One of the most persistent stories about America — that it was made by immigrants fleeing "the old country" — is also one of the most incomplete. And since stories shape our perception of reality, poet Colleen McElroy is intent on telling another aspect of America's story in "Crossing Oceans." The poem appears in her most recent collection "Here I Throw Down My Heart" (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012).
In her green minivan, Angelica Villa navigates the farm roads north of Bellingham like a seasoned tour guide. She points out a cannery, a potato plant and miles of berry fields. Villa previously worked at many of these places and she rattles off story after story about harassment on the job.
Nigisti Hailemariam has been in the United States for over 20 years. She has two kids, a stable job, and a red Honda outside her three-bedroom apartment. But life wasn't always this peaceful for Nigisti. RadioActive youth producer Yafiet Bezabih tells the story of his mother's journey.
Trish Millines Dziko co-founded the Technology Access Foundation in 1996 to provide science, math, engineering and technology education for Seattle's students of color. Access to technology has improved since the foundation was created, but many low-income students and students of color still face obstacles to becoming innovators and creators. How can we close the gap so all students have equal opportunities? Can programs like this work in all of our school districts? Trish Dziko joins us.
Attorneys with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle say they’ve reached agreement with federal officials on a nationwide class action lawsuit. The case was filed on behalf of immigrants requesting asylum in the US who say they face persecution or harm in their home countries. The settlement aims to speed up the process for asylum seekers to get a work permit.
Supporters of immigration reform call the outside of the Federal Building in downtown Seattle their patio. That’s because they’ve gathered here so many times in the past decade to push for an overhaul to the country’s immigration system, including a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the US illegally.
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.