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immigration

Yolany Padilla hugs her 6-year-old son Jelsin after being reunited on Saturday, July 14, 2018, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Tap or click on the first image to see more.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

A mother and child from Honduras, forced apart for nearly two months, are the first family of asylum seekers to be reunited in the Northwest.

Across the country, families that U.S. immigration officials had separated at the U.S.-Mexico border are beginning to be reunited.

Yolany Padilla, an asylum seeker separated from her 6-year-old son as part of the Trump Administration's 'zero tolerance' policy, wipes her face as she sits at a news conference Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Yolany Padilla and her six-year-old son, Jelsin, crossed the border into Texas in May after fleeing Honduras, one of the world's most violent nations. But after turning themselves in to immigration officials and being detained separately, Padilla hasn't seen her son in two months, she told reporters in Seattle on Wednesday. 


Alone in a Border Patrol detention facility, separated from her mother, 6-year-old Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid knew what she had to do.

She had to persuade somebody — anybody — to call her aunt. She knew the number by heart, she said, rattling it off as other migrant children around her cried. Her pleas were captured on audio covertly recorded inside the facility, and published on June 18 by a journalist at ProPublica.

Now, a month and two days after their separation, Jimena and her mother have been reunited at an airport in Houston.

The head of the U.S. Census Bureau says the controversy over a new question about U.S. citizenship on the 2020 census is complicating its preparations to conduct a national head count.

For the first time since 1950, the Census Bureau will ask all U.S. households about citizenship status, specifically, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"

Dr. Nick Nelson walks through busy Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., to a sixth-floor exam room, where he sees patients from around the world who say they have fled torture and violence.

Nelson, who practices internal medicine, is the medical director of the Highland Human Rights Clinic, part of the Alameda Health System. A few times each week, he and his team conduct medical evaluations of people who are seeking asylum in the United States.

Hands hold a DNA molecule whose bars have been formed into a cage.
Flickr Photo/thierry erhmann (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/4i3QFK

Late last month, a federal judge in San Diego gave the Trump administration two weeks to reunite children under five with their parents, after immigration officials separated them at the border as part of a deterrence policy.

The problem? Records weren't kept, or in some cases had been destroyed. The solution, according to the administration: DNA testing of the children and their purported parents, which has many concerned about the ethical implications.

Panshu Zhao moved to the U.S. from China about eight years ago to study. It was the culmination of a lifelong dream.

Since then, he has completed a graduate degree and is now pursuing a doctorate in geography at Texas A&M University. In describing his life to NPR's Steve Inskeep on Friday, he divided it into two parts: his life in China and his American life.

KUOW PHOTO / Casey Martin

While many people were barbecuing and playing in the sun for the Fourth of July, hundreds in Seattle became new U.S. citizens.


Activists in two separate protests against the Trump administration's immigration policies were arrested at the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday — one group unfurling a banner calling for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while in another act of defiance, a woman climbed the statue's base to protest immigrant family separations.

Protesters occupy the sidewalk and into the street during the Solidarity Day protest outside of the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac.
Daniel Berman for KUOW

Bill Radke talks to our panelists about the 'Familes Belong Together' protests across the country over the weekend, including the rally at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center. We also discuss what the end of the Sasquatch music festival means for the city's arts scene, and if the City of Seattle's app should be used to report homeless encampments.

In El Salvador's capital, San Salvador, people drive around with their car windows closed to avoid petty theft. But when they enter neighborhoods controlled by gangs, they keep their car windows open, to show their faces. That way the gangs know they're not an enemy.

In the center of one such neighborhood, known as La Dina, a tiny Baptist church sits on a narrow street. In a neighborhood notorious for violence, it is the one place gangs leave alone.

Immigrant families seeking asylum walk to a respite center after they were processed and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Friday, June 29, 2018, in McAllen, Texas.
AP Photo/Eric Gay

A mom and her 7-year-old son traveled to the U.S. from Guatemala. She is currently at the federal detention in SeaTac. This is her story, as told to Liz Jones. Translated from Spanish.

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal said she was the only person many of the women, asylum seekers currently imprisoned in SeaTac, had seen. A few had also seen attorneys. Unless they ask for an attorney, Jayapal said, they don't get one.
Daniel Berman for KUOW

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle) was arrested on Thursday during an immigration protest held on the floor of a Senate office building in Washington, D.C. 

A federal employee walks past cribs inside of the barracks of a family detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, for those crossing the border. This photo is from 2014, when attorney Danielle Rosché volunteered there.
AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca, File

Family detention — two words that still haunt Danielle Rosché, an immigration attorney.

Pamela and Afshin Raghebi relax together. The couple has been separated since Afshin left the US to seek permanent legal status and has not been permitted to return home.
Courtesy of Pamela Raghebi

Seattle resident Pamela Raghebi is separated from her husband Afshin, who's orginally from Iran. After leaving the country in March to acquire legal status, Afshin has been unable to return to the United States.

The Supreme Court ruling upholding President Trump's travel ban means that Afshin may not be able to return home.


Maru Mora, right, smiles with Murphy Mitchel before her ICE hearing on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, outside of the Immigration Court building on 2nd Avenue in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A Seattle immigration judge has granted a continuance in the deportation case of immigration rights activist Maru Mora-Villalpando. A large crowd gathered outside of the Immigration Court building on 2nd Avenue Tuesday afternoon to stand in solidarity with Mora-Villalpando.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

In a 5-4 ruling that gave broad leeway to presidential authority, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump's travel ban that barred nearly all travelers from five mainly Muslim countries as well as North Korea and Venezuela.

The president's proclamation was "squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the INA," the court wrote in its majority opinion, referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

"A moment of profound vindication"

Updated at 1:42 p.m. ET

Despite pressure from President Trump for the U.S. to arrest and prosecute anyone caught crossing the border illegally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says its agents will temporarily suspend the practice of detaining adults who arrive with children — something that had been a tenet of Trump's "zero tolerance" policy.

A stroller was used to hold up a sign during the Solidarity Day protest outside of the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac.
Daniel Berman for KUOW

Question: “I’m a new mom to a six-month-old baby, and hearing how desperately these women missed their children, and vice versa, made me feel heartbroken and ashamed of our country,” listener Kari Blankenship wrote.  

She and other KUOW listeners have been asking what they can do to help locally detained parents. 

Sara de la Fuente, of Vancouver, said she showed up to protest the detention of mothers separated from their children at the border because she couldn't stay at home and do nothing.
Daniel Berman for KUOW

Three women separated from their children at the U.S. border and detained in the Seattle area are suing the federal government.

Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) filed the lawsuit in federal court on Monday.

KUOW PHOTO/KRISTIN LEONG

Washington sues the Trump Administration over its policy of separating migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, Seattle looks for a new strategy to fund affordable housing, and the University of Washington settles a free speech case.

Plus: Summer's finally here and we're already debating air conditioning. Do you even need it in the Northwest?

As the other kids cry inconsolably on an audio recording of migrant children, 6-year-old Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid can be heard pleading for someone to call her aunt — reciting the number in Spanish.

Jimena is from El Salvador, and had just crossed into the U.S. before she was detained and separated from her mother.

Mariela Mahoney-Armas, 9, left, and Anni Armas light candles on Thursday, June 21, 2018, during a prayer and procession for families at the border at St. James Cathedral in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Hundreds marched in solidarity with families affected by President Trump's zero tolerance immigration policy Thursday night in Seattle. The prayer and procession for families at the border began at Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral and ended with a candlelit service at St. James Cathedral.


Earlier this week in Tacoma, Washington, police tactical squads staged coordinated raids on middle class homes converted into indoor pot farms. What the authorities found follows a recent pattern in West Coast states: all of the marijuana growers arrested were immigrants from China who spoke little or no English.

Children from the Children's Aid Society. The Children's Aid Society was founded to find homes for poor children of big Eastern cities. Its critics say that Catholic children were forcibly removed and sent to perform slave labor on Midwestern farms.
Library of Congress Photo Archives

Un-American: A word being used to describe the separations of children from their parents at the Mexican border.

History, however, suggests this is very American.

A Texas sheriff has barred his deputies from taking on additional work as off-duty security at a recently built tent encampment intended to house migrant children separated from their parents at the border.

El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles said he feared the assignment to oversee minors forcibly separated from their parents would fuel the current controversy over the practice and undermine trust between law enforcement and the people they serve.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
Facebook Photo/Governor Jay Inslee

Governor Jay Inslee announced that Washington state is suing the Trump Administration over the family separation policy. Ross Reynolds asked him what that means, when the policy seems to be changing daily.

"We have demonstrated time and time again that this rogue and chaotic administration needs to have the semblance of order and fairness and equity that is given to us by the protection of the judicial system," said Governor Inslee, referring to the state's other lawsuits.

The federal prison at SeaTac where 177 women seeking asylum have been jailed. About half of those women were taken from their children at the border. The children were between 3 and 16 years.
Daniel Berman for KUOW

Some moms held at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center were so distressed they couldn’t speak, according to attorneys who have volunteered to interview asylum seekers there. 


Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Trump administration officials recently retreated on a policy to separate families at the border. Some have blamed past administrations for the stories of chaotic separations and traumatized children; others have pointed to Congress. And then one official claimed divine authority on the matter.


KUOW/Amy Radil

Hundreds of community members packed a meeting at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle on Wednesday to find out how to help asylum seekers detained in SeaTac and Tacoma. 


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