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.

Barack Obama in Virginia, 8/2/2012
Flickr Photo/Barack Obama (CC-BY-NC-ND)

More than 100,000 undocumented immigrants in Washington state can likely benefit from President Obama’s recent executive action on deportation deferrals.

But many have concerns about the program, especially as Republicans take control of Congress next month. Immigrant advocates will address some of these questions at a public event in Seattle Thursday night.

The State Department launched a program this month that creates a safe passage to the United States from Central America. It would give some U.S.-based Latino parents the chance to bring over children they left in their home countries.

More than 57,000 child migrants made the trip across the U.S.-Mexican border this year. Many report being physically and sexually abused along the harrowing journey.

Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo
Courtesy Seattle Archdiocese, file

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' migration committee, about the Roman Catholic Church's push for immigration reform. 

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Woodland Park Zoo's Chai and baby Hansa in May 2007. Hansa died the following month. The zoo announced this week that Chai and Bamboo would be transfered to another zoo.
Flickr Photo/Natalie Wilkie (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo expels its elephants – where should they go? Did President Obama overreach on immigration? Could a “millionaire's tax” fly in Seattle? Why must Metro bus drivers wear Depends? Do Seahawks players have to talk to reporters if they have nothing to say?

Bill Radke reviews the week's news questions with panelists Sherman Alexie, Knute Berger, Joni Balter and Luke Burbank. Plus, DecodeDC host Andrea Seabrook tells you how executive privilege works!

Sylvia Gonzales hugs a friend after President Obama's immigration announcement
Liz Jones / KUOW

Immigrant workers and families gathered at locations across Washington state last night to hear President Obama’s immigration announcement. KUOW’s Liz Jones was at one of those watch parties in Seattle’s Central District, and filed this report.

TRANSCRIPT

Around a hundred parents, children and workers packed into a meeting room at Casa Latina. It’s a day labor center in Seattle. The evening started upbeat.

[Sound of chanting: "Si se puede!"]

Sylvia Gonzales hugs a friend after President Obama's immigration announcement
Liz Jones / KUOW

Immigrant workers and families gathered at locations across Washington state last night to hear President Obama’s immigration announcement. KUOW’s Liz Jones was at one of those watch parties in Seattle’s Central District, and filed this report.

After six years of often bitter back-and-forth with congressional Republicans over the issue of immigration, President Obama announced he has decided to go it alone by temporarily shielding up to 5 million immigrants from being deported.

Apurva Koti, 16, plays tabla drums in his living room in Hyderabad, India.  Apurva also plays electric guitar. Apurva and his family moved to India from Redmond, Washington in 2008.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

HYDERABAD, INDIA – Decades ago, when immigrants moved to Seattle from India, they asked each other: “Why would you ever leave the U.S.?”

But now, a growing number of Indians are doing just that. And they’re doing it largely so the families they start here can bond with their homeland.

REDMOND, WASHINGTON -- Two young Indian co-workers face off across the table at a café on Microsoft’s main campus. The challenge? Who can eat the most panipuri: bite-sized Indian street food made up of a fried shell stuffed with spicy potatoes.

The RajGuru family was one of the first Indian families to move to Redmond in 1969. Matriarch Madhavi Rajguru's saris would often inspire curiosity.
Courtesy of Devki Rajguru

REDMOND, WASHINGTON – Long before Microsoft set up its headquarters here, and before the 520 highway extended this far, the RajGuru family moved to this Seattle suburb they knew almost nothing about. The year was 1969.

Liz Jones traveled to Hyderabad, India this summer to report on its deepening connection with the Seattle area. She tells Bill Radke what she found and what we'll hear in her upcoming six-part series, "Two Indias, Near and Far." Get the story behind the photo at our Facebook page.

Liz Jones / KUOW

A federal lawsuit filed in Seattle Thursday highlights alleged document tampering in immigration cases. The lawsuit claims that government officials forged documents in a local deportation case, and attorneys who filed the case are calling for a broad investigation.

Mexico is helping some of its citizens apply for a controversial immigration program in the U.S. called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Since the Obama administration created the program in 2012, more than 580,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors have received temporary relief from deportation and been given work permits that last for at least two years.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Some leaders of a recent hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma had their day in immigration court this week.

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