immigration | KUOW News and Information


Javier Maldonado arrived at the jail around 8 a.m., July 20.

Police had charged him with trespassing, a misdemeanor, after they said Maldonado entered his neighbor’s apartment in Hood River, Oregon.

Maldonado was ordered to get fingerprinted at North Oregon Regional Corrections Facilities, the jail in The Dalles. And then he was supposed to be released.

Except the jail didn’t let him go.

Instead, officials at the jail locked him up because U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement sent documents asking jail staff to hold Maldonado in custody.

Immigrant rights activist Maru Mora Villalpando speaks to supporters after an initial court hearing on her deportation case.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Prominent immigrant rights activist Maru Mora Villalpando has asked a Seattle immigration judge to throw out her deportation case.

Villalpando’s lawyers claim the Bellingham resident was unlawfully targeted because of her political activity and protests against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Father Antonio Illas was federal immigration agent for 25 years before becoming a priest.
KUOW Photo/Andy Hurst

Father Antonio Illas was a federal immigration agent for 25 years before he turned his life to God.

Updated at 5:27 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that immigrants, even those with permanent legal status and asylum seekers, do not have the right to periodic bond hearings.

Maru Mora Villalpando, far right, joins a 2014 protest outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Newly released public records suggest a prominent Northwest activist was targeted for deportation partly because she spoke out to the media. Lawyers say the documents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raise concerns about free speech.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent an administrative subpoena to Seattle City Light on  January 31st, 2018.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Officials at Seattle City Light have denied a request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On January 31, ICE asked the city for customer information about the person(s) living at one address.

Some are calling it a "fishing expedition" targeting immigrants.

Courtesy of Red Hen Press

Several years ago, Seattle poet Tina Schumann was inspired to compile an anthology of memoir, essays and poems by children of immigrants in the United States. 

Josefina Mora, left, speaks about her mother's deportation case at news conference in January, 2018 outside the Seattle Immigration Court. Her mother, Maru Mora-Villalpando, buries her head on her shoulder as both women fight back tears.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Immigrant advocates are urging Washington state to offer reparations to people whose information was shared with federal immigration officials.

Raphael Sanchez is seen in U.S. District Court in Seattle in this artist's sketch.
Sketch by Peter Millett

People who’ve worked with Raphael Sanchez say they’re shocked to see the complex fraud he carried out for more than four years, for his own personal gain.

Washington Department of Licensing
Washington Department of Licensing

Immigrant rights leaders in Washington state say it's time for Pat Kohler to resign as director of the state's Department of Licensing.

The DOL came under scrutiny in January for handing over people's personal and citizenship information to federal immigration authorities. That violated an executive order from Washington’s governor.

Sketch by Peter Millett

Update 2/15/18, 12:30 p.m.

Raphael Sanchez pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of a wire fraud and aggravated identity theft scheme involving the stolen identities of numerous people. The plea recommends a four-year sentence and restitution paid to victims. A judge will decide sentencing in May.

NW Detention Center Resistance

Several detainees at the immigration jail in Tacoma say they are on hunger strike to push for better conditions. And they claim some guards are taking aggressive steps to stop them.

Musa Sesay completes paperwork while waiting to meet with an immigration expert at McCaw Hall in Seattle on January 23, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Immigrants and refugees can get some free legal services this Saturday at the Seattle Center. For the second year, the city is hosting what it calls a “mega workshop” that aims to help more than a thousand people with citizenship applications and other immigration issues.


State investigators say a farm near Bellingham is not to blame for the death a worker last summer. But the owners face steep fines for other violations.

Flickr Photo/Third Way Think Tank (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/

President Donald Trump talked a lot about immigration in his State of the Union address last night. He said the immigration package in Congress right now would give a path to citizenship for Dreamers, fully secure the border, end the visa lottery and “chain migration.”

Michael Perera speaking at a "Why We Stayed Here" event at Theatre Off Jackson on January 17, 2018.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Michael Perera gave this talk as part of a KUOW-sponsored  “Why We Stayed Here” event that took place at Theatre Off Jackson on January 17. It has been edited and republished with permission.

I started putting this talk together the day after it was announced that someone who lives in Seattle is officially the richest person of all time.

I’m guessing it’s not one of the people in this room. But if it is, can you give me a ride home?

Fifteen years ago, the Chicago Police Department started gathering information about gangs electronically. It was the next big thing at the time for police departments. The idea was to store gang intelligence in one centralized system.

"It allows us to reduce violent crime, to identify the most active gangs and gang members," says Michael Martin, a member of the the Midwest Gang Investigators Association who teaches at the National Gang Center based in Florida.

Lea esta historia en español.

The day was going to be perfect.

Alex figured he would wake up at 6:30 a.m., help get his little brothers up and off to school and catch the bus by 7. After school, the 14-year-old would do something he had been looking forward to for weeks — play in his first football game.

Workers at Sarbanand Farms picking blueberries on August 8, 2017, in Sumas, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Supervisors at a sprawling blueberry farm in northern Washington state threatened and intimidated workers and ordered them to report for 12-hour shifts "unless they were on their death bed," according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday.

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta on election night 2017, when he first was elected to City Council.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

The new mayor of Burien is a former farm-worker and labor organizer and will be the city's first Latino mayor. He was elevated to mayor by his City Council colleagues on Monday.

He won in a 4-1 vote (with two council members abstaining).

Screenshot TV-W

Immigrants without legal status are not eligible for government healthcare plans, like Medicaid.

More than a dozen Washington lawmakers want to create a program to cover some of these immigrants' reproductive healthcare needs, including abortion, birth control and family planning.

File photo
Flickr Photo/Modes Rodríguez (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

At the end of 2017, we posed a question to KUOW listeners on Facebook: Have you experienced increased anxiety or depression this year due to world events and stories in the news?

The responses poured in.

Since last May, thousands of Haitian immigrants have been steadily pouring into Canada, mostly on foot at the Quebec border, in an attempt to flee aggressive anti-immigration policies by the Trump administration.


Over the years, Seattle area activist Maru Mora-Villalpando has staged many protests to speak out for undocumented families and for immigrants held in the Tacoma detention center.

Journalist Maria Hinojosa at UW's Kane Hall
Courtesy of Emile Pitre

Maria Hinojosa and her team at Latino USA have been reporting on how Latinos and Hispanics experience and impact the United States since 1992. That ethnic group accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population growth from 2000 to 2014. The Pew Research Center predicts they will make up 24 percent of the population here by 2065.

Federal immigration enforcement agents raided 7-Eleven stores across the country early Wednesday, in search of employees who are in the U.S. illegally and managers who knowingly employ them.

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted sweeps of 98 stores in 17 states and Washington, D.C., arresting 21 people on suspicion of being in the country illegally.

Updated 9:55 a.m. ET

A federal judge in California temporarily blocked the Trump administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program late Tuesday night.

Widely known as DACA, the program protects young immigrants from deportation. In September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the program would be phased out.

Many immigrants from El Salvador are in a state of shock. On Monday, the Trump Administration announced that it will soon be ending a humanitarian program that has allowed nearly 200,000 of them to live and work in the U.S. since 2001, after two earthquakes devastated their country. Now they worry for their future.

But the potential pain is likely to prove just as acute in El Salvador. That's because nearly all these Salvadoran immigrants work — and a huge share of them regularly send a portion of their earnings to family in El Salvador.

The first thing Neha Mahajan did when she received her authorization to work in the United States was apply for a social security number. Then, she opened up her own bank account.

“I will no longer be my husband’s wife, only,” she declared to PRI’s The World in an interview at the time. Her voice was clear and crisp, groomed from years of working as a broadcast journalist in her native New Delhi.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued Motel 6 on Wednesday, alleging motel employees gave private information about thousands of guests to U.S. immigration authorities.