refugees | KUOW News and Information


Rizwan Samad, president New Wave Travel, outside his Seattle office.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Here’s some advice you wouldn’t typically expect from the owner of a travel agency.

“If you don’t have to travel, please don’t travel — because it’s just going to be nightmare,” said Rizwan Samad, owner of New Wave Travel in Seattle’s University District.

President Donald Trump put a fresh spin on his temporary travel ban this week, but Muslims in the Seattle area, including Samad, still see a host of problems.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he has “major concerns” about President Donald Trump’s new executive order on immigration and refugees. But the Democrat says the fact Trump rescinded his previous travel ban Monday represents a “victory.”

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Bill Radke talks with KUOW immigration reporter Liz Jones about the potential impact of President Trump's new executive order on immigration. It temporarily bars citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from being issued new visas to enter the United States. The revised order eliminates Iraq from the list of banned countries, and it no longer requires an indefinite ban on Syrians.

As President Trump prepares a new executive order on vetting refugees and immigrants, one idea keeps cropping up: checking the social media accounts of those coming to the U.S.

In fact, such a program was begun under the Obama administration more than a year ago on a limited basis and is likely to be expanded. But social media vetting is a heavy lift, and it's too early to tell how effective it will be.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Braced for more troubling news, immigrants around the country nervously await version two of President Trump’s travel ban. The revised executive order is expected next week.

Mohamed Rashid Mohamed has lived in Dadaab for more than 20 years. He hopes to move to Seattle, where he has relatives.
Courtesy of Rwaida Gharib

DADAAB REFUGEE CAMP, KENYA — Mohamed Rashid Mohamed has lived in the Dadaab refugee camp for more than two decades. It’s a sprawling desert camp, home to more than 265,000 refugees.

Caption by photographer Dorothea Lange: Ester Naite, an office worker from Los Angeles, operates an electric iron in her quarters at Manzanar, California, a War Relocation Authority center where evacuees of Japanese ancestry will spend the duration.
Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540

It’s not often that we look back on ugly times in our nation’s history. We’re not very good at that as Americans.

But the Japanese internment has been coming up a lot lately.

Refugees are freezing to flee the US for Canada

Feb 17, 2017

Winters in Canada get cold. Really, really cold.

So people would have to be pretty desperate to walk across the wide expanses of deep snow separating Canada from the US.

But that’s what’s happening.

world relief refugees immigration immigrant
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The effects of President Trump’s travel ban have not been limited to immigrants entering the U.S. Nonprofit groups that resettle refugees are also facing uncertainty.

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Flickr Photo/John McCallum (CC BY ND 2.0)/

Bill Radke talks to Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC radio's On The Coast about the news out of Canada this week. They discuss Prime Minister Trudeau's trip to the U.S., Canada's trade deal with Europe and  refugees crossing the Canadian border. 

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson prepares to talk to the media about a federal judge's ruling on the Trump refugee order Friday, Feb. 3, 2017.
KUOW photo/Amy Radil

President Trump’s immigration ban will remain on hold.

A three-judge panel unanimously denied the federal government’s appeal to reinstate parts of the executive order barring immigrants and refugees of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country.

Ahmad Al Halabi and daughter, Jaidaa, reunite at Sea-Tac Airport.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

“This is the best day of my life,” said Syrian refugee Jaidaa Al Halabi, just minutes after she stepped off a plane at Sea-Tac Airport.


Her younger brother, Mohamed, waited anxiously at the arrival gate then sprinted past the security line as he first glimsped Jaidaa come around the corner.


A younger sister, Alaa, leaned her head back and let out a shout as the tears overcame her.



KUOW Photo/Andy Hurst

Our Immigration Team has been talking with people from local communities who are affected by President Trump's travel ban. Mohamud Yussuf tells KUOW why he was initially was okay with President Trump winning the election, and why now he's afraid to leave the country, despite being a U.S. citizen. Yussuf is a Somali-American who publishes Runta News, which covers the Somali community in the Puget Sound region.

Courtesy of Rabaa family

They were ready. They had even packed gifts for relatives who would greet them in Seattle.

Then a snowstorm delayed the flight.

And the very next day, President Trump signed his temporary immigration ban.

KUOW Photo/Andy Hurst

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle attorney Takao Yamada about, a website he co-founded to provide legal assistance to refugees and immigrants affected by President Trump's travel ban.

Bill Radke talks with Emily Bazelon about the ongoing court battle over President Trump's immigration and refugee travel ban. Bazelon is a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine and a senior research scholar at Yale Law School.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson, left, greets Allen Novak, newly-arrived from Iran, his wife Jayne and their daughter Nikta, Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, at Sea-Tac Airport. Allen Novak joined his family, of Silverdale, Wash., on a conditional resident visa.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Liz Jones talks with Washington's Attorney General Bob Ferguson about the state's lawsuit against President Donald Trump. On Friday, a federal judge in Seattle ordered a temporary halt to the President's immigration ban.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Cordelia Revells anxiously peers down the arrival gate a Sea-Tac Airport.

“We’re looking for a family of six,” Revells says. “You’ll know it’s them because refugees typically carry a white and blue bag from the IOM.” (That’s the International Organization for Migration, which helps coordinate refugee travel from overseas.)

A federal appeals court denied President Trump's attempt to restore his travel ban on refugees and visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries Sunday morning, sending people scrambling to board planes while it is legal once again for them to enter the country.

Updated at 4:13 a.m. ET Sunday

President Trump's travel ban remains suspended, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit denied a Justice Department request to stay the suspension of President Trump's order.

The court asked opponents of the ban to respond to the Trump administration's appeal by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. PT; the court asked the Justice Department to respond by Monday at 3 p.m. PT.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

It ended almost as dramatically as it began.

After working “literally around the clock” all week, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his team went to court against President Donald Trump Friday – and they won, securing a temporary halt to the President’s immigration ban.

Washington refugees world map
KUOW/Kara McDermott

Nearly 25,000 immigrants and refugees in Washington state could be directly affected by an order signed last week (picture SafeCo Field almost half-full). Let’s break those numbers down. 

courtesy Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

The so-called Muslim travel ban may go beyond just stopping people from certain countries at the airport.

Seattle attorneys working with immigrants and refugees have found in recent days that their clients’ paperwork has been frozen in the system.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration. The suit alleges the Executive Order is harming Washington residents and damaging the state's economy.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Washington state is the first in the nation to challenge President Trump’s travel ban. Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a federal lawsuit, saying major portions of the executive order are unconstitutional.  

In the state’s complaint filed Monday, Ferguson says the administration’s policy discriminates based on country of origin and religion. 

Alaa, age 11, takes a selfie with a reporter's camera.

Alaa Al Halabi's big sister was supposed to move here on Monday. 

But President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. 

A refugee family from Iran arrives at SeaTac Airport in 2015
Credit/Meryl Schenker

Kim Malcolm talks with Nicky Smith about how President Trump's refugee ban will impact refugee families living in the Puget Sound region. Smith is executive director of Seattle's office of the International Rescue Committee.

From left, Haider Kadhem, Sarmd Hady, Wafaa Fakhri and Mustafa Kadhem. Fakhri had gone to visit her sister, who is ill, in Iraq. She worried she wouldn't be allowed back in to the U.S., even though she is a green card holder.
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Nervous families gathered at Sea-Tac airport on Monday morning, three days after the president's executive order banning travelers from seven majority Muslim countries.

KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

Thousands protested in downtown Seattle last night against President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration and refugees.

On January 27th, President Trump signed an executive order that halted the arrival of immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries. The order indefinitely banned refugees from Syria. Lama Chikh came to the Seattle area from Damascus, Syria. She lives in Shoreline with her husband and two children.

Leslie Brown, an activist with Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition, shouted into a bullhorn to rally dozens of protesters gathered outside the Edmonds PCC, January 29, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Before crowds packed a protest in Seattle, another protest was already underway.

Dozens of residents crowded onto the four corners of Edmonds Way and 100th Ave W, a busy intersection where locals go for groceries and commuters zoom past to catch the ferry.

They chanted, "No hate! No fear! Refugees are welcome here!" and cheered as cars blared their horns.

Here's what a few attendees told us: