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refugees

Mary Ann Peters, "impossible monument (flotsam)" detail
Courtesy Mary Ann Peters

Last Saturday’s biological weapons attack in Syria set off yet another wave of involuntary migration. Lebanese-American artist Mary Ann Peters says that this water-based lingo isn’t an accident. 


Sameth Mell poses for a portrait on Monday, April 2, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

For Cambodian Americans, April marks the Khmer new year. It's also when survivors of the Cambodian genocide remember the fall of Phnom Penh.

Sameth Mell and his family were among thousands who fled Cambodia. In Spring of 1986, through church sponsorship, they arrived in Seattle. This is his story, as told to Ruby de Luna. 

Refugee youth share funny stories about life in America

Feb 13, 2018
KUOW PHOTO/Lila Kitaeff

KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media partnered with the Coalition for Refugees from Burma to run a six-week podcasting workshop with refugee youth at Kent-Meridian High School.

Here, RadioActive's Alivia Thrift, one of the workshop mentors, shares highlights from each of the podcasts.


Since last May, thousands of Haitian immigrants have been steadily pouring into Canada, mostly on foot at the Quebec border, in an attempt to flee aggressive anti-immigration policies by the Trump administration.

Jaidaa Bazara, left, with her younger siblings Alaa and Mohamed Bazara.
Courtesy of International Rescue Committee/Nick Hall

In the wake of the Trump Administration’s travel ban, the resettlement of Syrian refugees to the U.S. slowed considerably. In Washington state, the number dwindled to just 29 people in 2017, compared to nearly 200 the year before.

Editor's Note: This story was updated on Dec. 29 to reflect the new closing date for the exhibition.

At first glance, it seems like a charming exhibition: Ten old-fashioned suitcases, with a miniature diorama in each. The models, with their meticulously detailed furnishings, remind you of dollhouses.

Then you spot snaking tangles of exposed wires, rubble-strewn streets and blasted chandeliers. A child's tricycle is gritty, covered in dust.

Hiwot Taddesse, left, and Executive Chef Lisa Nakamura laugh while cooking at the Ubuntu Street Cafe on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, in Kent.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

On a quiet side street in Kent sits the Ubuntu Street Cafe. Ubuntu, which means humanity toward others, is the brainchild of Veena Prasad, executive director of Project Feast. 

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Hawaii has partially blocked President Trump's third attempt to restrict entry into the U.S. for citizens of certain countries. The Department of Justice says it plans to appeal.

The newest version of the travel ban was due to go into effect on Wednesday. Like two previous executive orders, it was challenged in multiple courts. The new ruling by Judge Derrick K. Watson is only one piece of the complicated legal puzzle over the long-term fate of the president's efforts to limit travel to the U.S.

Light shines through a poster with a photograph of a displaced child as students from Morningside Academy gather around the Forced From Home exhibit on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at the South Lake Union Discovery Center in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

As the Trump administration plans to reduce the number of refugees entering the country, Doctors Without Borders wants to show you just what it's like to be driven out of your home, and forced to find a new place to live. 

The Trump administration plans to cap the number of refugees the U.S. will accept next year at 45,000. That is a dramatic drop from the level set by the Obama administration and would be the lowest number in years.

The White House formally announced its plans in a report to congressional leaders Wednesday, as required by law.

The number of refugees the U.S. admits has fluctuated over time. But this cap is the lowest that any White House has sought since the president began setting the ceiling on refugee admissions in 1980.

This story comes from NPR's Rough Translation podcast, which explores how ideas we wrestle with in the U.S. are being discussed in the rest of the world.

Sophia Lierenfeld didn't set out to give dating advice to Syrian refugees.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks with Thanh Tan and James Hong about the lasting impact of the Vietnam War on the children of Vietnamese refugees. Tan is host of KUOW's new podcast Second Wave. Hong is executive director of Seattle's Vietnamese Friendship Association.

In the latest episode of Second Wave, Tan interviews filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick about their new documentary "The Vietnam War."

The U.S. Supreme Court will temporarily allow the Trump administration to block many refugees from six mostly Muslim countries without direct familial ties in the United States from entering this country.

In a brief order issued Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy delayed implementation of a ruling issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week that would have allowed entry to refugees with formal ties to resettlement agencies here.

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.

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.

The Australian government has agreed to a $53 million settlement with 1,905 people who were held at a refugee detention camp on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

It's one of the largest human rights class-action settlements in Australian history.

The Manus Island camp, an all-male facility, has for years been blasted by rights groups for its conditions. The detainees party to the lawsuit were held there at various times between November 2012 and May 2016, and say they suffered from negligence and false imprisonment.

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.


Refugees make headlines. Internally displaced people don't.

Maybe their plight eludes the limelight because, unlike refugees, they don't cross international borders ... or seek to enter the United States or Western Europe, where people debate how many of them to let in ... or undertake harrowing voyages across the Mediterranean.

And maybe it's because of their official label. "Internally displaced persons" (also known as IDPs) sounds vague and a bit confusing, as if they were lost inside themselves.

Marwal Frotan plays with his daughter Bushra in their Kent home. Frotan and his family moved to Seattle four months ago.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Many refugee resettlement agencies have been in limbo since the travel bans came out.


Jacque Larrainzar, one of the first people from Mexico to be granted asylum in the United States based on her sexuality.
KUOW Photo/ Amina Al-Sadi

Jacque Larrainzar fled Mexico in the late 1990s. She asked the woman at the airport how far she could go with the $300 in her pocket, and the woman suggested she fly to Seattle.

Jewish children protest the so-called Muslim travel ban at Sea-Tac International Airport.
KUOW File Photo/Liz Jones

Airports were in chaos in January, hours after President Trump issued an executive order barring people from seven Muslim countries. 

Volunteers help with citizenship forms.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

In two separate measures passed Monday, Seattle and King County set aside money for low-income immigrants who may need a lawyer or legal advice.

That would include people who face deportation, most of whom don't have an attorney.

Victor Pizarro, who runs a cab company in Plattsburgh, N.Y., started noticing something unusual in January, around the time of President Trump's inauguration.

People who didn't speak English were getting off at the bus station in the city, located about 20 miles from the Canadian border, and handing his drivers a piece of paper that read, "Take me to Roxham Road. How much?"

Pizarro had never heard of Roxham Road. It's a narrow street that dead-ends in a ditch marking the border between the U.S. and Canada.

The Swedish word uppgivenhetssyndrom sounds like what it is: a syndrome in which kids have given up on life. That's what several hundred children and adolescents have done — literally checked out of the world for months or years. They go to bed and don't get up. They're unable to move, eat, drink, speak or respond. All of the victims of the disorder, sometimes called resignation syndrome, have been youngsters seeking asylum after a traumatic migration, mostly from former Soviet and Yugoslav states. And all of them live in Sweden.

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen at Seattle Public Library
KUOW photo/Sonya Harris

Before Viet Thanh Nguyen became the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel “The Sympathizers,” he was a 4-year-old boy uprooted from war-torn Vietnam and transported to a refugee camp in the United States.

Nguyen’s experience as a refugee marked his journey towards becoming an American in crucial ways. He describes the experience of being both a refugee and an American as being “split in two.”

Six times in recent days, Marco Antonio Cabachuela, his wife, Irma, and their 3-year-old, Valerie, walked up to federal immigration officers at the Hidalgo, Texas, port of entry and asked for asylum.

And every night, they returned to an immigrant shelter in Reynosa, Mexico, where men and women sit listlessly in a shady courtyard.

"They rejected it," he says. "They said there was no room for us."

Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC BY-NC-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/bt29wL

Kim Malcolm talks with Kaiser Health News reporter Julie Rovner about how immigrants and refugees may be affected by the American Health Care Act, the House Republicans' replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

The State Department is running out of visas for Afghans who are in danger because they worked with the U.S. government in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the U.S. State Department announced that it expected the visas to be depleted by June 1 and that "No further interviews for Afghan principal applicants ... will be scheduled after March 1, 2017."

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson smiles during a news conference about President Trump's new executive order Monday, March 6, 2017, in Seattle. The new ban, which takes effect March 16, halts travel for 90 days for residents of Iran, Libya,
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The state will continue to press its legal case against President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today.

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