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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STEM Workers From Abroad
3:01 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Study: More Skilled Foreign Workers Could Mean Higher Wages In Cities

Ross Reynolds talks to Giovanni Peri, an economics professor at U.C. Davis, about how foreign-born workers in science and technology might affect the health of economies. Peri argues that the federal government should increase the cap on H-1B worker visas, which would ultimately encourage economic growth and innovation.

StoryCorps
12:04 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Once Forbidden, Books Become A Lifeline For A Young Migrant Worker

On a visit to StoryCorps, Storm Reyes told her son, Jeremy Hagquist, about growing up as a farm laborer. Reyes eventually went to night school and worked in a library for more than 30 years.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 10:33 am

In the late 1950s, when she was just 8 years old, Storm Reyes began picking fruit as a full-time farm laborer for less than $1 per hour. Storm and her family moved often, living in Native American migrant worker camps without electricity or running water.

With all that moving around, she wasn't allowed to have books growing up, Storm tells her son, Jeremy Hagquist, on a visit to StoryCorps in Tacoma, Wash.

"Books are heavy, and when you're moving a lot you have to keep things just as minimal as possible," she says.

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Immigrant And Refugee Affairs
9:24 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Seattle Office Wants To Go Beyond ‘Same Old Voices’ To Address Immigrant Needs

Uriel Ruelas, originally from Mexico City, has lived in Seattle for 15 years. He says immigrants should have the same access to city services as everyone else.
Credit KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

In October 2012, Seattle’s local government expanded in a way typically only seen in bigger cities. Former mayor Mike McGinn created the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, or OIRA, in an effort to give more voice to the area’s booming immigrant population. Nearly 20 percent of Seattle’s residents are born outside of the U.S., according to recent census figures.

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Immigration Enforcement
5:27 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Detainee Hunger Strike In Tacoma Sparks Federal Bill

File photo of the interior of Northwest Detention Center.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

A hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma recently ended after nearly two months, but the ripple effects continue. U.S. Congressman Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, plans to introduce a bill Thursday that would change how federal agencies operate and audit detention centers.

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Community Activists
2:45 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Marching For Immigration Reform On May Day

May Day march in Seattle.
Credit Flickr Photo/One America (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Juan Jose Bocanegra, chairman of the May First Action Coalition, about the annual May Day march for immigration reform.

Immigrant Students
7:55 am
Mon April 28, 2014

University Of Washington's Secret Society Of Undocumented 'Dreamers'

A student takes notes at the white board during a recent Purple Group meeting.
Credit KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

There’s no special handshake. No code word. But for one secret group on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, identification papers – or, rather, a lack thereof – are a common denomination.

The UW’s student organization the Purple Group is for students, known as "dreamers," who came to the country illegally, often as young children.

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Immigration Detention
11:25 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Behind The Hunger Strike At Tacoma’s Immigration Lockup

Veronica Noriega (far right) says she’s struggled to pay bills while her husband’s been in detention. Ramon Mendoza-Pascual and Noriega’s children at their home in Auburn, from left: Veronica, 11, Jose, 13, and Ashley, 5.
Credit KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A steady protest has hung over an immigration lockup in Tacoma for more than a month.

In March, hundreds of detainees went on hunger strike. Outside the gates, families and supporters have gathered daily, waving signs that read “No More Deportations.”

A large crowd is expected outside the facility again this Saturday, as part of a national campaign. The protest has grown out of frustration about an impasse on immigration reform as detainees fight to avoid deportation and separation from their families.

‘I Wouldn’t Be Another Number’

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Detainee Protests
5:46 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Hunger Strikers At Northwest Detention Center Moved To Isolation

File photo of the interior of Northwest Detention Center.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Several immigrants being held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma have been moved to isolation after a recent hunger strike at the facility.

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Healing Ritual
8:59 am
Mon March 31, 2014

The Last Curandera: A Generation Of Immigrants Says Goodbye To An Old Tradition

Esther Davilla's daughter, Maria Ortiz, receives a cleansing ritual from her mother where a collection of herbs and an uncooked egg are dipped in Orange Blossom fragrance and dragged across her forehead, arms and legs.
Credit KUOW Photo/Alisa Reznick

Skagit Valley is home to thousands of Mexican immigrants. Many make their livings working as farmhands. They've brought with them some of their traditions from their homeland. But as the years pass and younger generations move in, some of those traditions die off. One Mexican family in Burlington is trying to keep an old ritual alive.

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My Big Break
2:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Cesar Millan's Long Walk To Becoming The 'Dog Whisperer'

Cesar Millan's television show Dog Whisperer on National Geographic debuted in 2004, but Millan previously spent years struggling to pursue a career as a dog trainer.
Robin Layton Courtesy of Cesar Millan

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Long before Cesar Millan became the "Dog Whisperer," with TV shows and a best-selling series of books, he had to learn how to ask for a job in English.

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Seattle Comics Author
2:58 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Making A Superhero From Scratch: A Writer’s Origin Story

G. Willow Wilson writes the comic series, Ms. Marvel, featuring Marvel's first Muslim superhero.
Credit Courtesy Photo/Amber French

Marcie Sillman talks with writer G. Willow Wilson about her new Ms. Marvel series featuring a teenage Muslim superhero named Kamala Khan.

G. Willow Wilson’s origin story, in a matter of speaking, started in New Jersey on about 3 acres of land surrounded by old-growth woods, where her parents raised rabbits and chickens and grew corn, blackberries and sweet potatoes.

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Cross-Border Migration
11:58 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Crossing The Desert: Why Brenda Wanted Border Patrol To Find Her

Parts of the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border might stop vehicles, but they don't keep out those making the journey on foot.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 9:18 am

It's hard enough to drive through the Arizona desert, where the sun is harsh and the distances immense. This is the story of people who walk it.

In particular, it's the story of Brenda, who asked us to use only her first name. She told us yet another of the unbelievable stories you hear in the Borderland.

We met her in Nogales, Sonora, on the northern border of Mexico opposite Arizona. She was living in a shelter for deported people, where she told us of her brief and difficult stay in the United States.

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Treatment Costs
10:04 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Screening Immigrants For TB Pays Dividends In U.S.

People who test positive for infection with bacteria that cause tuberculosis can be treated before they enter the U.S.
Janice Haney Carr CDC

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 11:39 am

Hundreds of people with tuberculosis wishing to come to the U.S. have been stopped before they reached U.S. borders, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Physicians overseas picked up more than 1,100 cases in prospective immigrants and refugees prior to their arrival in the U.S. The cases include 14 people with multidrug-resistant TB, the CDC says.

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Demographics
2:39 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

How Bellevue Came To Be More Racially Diverse Than Seattle

Skyline of Bellevue, Wash.
Flickr Photo/WingsOfMan (CC BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Bellevue's cultural diversity coordinator Kevin Henry about how Bellevue has become so diverse.

Federal Ruling
9:18 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Immigrant Detainees Win Right To Bond Hearings

The Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

As a hunger strike continues at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, a new federal court ruling coincidentally meets one of the protesters' demands.

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