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.

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Crisis In Somalia
3:30 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Somali-Americans Worry About How They Will Support Their Families Abroad

Ross Reynolds talks with Degan Ali, executive director of the African charity and development agency, Adeso, about the difficulties Somali-Americans face when sending money to their homelands.

Somalia doesn't have any banks, so transfers are more informal. American banks are increasingly refusing to facilitate the transfers for fear that money will go to the terrorist group, al-Shabaab. But 40 percent of the Somali economy relies on money transfers, which supports people suffering from famine and the fallout of war.

Unaccompanied Minors
3:52 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

JBLM No Longer Under Consideration As A Place For Undocumented Immigrants

Washington Congressman Denny Heck said the Department of Health and Human Services is no longer seeking facilities for temporary shelters for refugee children at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Heck, who represents the 10th Congressional District which includes JBLM, said he trusts the department to make the right decisions about what facilities are best for the refugee children, but adds that he will continue to push for what he calls common sense, comprehensive immigration reform.

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Immigration
7:41 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Oregon 'Driver Card' Campaign Kicks Off

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 5:51 pm

Oregonians will vote this fall on whether its residents should be able to apply for driver’s licenses regardless of their immigration status. Supporters of the measure kicked off their campaign Monday.

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NPR Story
2:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Expedited Hearings For Migrant Children Raise Concerns

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 4:14 am

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

Around the Nation
3:03 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Three Years On, Utah's Immigrant Guest Worker Law Still Stalled

This statue is located in Utah's Capitol building, beneath a mural of Brigham Young and the first Mormon pioneers traveling out west. "Utah is a place that understands the value of immigration," says Utah's speaker of the House, Becky Lockhart.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 5:28 pm

At the Utah State Capitol, a mural of Brigham Young and the first Mormon pioneers brings some color to the building's spartan rotunda. Beneath it is a more modern sculpture — a woman walking forward with her son, who's holding a globe.

Underneath the statue are the words "Immigration and Settlement." The symbolism isn't lost on state House Speaker Becky Lockhart.

"Utah is a place that understands the value of immigration, the value of peoples coming to find a better life," she says, pointing up at the sculpture.

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Immigration
7:56 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Northwest Farmers Worried About Visa Backup For Legal Migrant Workers

File photo of workers at a berry farm outside of Eltopia, Washington.

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 7:03 pm

A breakdown in a U.S. State Department computer system that processes foreign worker visas has sowed major worries at some Northwest orchards.

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Immigration
7:46 am
Mon July 28, 2014

One Woman, 817 Children: Caring For Kids Of Undocumented Parents

Nora Sandigo sits with Ronald Soza and his sister Cecia in 2009, while the children were on a hunger strike to protest the deportation of their mother. Sandigo is the legal guardian of the Soza children (now 15 and 18) — and 815 other American children of undocumented immigrants.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Sun July 27, 2014 8:26 am

The recent increase in the number of unaccompanied, undocumented minors immigrating across the border has left tens of thousands of children waiting in limbo. But thousands of children who are already American citizens also face an uncertain future — because their parents are not in the country legally.

If their parents get deported, those minors could end up in foster care, or adopted by strangers.

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Wiring Funds
8:01 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Seattle Somalis Worry Arrests Could Hinder How They Send Home Money

Somali Americans rally at the Minnesota State Capitol to protest the closure of money service businesses Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.
AP Photo/Jim Mone

A Somali immigrant living in Kent was arrested Wednesday on charges of fundraising for the Somali insurgent group Al-Shabaab. Her arrest could cast more suspicion on the system Somalis use to send money home.

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Immigration
1:48 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Amid Wave Of Child Immigrants, Reports Of Abuse By Border Patrol

Thousands of young immigrants, many of them from Central America, have crossed illegally into the United States this year, causing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 11:21 am

Some of the immigrant children crossing the border say they are being subjected to abusive and inhumane treatment in U.S. Border Patrol stations in South Texas. This includes frigid holding rooms, sleep deprivation, verbal and psychological abuse, inadequate food and water, denial of medical care, and worse.

Dozens of children have come forward to make complaints against Customs and Border Protection officers. The agency responds that any complaints are the result not of mistreatment, but of its stations being overwhelmed by the surge of minors.

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Immigration
1:21 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Who Are The Kids Of The Migrant Crisis?

Volunteers such as this woman — who's with a group that calls itself "Las Patronas" — throw bags of food and water to migrants in Veracruz, Mexico, who are headed toward the U.S.-Mexico border.
Courtesy of Deborah Bonello

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 3:23 pm

Since October, a staggering 57,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been apprehended at the southwestern U.S. border. Sometimes, they've been welcomed into the country by activists; other times they've been turned away by protesters.

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Immigration
3:17 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

An Immigrant Leaves America To Chase His Dreams In Mexico

Before entering Mexico, leaving the U.S. for good, Jorge Lerma takes this photo. Lerma, 32, was an undocumented immigrant for nearly half his life before deciding to return home for better opportunities.
Credit Courtesy Jorge Lerma

As Jorge Lerma approached the Mexican border from the U.S. side, he felt like he was hooked to a bungee cord, ready to leap into the unknown.

Jorge had lived in the U.S. for 16 years, attended high school and college in California, but his status here as an undocumented immigrant thwarted his dreams to be an engineer. So he decided to move back to Mexico.

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Immigration
9:20 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Goodbye, America: Frustrated, A Young Immigrant Returns To Mexico

Jorge Lerma prepares to return to Mexico, where he is from, after having spent half his life as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S.
Credit KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Jorge Lerma sorts through his neckties. Dozens are draped across the couch; others get tossed into the give-away pile. 

Jorge rents a tiny room at this house in Bellevue, Washington. The landlord pops in to check out possible bargains and buys a flat-screen TV and a light-weight tripod. The discard pile shrinks, but on top remains a crisp American flag that Jorge used to hang in his room.

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Immigration Control
2:26 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Texas To Deploy National Guard To Mexico Border

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announces he is deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops over the next month to the Texas-Mexico border to combat criminals that Republican state leaders say are exploiting a surge of children and families entering the U.S. illegally, July 21, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (Eric Gay/AP)

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:13 pm

Governor Rick Perry has decided to send the National Guard to Texas’s southern border with Mexico to deter criminals he and other Republican leaders say are exploiting children and families entering the U.S. illegally.

The Texas Army National Guard is gearing up to send up to one thousand troops over the next month to support the state’s existing law enforcement surge, amid an influx of Central Americans to the region.

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Health News
7:03 am
Tue July 22, 2014

The Immigrant Kids Have Health Issues — But Not The Ones You'd Think

Two young girls, part of the wave of unaccompanied children who've illegally entered the U.S., watch a soccer match at the Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center in Arizona.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 11:43 am

Close to 60,000 children have crossed illegally into the U.S. since last October. They've sparked a crisis. But is it a humanitarian crisis or a public health one?

The children carry "swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus, and tuberculosis," and can spread the diseases to the U.S., wrote Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., a retired obstetrician-gynecologist, in a July 7 letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Border Kids
7:22 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Reports: Texas Gov. Perry To Deploy 1,000 National Guardsmen To Border

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to local party activists on Saturday in Algona, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 12:15 pm

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to announce on Monday that he is ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico, according to reports from The Monitor and The Houston Chronicle.

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