Immigration in the Northwest | KUOW News and Information

Immigration in the Northwest

Dozens of murals hang on the walls at the Northwest Detention Center. They're painted by detainees, and the designs must be approved by staff. Painting is also considered a voluntary job, and the artists are paid $1 per day for their work.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The policy changes came fast as President Donald Trump took office.

In Seattle, a city where roughly one in five people are immigrants, protests erupted. First, when Trump ordered a crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants.

Jacinta Morales learned she was pregnant after she was processed into ICE detention. She said she was happy to be pregnant.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

She wears a yellow uniform, loose, with a sweatshirt underneath. Her long hair, braided in tight cornrows near her temples. Her handshake, timid.

We talk in a small meeting room at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, with her attorney and an interpreter.


Detainee at theImmigration and Customs Enforcement's Tacoma Detention Center in July, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with Franco Ordonez, White House correspondent for McClatchy, about the uncertain future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA shields some immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation.

Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington
Flickr Photo/Michael Matti (CC-BY-NC-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/gx9bsh

International students would face tougher scrutiny under a proposal being considered by the Trump Administration.

According to the Washington Post, foreign college students would have to reapply for their visas each year in order to stay in the U.S. Currently, international students can live in the U.S. as long as they're enrolled in college on full-time basis.

Manuel stands next to a window in his English class.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Every year tens of thousands of children unlawfully cross the border without parents or guardians. They’re fleeing violence and poverty.


courtesy Agenda Migrante

As some Dreamers feel less welcome in the U.S., Mexico is making a play to attract them back. A small delegation from Mexico recently visited Seattle to meet with local officials, advocates and undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.


South Lake Union neighborhood, home to many Seattle tech companies
Flickr Photo/Tim Eytan (CC-BY-SA-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9yHUyP

Emily Fox talks with immigration attorney Tahmina Watson about President Trump's decision to put an end to the International Entrepreneur Rule, which would have allowed some foreign business owners to build their companies in the U.S.

An immigrant detainee knits at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

President Trump’s vow to crack down on illegal immigration has focused renewed attention on the detention centers built to hold immigrants awaiting deportation.


KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A portion of President Trump’s travel ban on six majority Muslim nations is set to be reinstated on Thursday. Much has changed since the initial ban rolled out in late January, leading to a weekend of chaos and protest at Sea-Tac Airport. This time around is likely to be more subdued.


KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Bill Radke talks with KUOW immigration reporter Liz Jones about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear arguments this fall on President Trump's revised travel ban. The high court also allowed portions of the travel ban to take effect beginning on Thursday.

Scott Goddard, left, assists Selso Olivan and Alexi Martinez, right, in the Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest R.V., the "Welcome Center," outside of the Northwest Detention Center on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Tacoma, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It’s late afternoon when two men emerge from the Northwest Detention Center.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Immigrant advocates say more than 25 women joined a hunger strike this weekend at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. This follows reports of similar protests at the immigration lockup in April.

Canada flag American flag
Flickr Photo/Bruno Casonato (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/c1MdB

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Times reporter Nina Shapiro about why a growing number of asylum seekers are sneaking into Canada through Washington state.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

It’s graduation season. For high school students it’s the beginning of a new chapter in their young adult life. For migrant students, graduation marks a special milestone.


Detainees are shown inside a holding cell at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., Friday, Oct. 17, 2008.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

If you’re convicted of a first-time DUI in Washington state, you could be sentenced to one night in jail, pay up to $5,000 in fines, and lose your driver’s license for 90 days.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

This relationship started off with reservations.

KUOW Photo/Andy Hurst

Hate crimes in Seattle are on the rise.

So far this year, 80 separate incidents have been reported to police. The city is on pace for 320 hate crimes this year — an increase of 25 percent — and that's affecting the health of refugees and immigrants. 

"The climate has changed over the last several months," said Harborview pediatrician Suzinne Pak-Gorstein. "We felt almost a palpable level of increase in fear among a lot of families and communities that we serve."

The Alhamdan family -- two parents and six children -- arrived recently in Seattle from Syria. They are joining a tiny community of 25 recent Syrian refugees.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Washington state could welcome more refugees soon.

The U.S. State Department said it will lift restrictions on refugee admissions.

The agency said that's because of  a new spending bill passed by Congress, not because of the legal battle over President Trump's travel ban.


KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Auburn police officer Aaron Williams furrows his brow as he reroutes his patrol car to a 911 call.

“Yeah, you can send me,” Williams responds to the radio dispatch.


King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle
Flickr Photo/Jimmy Emerson (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/QtLnU

President Donald Trump's budget proposal could have huge implications for King County. The White House wants to redefine what it means to be a "sanctuary jurisdiction."

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces a lawsuit against the Trump administration on March 29, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Kim Malcolm talks with Huffington Post immigration reporter Elise Foley about how President Trump's budget proposal could impact sanctuary jurisdictions like Seattle and King County.

The Trump Administration wants to change a key law that would require jurisdictions that receive law enforcement grants to comply with federal requests to detain immigrants. 

Detainees are shown inside a holding cell at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., Friday, Oct. 17, 2008.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

President Donald Trump is following through on his promise to crack down on illegal immigration.

Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday announced a huge spike in the number of people arrested in the Northwest.

ICE community relations officer Melissa Nitsch (left) talks with community members
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A young mom with a stroller took a seat in front as about 50 people filled the pews at a church in Bellevue on a Thursday morning.

Many are immigrant advocates, and they came to talk with Melissa Nitsch, a community relations officer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) vehicle in downtown Seattle
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Kim Malcolm talks with reporter George Joseph about how federal immigration officials are able to directly access regional law enforcement databases, including Law Enforcement Information Exchange Northwest, which contains data from the Seattle Police Department.

KUOW/Liz Jones

In Seattle today, a panel of federal judges heard arguments on President Trump's second travel ban.

Following a lawsuit from the state of Hawaii, the ban was blocked in March by a lower court. At issue is whether that ruling should stand.

At a Seattle courtroom on Monday, in the latest battle in the legal war over President Trump's currently suspended travel ban, lawyers and judges pushed and pulled on the swirling questions over Trump's intentions and the legal limits on executive power.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from lawyers for the U.S. government and the state of Hawaii over the executive order that would block travelers from six majority-Muslim countries.

The Washington state Capitol in Olympia.
Flickr Photo/amishrobot (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/4PxvK4

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill this week that bolsters legal protections for young, undocumented immigrants who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned by their parents.

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

The Kent Valley — Renton, Kent and Auburn —  is best known as the biggest manufacturing center in the state. But it’s also a hub for the region’s immigrant community. 

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

When people face deportation at a court in Seattle or Tacoma, and they don’t have an attorney, the immigration judge will often drop a name: The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

The group’s legal staff provides free help filling out forms and translating documents – even if an attorney can’t take on the full case.


Two hands are painted on the wall mark the area where detainees are supposed put their own before they were processed at the former INS building.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

People may know about the immigration detention center in Tacoma. But one of the earlier detention centers was in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District.

It was built to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act that was signed into law 135 years ago this week. The law prohibited Chinese laborers from entering the country. 

Pages