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.

Liz Jones / KUOW

The Washington State Supreme court will hear arguments Tuesday on a case dealing with wages for farm workers. It examines how employers handle the paid rest breaks required by state law, as KUOW’s Liz Jones reports.

In this Sept. 10, 2014 file photo, detained immigrant children line up in the cafeteria at the Karnes County Residential Center in Texas. About 70 children from the border have been placed with foster families in Washington state.
AP Photo/Eric Gay

Sara, 20, is a Mexican student in Des Moines, Washington, a half hour south of Seattle. She wears her hair in two braids, tucked under her black knit hat. White ear buds hang from her collar. She’s friendly, but far from talkative.

We meet in a small meeting room at Highline Community College, where she is taking a GED-prep class. She looks out the window as she recalls her first days in the U.S., at an immigration holding shelter in California. 

A federal judge in Seattle heard arguments Friday in a potentially far-reaching immigration case. At issue is whether children who face deportation alone are entitled to an attorney, at the government’s expense. KUOW’s Liz Jones reports.

TRANSCRIPT:

There’s a rising trend of children coming alone to the U.S., unlawfully crossing the southern border. Most are from Mexico and Central America. They’re often called  ‘unaccompanied minors’.

The Latino/a Educational Achievement Project (LEAP)

On Friday, hundreds of Latino students will visit with lawmakers in Olympia. One of their top issues relates a state-funded college scholarship. As KUOW’s Liz Jones reports, they want undocumented students to be eligible for this money, too.

The political battle over immigration, now provoking a confrontation between Congress and the White House, touches all of us in one very direct way: our food. That salad mix, and those apples, may well have been harvested by workers who arrived here in the U.S. illegally.

RP's husband works in the Seattle area on an H-1B  visa. They lived together in Seattle for a year and a half before RP returned to work in India, due to visa restrictions.
KUOW Photo/Harsha Vadlamani

Washington is one of the top states that brings in high-skilled foreign workers, filling thousands of jobs every year.

This week, those workers got some long-awaited news from the federal government: A blanket rule that barred their spouses from working will soon be lifted.

The congressional wrangling over immigration policy -- which threatens to cut off Homeland Security money later this week -- is spilling over to the Washington State Capitol in a fashion.

Buses used to trasport detainees at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. The center is operated by the GEO Group, a private contractor.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A few dozen demonstrators waved signs outside an immigration lockup in Tacoma this morning. They were there to support a detainee who led a large hunger strike inside the detention center last year.

Liz Jones / KUOW

How do you explain deportation to a child?

A Seattle mom grappled with this question when her son’s best friend Jorge shared a secret one night at dinner. Her son Ronan was 6 at the time.

This Post Was Last Updated At 5:15 p.m. ET.

Two days before the first of President Obama's executive actions on immigration were to take effect, the new rules have been put on hold by a federal judge's ruling in South Texas. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen said the president overstepped his authority.

law court crime
Flickr Photo/Joe Gratz (CC BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel talks with Judge Veronica Alicea Galvan about her Spanish-only traffic court in Des Moines, Washington.

Liz Jones / KUOW

Hundreds of immigrants and refugees plan to head to Olympia Thursday for their annual legislative rally.  One message they’ll take to lawmakers is about citizenship. 

The Seattle Times Photo/Erika Schultz

Somalis living in the U.S. send more than $200 million to Somalia each year. Sixty percent of that country’s population gets money from outside the country to help pay for expenses like food and housing. But as of Friday, money transfers from Washington state to Somalia are shutting down.

A dozen protesters block the entrance to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma in February 2014. Deportations from the Northwest have declined by nearly half, but now a larger proportion of deportees have a clean record.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a hearing on Friday about concerns at immigration detention centers. That includes the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, one of the largest in the country.

Ms. Marvel designs by Adrian Alphona. Ms. Marvel, described by writer G. Willow Wilson as "kind of a hipster," is the second from the left.
Marvel Comics

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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