Immigration Reform

As Congress moves forward with immigration reform, we take a look at how this issue connects to culture, business and families in the Northwest.

Our region is home to a unique blend of immigrants who work in all parts of our economy — from high-tech to agriculture. This population already has a deeply-rooted history here. And its ranks are expanding rapidly.

Proposals for comprehensive immigration reform address border security, employment verification, guest-worker programs and pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the US.

Juan Andres Macedo with his mother at a farm stand in Mount Vernon.
Courtesy Juan Macedo

A high school senior from Mount Vernon, Washington will be in the audience on Tuesday night for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech.

law court crime
Flickr Photo/Joe Gratz (CC BY-NC-ND)

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson formally weighed in Monday on a federal lawsuit related to immigration. The suit challenges President Obama’s plan to offer legal protections to millions of undocumented immigrants. 

Germany's anti-immigrant movement spooks the country's leaders

Jan 6, 2015
Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters

Everyone wants to come to Germany. 

That, at least, is the way some Germans see it. Germany is among the most prosperous countries in the world and, "after the United States, Germany has become the second most important destination country," according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Josie Huang / Southern California Public Radio / KPCC

California, home to the largest number of undocumented immigrants, is now the 10th state to allow them to apply for driver's licences.

On January 2, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles offices opened their doors to thousands of these immigrants, and the lines were long. Some applicants had scheduled appointments, while others waited hours for walk-in service. By the end of opening day, the DMV reported seeing more than 17,000 applicants.

A dozen protesters block the entrance to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma in February 2014. Deportations from the Northwest have declined by nearly half, but now a larger proportion of deportees have a clean record.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

  Deportations of undocumented immigrants declined across the country this year. But in the Pacific Northwest, the numbers took a nosedive. New data show U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported only about half as many people as last year from Oregon, Washington and Alaska. 

In fiscal year 2014, ICE deported 2,341 people from the Northwest compared to 4,525 the year before. That's a drop of 48 percent.

Barack Obama in Virginia, 8/2/2012
Flickr Photo/Barack Obama (CC-BY-NC-ND)

More than 100,000 undocumented immigrants in Washington state can likely benefit from President Obama’s recent executive action on deportation deferrals.

But many have concerns about the program, especially as Republicans take control of Congress next month. Immigrant advocates will address some of these questions at a public event in Seattle Thursday night.

The State Department launched a program this month that creates a safe passage to the United States from Central America. It would give some U.S.-based Latino parents the chance to bring over children they left in their home countries.

More than 57,000 child migrants made the trip across the U.S.-Mexican border this year. Many report being physically and sexually abused along the harrowing journey.

Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo
Courtesy Seattle Archdiocese, file

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' migration committee, about the Roman Catholic Church's push for immigration reform. 

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Woodland Park Zoo's Chai and baby Hansa in May 2007. Hansa died the following month. The zoo announced this week that Chai and Bamboo would be transfered to another zoo.
Flickr Photo/Natalie Wilkie (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo expels its elephants – where should they go? Did President Obama overreach on immigration? Could a “millionaire's tax” fly in Seattle? Why must Metro bus drivers wear Depends? Do Seahawks players have to talk to reporters if they have nothing to say?

Bill Radke reviews the week's news questions with panelists Sherman Alexie, Knute Berger, Joni Balter and Luke Burbank. Plus, DecodeDC host Andrea Seabrook tells you how executive privilege works!

Sylvia Gonzales hugs a friend after President Obama's immigration announcement
Liz Jones / KUOW

Immigrant workers and families gathered at locations across Washington state last night to hear President Obama’s immigration announcement. KUOW’s Liz Jones was at one of those watch parties in Seattle’s Central District, and filed this report.

TRANSCRIPT

Around a hundred parents, children and workers packed into a meeting room at Casa Latina. It’s a day labor center in Seattle. The evening started upbeat.

[Sound of chanting: "Si se puede!"]

Sylvia Gonzales hugs a friend after President Obama's immigration announcement
Liz Jones / KUOW

Immigrant workers and families gathered at locations across Washington state last night to hear President Obama’s immigration announcement. KUOW’s Liz Jones was at one of those watch parties in Seattle’s Central District, and filed this report.

After six years of often bitter back-and-forth with congressional Republicans over the issue of immigration, President Obama announced he has decided to go it alone by temporarily shielding up to 5 million immigrants from being deported.

Apurva Koti, 16, plays tabla drums in his living room in Hyderabad, India.  Apurva also plays electric guitar. Apurva and his family moved to India from Redmond, Washington in 2008.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

HYDERABAD, INDIA – Decades ago, when immigrants moved to Seattle from India, they asked each other: “Why would you ever leave the U.S.?”

But now, a growing number of Indians are doing just that. And they’re doing it largely so the families they start here can bond with their homeland.

REDMOND, WASHINGTON -- Two young Indian co-workers face off across the table at a café on Microsoft’s main campus. The challenge? Who can eat the most panipuri: bite-sized Indian street food made up of a fried shell stuffed with spicy potatoes.

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