The United States is planning an operation to deport recently arrived Central American families who have ignored removal orders from immigration judges, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the plan.

The operation would at least in part affect Central Americans who fled violence in their home countries but were denied asylum in the United States.

Ranj Abudlsamad in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Matt Martin

Bill Radke speaks with Ranj Abdulsamad about coming to Seattle as a refugee in 2012 and how he now helps other refugees adjust to live in America. 

Woody Auge and Irv Friese, the original Chubby and Tubby.
Rainier Valley Historical Society

Chubby and Tubby started selling goods out of a metal hut in 1946 in Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

Low overhead costs helped the business owners get started. Later, they built a store on an old landfill on Rainier Avenue South.

This Iranian refugee family was resettled in Kent this year. It's their first Christmas in the U.S.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

Princess dolls, race cars and bicycles with training wheels. Those are a few of the gifts handed out to hundreds of families in Kent this week. Many were immigrants and refugees, and for some it will be their first Christmas here in the U.S.

The national debate about whether or not to welcome refugees from the war-torn Middle East was hashed out again in Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate. In Twin Falls, Idaho, conservative activists are not just talking about the issue, they're taking action.

Mario, an 18-year-old refugee from Eritrea, outside his host home in Burien. Mario and his siblings each picked out a bike of their own, thanks to a donation to World Relief.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A pot of lentils simmers in the kitchen of an upscale home in Burien. Two teen brothers and their two younger sisters keep watch.

They’re Eritrean refugees, part of a family of nine staying with Carleen Kennedy. Kennedy has opened her home to refugees since 1975.

The Obama administration has announced some changes to the visa waiver program, which allows travelers from some 38 countries including France, Belgium and other European countries, to come to the U.S. without a visa.

The White House announced several steps, including attempting better tracking of past travel, fines for airlines that don't verify passport data, assisting other countries on the screening of refugees and with border security.

'Tribal fishing below Horn Rapids Dam'
Flickr Photo/Scott Butner (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/

Bill Radke speaks with Maria Hinojosa, host of NPR's Latino USA, about the recent episode "Reservations," which features the Yakama Nation in Eastern Washington. Yakama tribal members there are now outnumbered three to one by Latino immigrants. Hinojosa said the increasing number of Mexican farm workers are pushing the tribe toward an existential crisis.  

Latino USA airs on KUOW Tuesdays from 11 p.m. to midnight. 

Syrian refugees Yazan Al-Salkini, 19, center, and brother Nabil, 14, left, hand out water to the homeless in downtown Seattle.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

The debate about resettling Syrian refugees has some people asking, “Why don’t we use that money on homeless veterans instead?”

We asked homeless veterans in downtown Seattle what they thought.

Ezra Stoller.

Mayor David Bowers of Roanoke, Virginia, doesn't want any Syrians resettled in his community. He suggested US officials draw inspiration for how to deal with Syrians from how Japanese Americans were treated during World War II. He even lauded the internment camps many Japanese Americans were confined to during the war.

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

The debate about Syrian refugees continues to gain force. And more Northwest politicians are taking sides, as KUOW’s Liz Jones reports.

Jay Inslee says he won't join the growing list of governors who say they don't want Syrian refugees within their state borders.

In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition, the governor of Washington state publicly welcomed refugees, citing the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, warning fellow governors against "fear," and insisting that background checks minimize whatever risk the refugees may pose.

Will The Paris Attack Change How We See Refugees?

Nov 17, 2015
Members of the Alhamdan family arrived at Sea-Tac Airport recently. They joined a tiny community of about 25 Syrian refugees who've arrived in Washington in the past few years.
Liz Jones/KUOW Public Radio

Should the U.S. suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees because one of the Paris attackers reportedly entered Europe with the recent flood of people fleeing ISIS?

At least 31 U.S. governors say yes. Not Gov. Jay Inslee – he said Washington state will keep welcoming the refugees.

Liz Jones/KUOW

Washington state will continue to welcome Syrian refugees. That’s the word from Governor Jay Inslee. At least 19 other U.S. governors have called to block refugees from Syria in response to the Paris attacks.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

One of the suicide bombers who struck Paris on Friday has been identified as a Syrian who passed through Greece as an asylum-seeker this year and registered with European authorities.

That fact has spurred a strong reaction from many politicians here in the United States over the resettlement of Syrian refugees, with swift opposition from many Republican governors, and one Democrat, to further resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states.