immigration

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Detainees doing work at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma are paid only $1 per day or sometimes only in snacks, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Washington state attorney general in Pierce County Superior Court.

The threat of a nuclear attack, immigration enforcement and paying by the mile to drive are all on the agenda as Washington lawmakers hold meetings the week of September 11.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

They call it the "good immigrant, bad immigrant" narrative.

Undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers, have been held up and praised by politicians fighting to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

But some Dreamers say that praise draws an uncomfortable line between them and other undocumented people.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Hours after DACA recipients learned of the Trump administration's plan to phase out the program shielding them from deportation, some of them gathered for a rally in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood.

There, they began planning for the weeks and months ahead.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration plans to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

The Obama-era policy protects some young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The announcement does leave an opening for Congress to act. But it also means thousands of immigrants in Washington state could lose their legal status. 

Will James / KNKX

Young undocumented immigrants are fighting to keep legal protections they gained under the Obama administration.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, shields some immigrants brought here as children from deportation.

With A DACA Summer Job, A Bumper Crop Of Worry

Aug 14, 2017

Adeline Guerra is a 19-year old nursing student at Washington State University Tri-Cities, and is one of 1.4 million people living and working in the U.S. under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Will James / KNKX

Voters in Burien will decide the fate of a local law designed to protect the city's undocumented population.

An initiative on the Nov. 7 ballot will ask voters whether they want to repeal the law, which prevents city staff and law enforcement officers from asking about a resident's immigration status or religious beliefs. 

Courtesy of King County

Updated at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1. Original story follows update.

The Burien City Council ended a meeting Monday night without taking a critical vote on the future of a local law aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants.

By failing to vote, City Council members missed an Aug. 1 deadline to put a repeal of the immigration law on the November ballot.

ALLIE FERGUSON / KNKX

The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to move forward with part of its travel ban while a court case is pending.

The decision came down Monday. This week, legal experts are scrambling to figure out what a partial ban means for immigrants and refugees headed to Washington state.

Immigration authorities have rounded up nearly 200 Iraqis in recent weeks, and the Trump administration is now under heavy pressure to hold off moves to deport them.

Many of those currently detained are from the minority Chaldean Christian community, which faces severe persecution in Iraq.

U.S. immigration authorities say the detained Iraqis have criminal records, but their families and supporters say many have already served time or paid their fines and that they would face persecution if sent back.

Three years ago, Maira fled El Salvador, crossed into the United States illegally and asked for asylum. She says her partner of 12 years was abusive, physically and emotionally, and that she has scars on her body to prove it.

But she's waited a long time for her asylum hearing in New York.

Courtesy of the Greg Kucera Gallery

The first things you notice upon stepping into Greg Kucera's art gallery in Seattle's Pioneer Square are gigantic oil paintings of Hispanic men standing in their work clothes or sitting on luggage. 

The portraits are by the artist John Sonsini, who picks up day laborers and pays them to sit in his Los Angeles studio. Those workers then find their images hanging in some prominent places.

Immigration advocates claim that about half of the most lucrative startups in America were founded by immigrants. But it's complicated for a foreigner to start a company in America — there's no such thing as a startup visa.

That's why some entrepreneurs are "hacking the system" through a workaround that started as an experiment in Massachusetts and has expanded to five other states.

In the week leading up to May Day, Seattle prepared for the worst. For the past five years, peaceful May Day marches have been overshadowed by violence and property damage.

Those demonstrations unfolded peacefully for the most part this year. In the end, five people were arrested. Two of those people were released and three face charges for assault, resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer.

KNKX spent the day with demonstrators around the city. Here is how May Day unfolded in Seattle.

Preparing For The Worst

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Local officials are praising a federal judge’s decision to temporarily block President Donald Trump’s order to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities.” The temporary restraining order was issued in San Francisco, but applies nationwide.

At the public library in the rural Morgan County town of Brush, Colo., Marissa Velazquez welcomes her students to class. It's a sunny Saturday morning, and the day marks the halfway point in Velazquez's class, a 10-week crash course on American history, civics and English.

Nearly all of the students work in either meatpacking or dairying. Everyone in it has the same goal: become an American citizen. In two hours, Velazquez runs through voting rights, the legislative process and some grammar tips.

Pop quiz: When do we celebrate the venerable American holiday of Flag Day?

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Washington immigration activists say about 400 detainees held at an ICE detention center are participating in a hunger strike.

The Seattle Times reports a Washington anti-detention group NWDC Resist rallied in front of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma Monday to address living conditions inside the center such as the quality of food, health care and high commissary prices. Activists say some detainees have already gone two days without food.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Changes in federal immigration policy are stirring up fear for many Washington immigrants. At the same time, state and local employees are unsure about their obligations when it comes to immigration enforcement. But now there are some new guidelines that should help clear up the confusion.

In Washington state, experts say probably more than half of the workers harvesting the apples you eat and the asparagus you grill are undocumented. And farmers and undocumented workers are bracing for deportations President Donald Trump has promised.

Courtesy of the ACLU of Oregon

A 21-year-old Portland man who was hit by a car in January, and is recovering from having both his legs broken, has been detained by federal immigration authorities.

Emmanuel Ayala Frutos is from Mexico and has lived in Portland since the age of six, according to the ACLU of Oregon.

"This particular case is just particularly cruel," said Mat dos Santos, legal director of the ACLU of Oregon. "You have somebody who has both serious mental and physical health needs."

They come from places like Vietnam, China, Mexico and Guatemala, lured by promises of better-paying jobs and legal immigration. Instead, they're smuggled into the U.S., forced to work around the clock as bussers, wait staff and cooks, and housed in cramped living quarters. For this, they must pay exorbitant fees that become an insurmountable debt, even as their pay is often withheld, stolen or unfairly docked.

Since 2011, Washington’s prison system has deported 339 convicted felons instead of locking them up. The deportations are part of a voluntary program designed to reduce prison costs.

Daniel Ramirez Medina/Public Counsel via AP, File

SEATTLE (AP) — A Mexican man who has spent more than six weeks in immigration detention despite his participation in a program designed to protect those brought to the U.S. illegally as children can be released from custody pending his deportation proceedings, an immigration judge ruled Tuesday.

Groups that help low-income families get food assistance are alarmed by a recent drop in the number of immigrants seeking help. Some families are even canceling their food stamps and other government benefits, for fear that receiving them will affect their immigration status or lead to deportation. Many of the concerns appear to be unfounded but have been fueled by the Trump administration's tough stance on immigration.

Editor's Note: This story has been edited throughout. An earlier version was inadvertently published.

Hossein Mahrammi, who helped U.S. development authorities in Kabul rebuild his war-torn country, expected a warm welcome when he arrived in the United States this month.

The economist had planned to stay in Afghanistan but left because he feared for himself and his family. One by one, he saw that his colleagues were assaulted or killed because they worked with Americans.

U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

The Trump administration is calling out cities and counties for their policies toward undocumented immigrants, and Washington state is well-represented on the list. 

Eleven Washington counties appear in a report the administration published Monday identifying jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Think of the Mississippi Delta. Maybe you imagine cotton fields, sharecroppers and blues music.

It's been all that. But for more than a century, the Delta has also been a magnet for immigrants. I was intrigued to learn about one immigrant group in particular: the Delta Chinese.

To find out more, I travelled to Greenville, Miss., a small city along the Mississippi River. I meet Raymond Wong in Greenville's Chinese cemetery, right across a quiet road from an African-American cemetery. Wong's family has long been part of a thriving — but separate — Chinese community.

On a cold Friday morning, more than 50 people sit in the auditorium of the Benjamin Franklin Health Science Academy in Brooklyn. Many have small children fidgeting on their laps.

Back in 2011, Alabama passed what was then considered the nation's strictest immigration law. Much of it was later struck down by the courts.

Now, the law offers a snapshot of potential challenges ahead for the Trump administration.

For Fernanda Herrera, a senior at Samford University outside Birmingham, Ala., the current climate surrounding immigration has her scared, just as the Alabama law did in 2011.

"I don't know if I'm going to see my parents tomorrow," Herrera says.

Her father crossed the Mexican border illegally when she was two.

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