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

This photo was taken by an undocumented immigrant featured in a KUOW story in July 2014. It was the last photo he took of America before turning around and walking into Mexico.
Courtesy Jorge Lerma

Build a wall.

Increase deportations.

End protections for young people known as "Dreamers."

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces more resources for immigrant families in the city's public schools.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

The City of Seattle plans to boost counseling resources in public schools for immigrant and refugee students, particularly those who are undocumented or Muslim.

Cari Conklin is helping to throw a birthday bash for Syrian refugees in the Seattle area.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

More than 200 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Washington state. And this New Year’s Day, many in the Seattle area plan to gather for a special party. It’s an important date, but not why you might expect. 


The Burien City Council is set to review various “sanctuary city” proposals Monday. The move aims to protect immigrants and keep local police out of immigration enforcement.

UW unions call for stronger campus protections for immigrants.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Several unions at the University of Washington are calling for stronger protections for immigrants and minority groups. It’s part of a so-called sanctuary movement on campuses across the country following the presidential election. 

KUOW photo/Liz Jones

Since the election last month, some day laborers have said they don't feel comfortable speaking Spanish in public. 

“And that’s here in the City of Seattle, riding on public transit," said Marcos Martinez, Executive Director of Casa Latina, a Seattle non-profit that helps immigrant day laborers find jobs. "That just shows the extent of the problem we have.”


Jay S. Tabb, Jr. (far right) heads the FBI's Seattle office.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

The new head of Seattle’s FBI field office offered some perspective this week on the transition to a Donald Trump administration. 


Juan Munoz, of Tijuana, Mexico, carries two-year-old Haitian migrant Juandele at a shelter for migrants on their way to the United States and for deported migrants Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Tijuana, Mexico.
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Five hundred or so Haitian immigrants are currently being held at detention facilities in Tacoma and Yakima, according to attorneys with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle.

The detainees are mostly young men who left Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, spent a few years on work permits in Brazil, then recently migrated to the U.S.-Mexico border to seek humanitarian relief. 

File photo, 2013. Police arrest protesters in Bellevue.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Know your rights.

That’s the topic many post-election community meetings with immigrants and refugees around Seattle, and around the country.


At Standing Rock, North Dakota.
Courtesy Robie Sterling

A few Seattle doctors returned this week from a rotation in Standing Rock, North Dakota. That’s where an estimated 2,000 protesters are demonstrating against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. We talked with one doctor, who was part of triage team as the standoff escalated Sunday night.


Immigrants packed a gym in Bellevue on Thursday night to talk about Trump's immigration plan.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Hundreds of immigrants packed a school gym on Thursday night. But not for something normal, like a basketball game.


President-elect Donald Trump has said he will end so-called “sanctuary cities” for unauthorized immigrants. That label refers to hundreds of places across the country, including Seattle, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. 

Undocumented mother and daughter Evelyn Guzman and Alejandra Perez say a new president brings uncertainly to their lives in the U.S.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump called for tougher immigration policies. The stakes are high for unauthorized immigrants in the Northwest. 


KUOW photo/Liz Jones

Voter turnout in the U.S. tends to be relatively low among Asians and Latinos, especially those with limited English. In the Seattle area, a final push is underway to reach voters in their native languages.


courtesy Lori Walls

When Adam Crapser was three years old, an Oregon couple adopted him from South Korea. His life in America has been bleak at times. But Crapser, 41, probably never imagined his difficulties would lead to deportation back to the country he left as a toddler.

Yet, to his surprise, he’s not a U.S. citizen. It turns out his adoptive parents never filled out the forms.


A Somali-American woman from Kent, Washington, has been found guilty of funneling money to a terrorist group. Court documents say the money paid for safe houses and military operations for al-Shabaab, a group affiliated with Al Qaeda. 

The case has sparked concerns within the Seattle area’s large Somali community.


KUOW photo/Liz Jones

A King County jury has found a Bellevue man not guilty of threatening a local Muslim woman with a gun. Advocates had called the incident a “hate attack” and pushed for authorities to investigate. 


Osman Mohamed, of Somalia, and his three daughters, ages 2, 4 and 5. Osmon hoped to find paradise in Seattle, but in his first year, his family witnessed a shooting and he was hit by a car.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

For many refugees, the first year can feel like a race against the clock to set up a new life.

You get a little cash up front and a few months of help from a social worker.

Then, you’re mostly on your own.


Tu Tu - people from Burma don't have last names – at his cousin's two-bedroom apartment in Kent. His arrival upped the number of people living there to nine.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Tu Tu is his full name, because Burmese people don't use last names.

He is 20 when he arrives in Seattle. With his long bangs and torn jeans, he looks American.

It terrifies him that he can’t speak English. How will he get by if he can’t communicate? It’s a fear he pushes out of his mind. He’s not supposed to be a kid anymore.

Neda Sharifi Khalafabadi at SeaTac Airport upon her arrival to the Seattle area.
KUOW Photo/Meryl Schenker

The couple won't say why they left Iran.

Did something bad happen?

"Yes," Peiman Karimi, the husband, says. "Not me. To Neda.”

Neda Sharifi Khalafabadi says she doesn’t feel comfortable to talk about it because it would bring everything back. All she says is her case is religious. The rest is confidential.

The U.S. defines a refugee as someone with a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country. Iran is a majority Muslim country. Religious minorities face discrimination, surveillance and arrest.


A large tree prevented this tent, next to the deceased's, from also being run over.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

An investigation continues into the death of a homeless teenager in Seattle. The man was camped in his tent near an Interstate 5 off-ramp when a car struck him early Monday morning.  

Osman Mohamed of Somalia.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

A refugee move to Seattle.

He thought it would be paradise.

Instead, he found guns, violence and struggle. 

Tu Tu on his first shopping trip.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW's race and culture reporter Liz Jones about her series about refugee resettlement in the Puget Sound region.  Jones tracked three refugees from the moment they arrived in this country until about eight months in, which is when their federal benefits run out and they’re on their own to make it in America.  

The goal was to show what their lives are like, the obstacles they’re up against as they race against the clock to start a life here.

Sean Conner (left) speaks about his fear of a police encounter while driving.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Anger, fatigue, frustration, resolve.

Those were some emotions that surfaced at a community gathering Thursday with Seattle police. It was a meeting of SPD’s African American Advisory Council, on the heels of a string of tragedies and tension across the country. 


Mount Calvary member Vera Brooks greets a newcomer at Sunday service.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

After a week of tragedy and racial tensions, Sunday church services gave people a place to talk about it, especially within black congregations in the Seattle area

KUOW's Liz Jones visited the morning service at Mount Calvary Christian Center in Seattle’s Central District.

An appeals court in Seattle heard arguments Thursday in a far-reaching immigration case. The central question is whether minors who face deportation should be appointed lawyers at the government's expense.


Activists and anarchists lived at 1643 King Street for at least 40 years. They called it the King Street Collective.
Courtesy of Ronni Tartlet

If this house could talk, what stories would it tell?

About the Irish-American couple that first owned it?

And the Japanese family sent to an internment camp?

Or the anarchists that played drums during the WTO protests?


Eli Tinoco, mother of two American children, would have qualified for the DAPA program, which remains blocked after a split court decision.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Immigrants and advocates around the Seattle area say their fight is far from over. The recent Supreme Court ruling is a setback, they say, and also a catalyst to focus on the presidential election. 

New Census numbers out Thursday reinforce a trend a you’ve probably noticed: The state’s population is booming. Washington ranks fifth for states that added the most new residents in the past year.

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