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refugees

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:

Father Tim Clark of Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic Church in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Amy Radil

Father Tim Clark found this Sunday's Christian scripture particularly relevant to the turmoil over President Donald Trump’s orders on refugees and immigrants.

It was Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, where he blesses the meek and the merciful.


Muwafag Gasim, of Sudan and Seattle, was detained for five hours upon return from a family visit. Gasim is a construction engineer in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Muwafag Gasim, a construction engineer in Seattle, touched down at Sea-Tac International Airport at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday.

He lined up with his fellow passengers to present his passport and visa to U.S. Customs and Border Protection – a step required of passengers flying in from abroad.

It’s been an emotional weekend for Washington residents hoping to reunite with family as officials tried to enforce President Trump’s travel ban on immigrants and refugees arriving from certain predominantly Muslim countries.

Democrats have condemned the travel ban. Reaction from the state’s Republican congressional delegation has been somewhat mixed.

This Syrian mother does not know when her family will be reunited again. Click through for more photos taken by her 11-year-old daughter, Alaa.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

This week was meant to be a reunion for the Al Halabi family. They’re Syrian refugees who live just south of Seattle. Two grown children, still in Turkey, were set to fly here Monday. One of them is almost seven months pregnant.  But the president’s immigration ban means they’ll remain separated indefinitely.


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Flickr Photo/Heisenberg Media/https://flic.kr/p/iedLj7

Microsoft has released a general statement of support for immigration in response to Donald Trump's ban -- but without taking on the president directly.

KUOW photo/Liz Jones

Syrian families in Washington state are devastated to learn about a new ban on fellow refugees seeking to come here.

President Trump's temporary ban on the admission of refugees is not going over well with the churches and religious organizations that handle most refugee resettlements in the United States.

"The faith groups are going to kick and scream and object to every aspect of this disgusting, vile executive order," says Mark Hetfield, president of HIAS, a Jewish refugee society. "[It] makes America out to be something that it is not. We are a country that welcomes refugees."

KUOW photo/Liz Jones

Every day, newly arrived refugees just show up at Marwa Sadik’s office, at the Iraqi Community Center in Kent. Many are Iraqi, like her. Or from Syria, where she grew up.


Bill Radke speaks with KUOW reporter Liz Jones about the potential fallout from President Trump's upcoming immigration executive order.  The order will likely severely cripple the U.S. refugee program and curb immigration from the Middle East. Jones spoke with immigrant families about their fears and plans for an uncertain future. 

After a presidential campaign that divided the country on immigration, some of the most fervent anti-refugee advocates say their views and agenda have now moved into the mainstream under President Donald Trump. His appointments, including top White House advisers and his nominee for attorney general, are powerful allies who support suspending the U.S. refugee resettlement program — the largest in the world — or an outright ban on accepting refugees from "terror-prone" countries.

KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

They spent the first hours of Donald Trump's presidency waiting.

First they were in the cold, snaked outside McCaw Hall. A little boy  seemed desperate to splash in a nearby water feature.  Then they waited inside—for hours—as volunteers distributed snacks, waiting themselves for instructions.

People wait to attend a citizenship workshop in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

On Inauguration Day, the city of Seattle hosted a free legal clinic for immigrants and refugees. Hundreds of people gathered at McCaw Hall, many seeking to become citizens. We asked attendees what's at stake for them, as Donald Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States.

Kim Malcolm talks with Cuc Vu about why the city of Seattle is hosting an event on Inauguration Day to provide free legal advice to immigrants and refugees. Vu directs Seattle's Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Long before Seattle was a sanctuary city, churches here sheltered immigrants from Central America.

Carlos Mejia and his wife Ercilia moved here in 1983 from El Salvador, which was in the throes of a civil war. Patricia was seven months pregnant at the time; she later gave birth on the third floor of University Baptist Church.

I was standing by the airport exit, debating whether to get a snack, when a young man with a round face approached me.

I focused hard to decipher his words. In a thick accent, he asked me to help him find his suitcase.

As we walked to baggage claim, I learned his name: Edward Murinzi. This was his very first plane trip. A refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he'd just arrived to begin his American life.

Cari Conklin is helping to throw a birthday bash for Syrian refugees in the Seattle area.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

More than 200 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Washington state. And this New Year’s Day, many in the Seattle area plan to gather for a special party. It’s an important date, but not why you might expect. 


When Almothana Alhamoud, a 31-year-old Syrian data analyst, arrived in Chicago two years ago after fleeing the Syrian war, he jumped at his first job offer, a nightshift cashier at a convenience store.

"When I came over here I just want to find anything to survive," he says over dinner with his family in Chicago. His parents and two sisters fled Damascus six months after he did. The family has applied for asylum in the U.S.

Each Wednesday at St. Francis Episcopal Church on the north side of San Antonio, dozens of refugees from all over the world come for free care at the Refugee Health Clinic.

Students and faculty at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio have teamed up to operate one of the only student-run refugee clinics in the country.

Rita Zawaideh of Salaam Cultural Museum
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

Bill Radke talks with Rita Zawaideh, who runs the humanitarian nonprofit Salaam Cultural Museum in Seattle, about the current struggles of Syrian people in Aleppo. 

KUOW photo/Liz Jones

Since the election last month, some day laborers have said they don't feel comfortable speaking Spanish in public. 

“And that’s here in the City of Seattle, riding on public transit," said Marcos Martinez, Executive Director of Casa Latina, a Seattle non-profit that helps immigrant day laborers find jobs. "That just shows the extent of the problem we have.”


The German government has for the first time deported Afghan asylum seekers, sending 34 back to Kabul on a chartered flight last night. Hundreds of protesters — both Afghan and German — marched against the deportations at Frankfurt Airport where the flight departed.

The migrants' requests for asylum had been denied.

KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Kim Malcolm talks with attorney Karol Brown about how President Elect Donald Trump's proposed immigration policies could affect immigrants living in Washington state. Brown is an immigration attorney with World One Law Group in Bellevue.

Immigrants packed a gym in Bellevue on Thursday night to talk about Trump's immigration plan.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Hundreds of immigrants packed a school gym on Thursday night. But not for something normal, like a basketball game.


Brian Wahlberg gives daughter Luciena a good view of the proceedings as the crowd sings at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

In the liberal bastion that is Seattle, the response to the election was acute. People cried openly on buses and in cafes. Some took time off work to mourn in bed. It wasn't that their candidate had lost, we heard again and again, it was that they feared for the future.

A newly released report describes disintegrating mental health among dozens of the more than 1,100 people being held by Australia on the Pacific island nation of Nauru.

The report out Monday from Amnesty International is based largely on interviews conducted by Anna Neistat, a researcher working for the watchdog group, in July with 58 people being held on the island. It focuses on self-harm, calling it "shockingly commonplace."

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