Culture Shift

MABTON, Wash. - Most American families have some kind of immigration lore -- think Ellis Island, the Oregon Trail and slave ships. At dinner tables across the Northwest, some Mexican-American families tell their own vivid tales. They regale each other with stories of relatives swimming to better opportunities across the Rio Grande or crossing the desert at night.

Yes, these crossings are illegal, but they also are part of a family’s history. If the U.S. Congress adopts comprehensive immigration reform this year, these types of border stories could begin to fade.

BREWSTER, Wash. - There's one word that politicians almost always use when they talk about the U.S. immigration system. That word is “broken.” But what does that really mean? Residents of the small town of Brewster, Wash., know. For decades, immigrants have come from Mexico, often illegally, to work the surrounding apple and cherry orchards. Bewster, it turns out, is a microcosm of how the immigration debate is playing out.

What Would Jesus Do About Immigration Reform?

Mar 18, 2013
Flickr Photo/DickMorgan

When it comes to immigration, people from all over the political spectrum seem to agree on one thing: the system is broken. Now, support for immigration reform is growing among an unexpected group.  Religious conservatives in Washington state, as well as all around the country, are coming out in support of immigration reform.

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.