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.

Is Donald Trump considering wavering on a key campaign promise?

That's what several news reports published over the weekend suggest. And while the Trump campaign issued a statement denying any shift on immigration policy, top surrogates and campaign operatives hinted that a change just might be on its way.

The issue: what to do with the estimated 11 million immigrants already living in the United States illegally.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump, pictured here 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/e41ELr

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW's race and culture reporter Liz Jones about how Trump's immigration policies laid out in a speech Monday night might impact those in the Pacific Northwest. 

'How can I claim Ethiopia as my country when they oppress my people?'

Aug 8, 2016
KUOW Photo / Paul Kiefer

"Wiping someone's identity away ... is very dangerous."

That's how many Oromos feel. On our podcast today, Oromos in Seattle talk about being Oromo in America and their fears about the current human rights violations against Oromos in Ethiopia. 


Mayte Lara Ibarra and Larissa Martinez had just finished their senior year of high school when they each decided to go public with their immigration status. Both Texas students came to the U.S. illegally, and they didn't want to keep that fact a secret any longer.

Ibarra identified herself on Twitter as one of the 65,000 undocumented youth who graduate high school in the U.S. Martinez revealed her status in the commencement speech she delivered at graduation.

Their actions sparked support and pointed criticism. That was more than a month ago.

John O'Brien

As Representative Jim McDermott prepares to retire after 28 years of service, the top three contenders for his 7th District seat in Congress are on the stump to succeed him. 


Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

An appeals court in Seattle heard arguments Thursday in a far-reaching immigration case. The central question is whether minors who face deportation should be appointed lawyers at the government's expense.


Crater Lake shimmers deep blue in the afternoon sun. It's striking as always in the high Cascades of Southern Oregon. High above the lake surface, on the rim of the old volcano’s caldera, the wind whips an American flag to full display.

A voice comes over a speaker: "Raise your right hand and repeat after me."

Eli Tinoco, mother of two American children, would have qualified for the DAPA program, which remains blocked after a split court decision.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Immigrants and advocates around the Seattle area say their fight is far from over. The recent Supreme Court ruling is a setback, they say, and also a catalyst to focus on the presidential election. 

New Census numbers out Thursday reinforce a trend a you’ve probably noticed: The state’s population is booming. Washington ranks fifth for states that added the most new residents in the past year.

Costa Rican officials say more than 800 people claiming to be from Africa have come to their country in just the last two months. Most are believed to be from the two neighboring Congo states in central Africa. But in a visit this week, NPR also found Eritreans, Angolans and Nigerians.

Authorities also suspect that some are from Haiti.

Central America has long been the route north for people fleeing violence or poverty in Latin America. Now it's also a route from Africa.

Immigrants fleeing gang violence in Central America are again surging across the U.S.-Mexico border, approaching the numbers that created an immigration crisis in the summer of 2014. While the flow of immigrants slowed for much of last year, nothing the U.S. government does seems to deter the current wave of travelers.

Irvin is an undocumented immigrant, photographed here in 2013. He moved to Los Angeles in 2012. Medi-Cal covered his dialysis treatment until he turned 21.
Flickr Photo/Neon Tommy (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/e3hRBo

Carla used to get dialysis a couple of times a week at the public hospital in Indianapolis, Eskenazi Hospital. She would sit in a chair for hours as a machine took blood out of her arm, cleaned it, and pumped it back into her body.

Then one day in 2014, she was turned away.  


The first Syrian refugees have arrived in Seattle since President Obama announced the U.S. would take at least 10,000 Syrian refugees next year.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Presidential candidate Donald Trump warned against Syrian refugees during his recent visit to Washington state. KUOW’s Race and Culture reporter Liz Jones takes a closer look at the candidate’s claims.


Some new ripples this week in a Seattle-based immigration case that’s gained national attention. 

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