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.

File photo, 2013. Police arrest protesters in Bellevue.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Know your rights.

That’s the topic many post-election community meetings with immigrants and refugees around Seattle, and around the country.


Carlos Rodriguez has come out as undocumented after keeping his immigration status a secret for most of his life
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

For most of his life, Carlos Rodriguez had a secret.

But after this year's presidential election, he decided the time for silence was over. So, on November 18, he wrote a letter to his fellow students at Seattle University. 

KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Kim Malcolm talks with attorney Karol Brown about how President Elect Donald Trump's proposed immigration policies could affect immigrants living in Washington state. Brown is an immigration attorney with World One Law Group in Bellevue.

The U.S. Supreme Court takes up important immigration questions Wednesday, even as President-elect Donald Trump talks of pushing for more deportations. The legal issue before the court tests whether people who are detained for more than six months have a right to a bond hearing.

Flickr photo/Sound Transit Special Selection (CC BY 2.0) / https://flic.kr/p/v5Pwp5

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray spent part of his Thanksgiving signing an executive order reaffirming policies to protect immigrants. Murray says Seattle will maintain its status as a welcoming city and announced the policy in a video message.

Desperate Haitian immigrants have been massing along the U.S.-Mexico border for months seeking humanitarian relief. In the past year more than 5,000 have sought entry into the United States — a 500 percent increase over the previous year.

After the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, thousands of citizens migrated to Brazil looking for work. But as Brazil has slipped into recession in recent years, many of them have hit the road again, heading north on a 6,000-mile journey to the U.S. border — by every means of conveyance.

During the campaign, Donald Trump railed against "sanctuary cities" — generally understood to be jurisdictions where local law enforcement doesn't cooperate sufficiently with federal immigration authorities. Sanctuary cities were an especially hot issue because of the death of Kate Steinle, a tourist shot by a Mexican national in San Francisco in 2015.

Seattle's city council will vote Monday on whether to approve the Mayor's proposed 2017-2018 budget. The $5.3 billion plan covers everything from homeless services to policing, and more. One small item is intended to help immigrants, who face uncertainty following the presidential election.

Immigrants packed a gym in Bellevue on Thursday night to talk about Trump's immigration plan.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Hundreds of immigrants packed a school gym on Thursday night. But not for something normal, like a basketball game.


A surrogate of President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday invoked Japanese internment camps as precedent for creating a registry for Muslim immigrants. This comes less than a week after the Kansas secretary of state told Reuters that Trump's team might reprise a post-Sept. 11 national registry of immigrants from countries regarded as havens for "extremist activity."

Such conversations in the president-elect's circles have raised new concerns about civil rights among advocates for American Muslims.

King County Executive Dow Constantine celebrates the Sound Transit Board's approval of a ST3 package for the fall ballot.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

King County Executive Dow Constantine says he will defy President-elect Donald Trump on immigration policy, even if it means federal funding cuts.

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Lucas Jackson/Reuters  

President-elect Donald Trump has clarified his threat to deport undocumented immigrants: Early in the campaign he had threatened to remove all of an estimated 11 million people living in the United States without papers. But on Sunday night he told CBS' “60 Minutes” that only those with criminal records will be removed.

President-elect Donald Trump has said he will end so-called “sanctuary cities” for unauthorized immigrants. That label refers to hundreds of places across the country, including Seattle, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. 

Brian Wahlberg gives daughter Luciena a good view of the proceedings as the crowd sings at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

In the liberal bastion that is Seattle, the response to the election was acute. People cried openly on buses and in cafes. Some took time off work to mourn in bed. It wasn't that their candidate had lost, we heard again and again, it was that they feared for the future.

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Saul Gonzalez

Some US voters are feeling hopeful post-election. But others across the country don't feel that way, especially immigrants.

“How many synonyms are there for fear, anxiety and rage?” says KCRW Los Angeles reporter Saul Gonzalez. “It's all of those emotions every place I go to in LA’s many immigrant-rich communities. There is a lot of concern here about what's going to happen next in this country.”

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