next year. During a Seattle City Council briefing Monday, city officials said game days have been set aside at Key Arena starting in November.  

A campaign is mounting to switch up how Seattle City Council members are elected. Currently, members can live in any part of the city and their job is to represent the whole of Seattle. A campaign called Seattle Districts Now aims to divide the city into seven smaller districts with a council seat based in each one. Voters in each district would then elect a council member to represent their specific neighborhoods and interests.

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