Immigration Reform | KUOW News and Information

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.

Volunteers help with citizenship forms.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

People started lining up in Seattle several hours before the city’s big immigration workshop opened its doors at noon Friday.

The city planned the event to coincide with Inauguration Day to emphasize that Seattle would remain a welcoming city for immigrants and refugees under the Trump administration.

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.

An undocumented father outside the school where he works as a custodian.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

We picked the school as our meeting place.

Victor has worked as a custodian at this junior high for several years. It’s in a suburb of Seattle, near his home. He also runs a landscaping business on the side.

Victor’s also not his real name. We’re using a pseudonym because he’s undocumented.

Supreme Court SCOTUS
Flickr Photo/Kjetil-Ree (CC BY-NC-ND)

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington law professor Hugh Spitzer about how previous U.S. Supreme Court decisions could prevent the Trump administration from cutting federal funding to sanctuary cities like Seattle. 

Britain's prime minister said Tuesday that the United Kingdom will walk away from the European Union's single market and unified court system, making a sharp break with its largest trading partner.

In a speech delivered about six months after voters passed a referendum requiring Britain to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May laid out a plan for what that split would look like, emphasizing limits on migration into the country.

As a new president takes office Friday, the City of Seattle will mark the occasion with a huge event for immigrants and refugees. It’s a symbolic contrast to events in Washington, D.C. And it also aims to help about a thousand immigrants with citizenship applications and other legal services.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Since Donald Trump’s election, a sanctuary movement has popped up at college campuses across the United States. 

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Bill Radke talks with attorney Jorge Barón about how the Trump administration could impact undocumented immigrants living in the Puget Sound region. Barón is executive director of the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project

More thoughts from Barón, and four other perspectives on how the incoming administration could impact undocumented immigrants can be found here.

This photo was taken by an undocumented immigrant featured in a KUOW story in July 2014. It was the last photo he took of America before turning around and walking into Mexico.
Courtesy Jorge Lerma

Build a wall.

Increase deportations.

End protections for young people known as "Dreamers."

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.

Seattle officials may take their support for immigrants and refugees a step further. During a meeting Monday, City Councilmember Lorena González said local government needs to do more to help people facing uncertainty.

Teresa Alonso Leon has a few memories of her early childhood in the Mexican state of Michoacan.

"My mom, she used to take laundry down to the lake and wash our clothes by hand," she said. "I remember going down by the lake and spending time with my mom, and taking baths in the lake."

When she was 5, Alonso Leon's parents decided the family would be better off in the United States. They moved to Woodburn, Oregon.

The Willamette Valley town was drawing scores of migrant farm workers.

This year's state legislature will be among the most diverse in Oregon history. Among the new crop of lawmakers is Teresa Alonso Leon, who immigrated from Mexico as a child and became a U.S. citizen just five years ago.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces more resources for immigrant families in the city's public schools.
KUOW photo/Liz Jones

The City of Seattle plans to boost counseling resources in public schools for immigrant and refugee students, particularly those who are undocumented or Muslim.

Ibara-Sandys' take on Mexican nichos, or small shrines, inspired by Dia de los Muertos imagery.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Amaranta Ibara-Sandys was 18 years old the first time she traveled to Seattle from Mexico City.

The year was 1992; teenagers from around the world were flocking to the Pacific Northwest, enticed by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and other Seattle bands.

“I loved grunge,” Ibara-Sandys says. “I loved the music!”

Pages