Immigration in the Northwest | KUOW News and Information

Immigration in the Northwest

Graduates of the International Rescue Committee summer school program, including Ikran Osman, 5, center, sit in the cafeteria before a graduation ceremony on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at Showalter Middle School in Tukwila.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Last year more than 1,700 refugees entering Washington state were school aged children. But many of them were not ready for the classroom.

For nearly a decade, a resettlement program has been running summer school in Tukwila for refugee kids to help them get ready to learn.

Farmworkers march in protest of working conditions at Sarbanand Farms on Wednesday, August 8, 2017, after a fellow worker, Honesto Silva Ibarra, 28, died on Sunday. Click or tap on this image for more photos.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

SUMAS, WASHINGTON — They walked along a dusty, country road, fields of ripe blueberries stretching for miles. 


KUOW Photo / Amina Ibrahim

The process of immigrating to the U.S. is complicated and getting harder all the time. Abdulai Yakubu immigrated from Ghana to go to Cornell University and ended up in Seattle. 

He has made it most of the way through the immigration process. Now he’s now wading through the questions of the U.S. Application for Naturalization.  Click or tap on the photos above to see his answers. 

The Burien City Council. (Back row) Councilmember Debi Wagner, Councilmember Austin Bell, Councilmember Stephen Armstrong, Councilmember Bob Edgar. (Front row) Mayor Lucy Krakowiak, Deputy Mayor Nancy Tosta, Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz.
Official photograph

Bill Radke talks with Craig Keller and Pedro Olguin about a Burien city ordinance meant to protect immigrants. The ordinance makes it illegal for city employees to ask residents about their immigration status.

On Monday, the Burien City Council voted to put Ordinance 651 up to a public vote this November.

A family waits to speak with an immigration attorney at a free legal clinic hosted by the City of Seattle
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Kim Malcolm talks with Wired Magazine senior writer Issie Lapowsky about a new Senate proposal that would overhaul the legal immigration system in the U.S.

It would cut in half the number of immigrants admitted to the U.S. and scrap the current system, which favors family reunification.

Instead, it would introduce what the president calls a "merit-based" system. Immigrants with English proficiency, education and high-paying job offers would be given preference to acquire a green card.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

State and local governments in Washington receive millions in federal police grants. This week, the Justice Department said some of these future grants are contingent on immigration enforcement. It’s the administration’s latest swing at so-called sanctuary cities.

A detainee sits in the intake area at the Tacoma Detention Center in 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When the Department of Justice ordered a group of Seattle lawyers to stop helping in some immigration cases, the lawyers fought back.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones sided with the lawyers again in a nationwide ruling.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The Trump Administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants is causing some people to avoid seeking medical care.  Public Health Seattle-King County is taking steps to reassure patients.


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.

Pages