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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Awaiting Legislation
10:49 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Rallies For Immigration Reform From Seattle To DC

Harumy Rojas (in pink) attended an immigration rally with her mother and other families in downtown Seattle.
Liz Jones KUOW

Supporters of immigration reform call the outside of the Federal Building in downtown Seattle their patio. That’s because they’ve gathered here so many times in the past decade to push for an overhaul to the country’s immigration system, including a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in  the US illegally.

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Women-Only Swim
7:10 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Seattle Immigrant Women Overcome Cultural Constraints To Exercise

The non-profit group Neighborhood House and Seattle Parks and Recreation found a way to provide access to swimming to more than 400 women with diverse cultural backgrounds.Their efforts were recently recognized by the Washington State Drowning Prevention Coalition. From left: Diane Jones, Denise Sharify, Masara Hamam, Jen Calleja, Ayaan Aden and Trang Hoang.
Credit Denise Sharify / Neighborhood House

Physical activity is good for the body and mind, though finding time to exercise can be a challenge. But for some people, time is not the only issue. Many Muslim women find that cultural constraints limit their options. A group of immigrant women in Seattle found a way to overcome that challenge.

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Undocumented College Students
7:00 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Wash. Dream Act Unlikely To Clear Senate

Credit Flickr Photo/Dave Herholz

Supporters of a bill dubbed the Washington Dream Act plan to make one more uphill push in Olympia Tuesday. The measure would extend state financial aid to eligible college students who are in the US illegally. Hopes for the bill dwindled this weekend as a key state senator spoke out against the measure.

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Federal Law Enforcement
7:12 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Suspected Immigration Violators Face Long Waits in King County Jails

Some inmates have longer stays at the King County Adult Detention Center in downtown Seattle due to an agreement between the King County Sheriff and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
King County Photo

If you’re booked into a King County jail, you’ll stay an extra month on average if immigration officials want to review your file. That’s even if you haven’t been charged with a crime.

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Development
9:00 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Should Developers Subsidize Housing In South Lake Union?

South Lake Union area.
Credit Image Courtesy/Vulcan

Seattle is nearing the end of a years-long process to rezone its South Lake Union neighborhood. One of the final points of discussion is whether to increase a fee paid by developers in order to build taller than the city’s height limits. The money pays for affordable housing in the city. Some Seattle City Council members support a fee increase, but opponents say it’s too late in the game to make changes and risk cooling off growth in one of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods. We talk it over with Councilmember Nick Licata and developer A-P Hurd.

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Immigration Reform
11:38 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Undocumented Asian Immigrants In Washington State

Demonstrators walking under a giant American flag march through downtown Chicago, Monday, May 1, 2006, to show support for immigrant rights.
AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants now in the US – around a quarter million here in Washington state. Unlike other parts of the country, the majority of immigrants in Washington are from Asian countries. Why aren’t Asian undocumented immigrants more visible in protests and in the press? Ross Reynolds talks with We Belong Together co-chair, Pramila Jayapal.

Personal History Remembered
9:59 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Border Crossing Stories Play Big Role In Immigrant Family Histories

Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 9:25 pm

MABTON, Wash. - Most American families have some kind of immigration lore -- think Ellis Island, the Oregon Trail and slave ships. At dinner tables across the Northwest, some Mexican-American families tell their own vivid tales. They regale each other with stories of relatives swimming to better opportunities across the Rio Grande or crossing the desert at night.

Yes, these crossings are illegal, but they also are part of a family’s history. If the U.S. Congress adopts comprehensive immigration reform this year, these types of border stories could begin to fade.

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Low-Skilled Workers
5:04 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Immigration Reform In The Restaurant Kitchen

Haitian immigrant Jean Emy Pierre, center, head chef at Colors, a restaurant co-owned by a multinational immigrant staff, with his kitchen staff as they prepare for dinner customers in New York.
Credit AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Next time you go out for a nice dinner, give a listen near the restaurant’s kitchen. Amid the bustle, there’s a decent chance you’ll hear chefs, cooks or dishwashers speaking Spanish.

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Immigration Reform
11:53 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Across The Border And Under The Table: Tales Of Undocumented Workers

Helen Davis of the Support Center in Omak works closely with the workers who pick fruit in the orchards outside of Brewster, Wash.
N3 Photo/Jessica Robinson

Who are the undocumented workers? Ross Reynolds sits down with KUOW's Liz Jones to discuss immigration policy and hear stories from undocumented workers in the region.

Fruits Of Undocumented Labor
5:15 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Northwest Town Rides Ups And Downs Of "Broken" Immigration System

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 10:57 am

BREWSTER, Wash. - There's one word that politicians almost always use when they talk about the U.S. immigration system. That word is “broken.” But what does that really mean? Residents of the small town of Brewster, Wash., know. For decades, immigrants have come from Mexico, often illegally, to work the surrounding apple and cherry orchards. Bewster, it turns out, is a microcosm of how the immigration debate is playing out.

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Evangelicals Support Reform
7:38 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

What Would Jesus Do About Immigration Reform?

At a rally in Walla Walla calling for immigration reform in 2010.
Flickr Photo/DickMorgan

When it comes to immigration, people from all over the political spectrum seem to agree on one thing: the system is broken. Now, support for immigration reform is growing among an unexpected group.  Religious conservatives in Washington state, as well as all around the country, are coming out in support of immigration reform.

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Path To Citizenship
6:15 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

What Have We Learned From Past Immigration Reform?

Kindergarten teacher Sandra Aguila works on math skills with a Vietnamese student.
Credit KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Seattle schoolteacher Sandra Aguila became a US citizen through the last major immigration reform bill, which President Ronald Reagan signed in 1986. Aguila had arrived in the US one year earlier at age 25. She spoke almost no English. “I could only say ‘good morning,’” she laughs.

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