Seattle is nearing the end of a years-long process to rezone its South Lake Union neighborhood. One of the final points of discussion is whether to increase a fee paid by developers in order to build taller than the city’s height limits. The money pays for affordable housing in the city. Some Seattle City Council members support a fee increase, but opponents say it’s too late in the game to make changes and risk cooling off growth in one of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods. We talk it over with Councilmember Nick Licata and developer A-P Hurd.
There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants now in the US – around a quarter million here in Washington state. Unlike other parts of the country, the majority of immigrants in Washington are from Asian countries. Why aren’t Asian undocumented immigrants more visible in protests and in the press? Ross Reynolds talks with We Belong Together co-chair, Pramila Jayapal.
Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 10:57 am
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.
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.
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.
On a recent night at El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, undocumented workers show up with folders of paperwork. They’ve come to this Latino-focused non-profit to get help with their tax returns.
If you want to marry someone from another country, and you’re a US citizen, chances are your spouse could also gain citizenship through marriage. That is, if the marriage is between a man and a woman. This path to citizenship is not available to gay couples because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Next month, the US Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to this federal law. It’s a case Seattle resident Otts Bolisay is anxious to watch unfold.
According to the Migration Policy Institute as of 2011, 13.3 percent of Washington’s population was born in another country. Today on The Conversation, Ross Reynolds hears stories about traveling to the US in search of a new home.
President Obama thinks E-Verify should be mandatory as part of his plan for immigration reform. Is this a good idea? How accurate is E-Verify? What happens if someone comes up negative? Is immigration contacted immediately? Ross Reynolds talks with CEO Roy Beck of Numbers USA, and Policy Analyst David Bier.
Big changes to US immigration policy could mean more temporary work visas for people with skills like computer programming. Employers in the Northwest including Microsoft say there aren’t enough US workers to meet demand. Now, a bipartisan group of Senators wants to expand the number of temporary worker visas from 65,000 to 115,000. But critics say those jobs can and should be filled by qualified US workers. Ross Reynolds talks with public policy advocate and political strategist Maria Cardona and president of the Programmers Guild, Kim Berry about the ongoing issue of temporary worker visas.
Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Charles Schumer join a bipartisan group of leading senators to announce that they have reached agreement on the principles of sweeping legislation to rewrite the nation's immigration laws, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. The deal covers border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country.
There appears to be a bipartisan deal in Congress to reform the country's immigration policy, as Democrats and Republicans dance a delicate dance in the hopes that neither party jeopardizes the agreement. The proposal by a Senate "Gang of Eight" creates a path to citizenship for 11 million people living in the US without documentation, creates a more secure border and, the GOP hopes, could reshape the political calculations of a growing segment of the electorate. We look at the policy and the politics of immigration reform with University of Washington pollster Matt Barreto.
Some lawmakers in Olympia want to make the Department of Licensing an immigration checkpoint. A proposed bill would require people to prove they are lawfully in the United States in order to get a driver’s license.