immigration | KNKX


Among the crops at risk are Washington's renowned apples. Some of the crop is dumped when labor shortages prevail.
Shannon Dininny / The Associated Press (file)

Farmworkers are considered an essential part of the food supply system, so they have to stay on the job, even under Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.

But many of the people who work the fields or ranches here lack sufficient protection to keep them safe from the coronavirus. Human rights advocates say that needs to change immediately.

People sort canned and other non-perishable food at Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., on March 19. nonprofit organizations are stepping up to fill the gap left by the lack of a safety net for undocumented immigrants.
Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press

Like many people trying to subsist in Washington state right now with so much of the economy at a standstill, work has dried up for Jose. But because he’s an undocumented immigrant, he has no ability to apply for unemployment benefits and won’t receive a stimulus check from the federal government.

U.S. Department of Justice seal
Simone Alicea / KNKX

The Trump administration is suing King County after a 2019 directive that resulted in the stoppage of flights at Boeing Field chartered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Immigrant rights activists say fare enforcement officers on public transit can cause fear if people worry they're working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A flier is being distributed in King County in English, Spanish and Chinese that aims to lessen those fears.

NPR correspondent Aarti Shahani
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Because Aarti Shahani is a South Asian covering the tech industry for NPR, she says people assume she’s a model immigrant from a well-to-do family. But in her new book, “Here We Are, American Dreams, American Nightmares,” she challenges the notion of the so-called “good immigrant."

In this photo taken Sept. 10, 2019, workers are shown in the kitchen of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Tacoma, Wash. during a media tour.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — A U.S. judge who previously ruled that Washington state could pursue its claim that immigration detainees must be paid minimum wage for work at a privately run, for-profit immigration jail said Tuesday he intends to reverse himself at the urging of the Trump administration.

U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan issued a proposed order notifying lawyers for the state and for the GEO Group, which operates the large immigration detention center in Tacoma, that he plans to dismiss the case. He gave them until Oct. 4 to respond.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Leaders of Tacoma, home to one of the nation's largest holding spaces for people facing deportation, plan to lobby members of Congress this week to reform the immigrant detention system.

In this file photo from December 2018, an asylum-seeking boy from Central America runs down a hallway after arriving at a shelter in San Diego. This week, a 17-year-old girl from Honduras accused a staffer at a Seattle shelter of touching her.
Gregory Bull / The Associated Press

A 17-year-old girl from Honduras says a staff member at a Seattle shelter violated the shelter's rules by touching her and other migrant girls at the facility, according to court documents.

The girl’s account is part of a federal lawsuit filed last week by migrant children and their advocates from around the country, challenging the federal government’s handling of cases of minors who cross the border without parents or guardians.

Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The federal government shutdown is worsening a record backlog of immigration cases both statewide and nationally, and creating stress for people navigating the system, local attorneys and activists say.

Will James / KNKX

This is a breaking news story. We will update this post with new information as it develops. 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have opened an investigation into the death of an immigrant detainee in Tacoma last month.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Leaders in Tacoma, home to one of the nation's largest detention centers for immigrants facing deportation, may vote Tuesday to express disapproval with the Trump administration's approach to border enforcement.

Will James / KNKX

Washington state's two U.S. senators and two members of its House delegation are seeking answers about the death of an immigration detainee in Tacoma last week.

seattle city council members during a meeting
Ted S. Warren / AP

The Seattle City Council has publicly opposed a proposal by the Trump Administration that one council member says is already having a chilling effect on immigrant communities. 

A makeshift memorial formed outside St. Joseph Medical Center at a vigil in honor of an immigrant detainee who died there Saturday night.
Will James / KNKX

This is a breaking news story. We'll update this post with new information as it becomes available.

An asylum seeker held in Tacoma died Saturday evening of injuries he suffered during a suicide attempt before his scheduled deportation, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman said.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Three people held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma have refused food for 24 days as they protest conditions inside the facility and their own potential deportations.

The detainees have been on hunger strike since Aug. 22 and are under medical supervision, said a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“ICE takes the health, safety and welfare of those in its care very seriously and respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference," the spokeswoman said Thursday.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

More than 46,000 immigrants have been detained in Pierce County over the past two decades, the fourth highest number of any county in the U.S.

It's because Tacoma is home to the Northwest Detention Center, one of the nation's largest holding spaces for people facing deportation due to suspected immigration violations. It's the only such facility in the Pacific Northwest. 

Joe Mabel / Flickr

The University of Washington ranks among the top universities in the country in international student enrollment. Now the university is working to inform its 8,900 international students about a recent policy change by the Trump administration with big potential consequences.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A legal challenge to $1 dollar per day wages paid to immigrants held at a Tacoma detention center can proceed as a class action lawsuit, a federal judge has ruled.

The lawsuit, filed by a detainee almost one year ago, argues the pay for detainees violates Washington state's minimum wage law. 

The Aug. 6 decision by Judge Robert J. Bryan means any detainee who participated in the detention center's voluntary work program since September 2014 could be reimbursed for lost wages, if they're awarded.

Alex Garland / Seattle Weekly

Thursday is the deadline for the Trump administration to reunite families who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border because of its “zero tolerance” immigration policy. Some kids were taken from their parents and sent to various facilities across the country: detention centers, converted warehouses and shelters.

Will James / KNKX

Tacoma officials are sending a warning to protesters who have been camped outside the Northwest Detention Center for more than a week.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Raphael A. Sanchez, who was chief counsel at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Seattle when he opened credit cards and took out loans using the personal information of vulnerable immigrants, has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Immigration attorneys have been busy meeting with migrants seeking asylum who are being held at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center. They were transferred there from Texas under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy against illegal immigration and are now awaiting so-called “credible fear” interviews with immigration officials.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington advocates have filed a lawsuit on behalf of three mothers separated from their children as part of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration.

Will James / KNKX

Washington is leading a coalition of states planning to sue the Trump administration over its policy of separating children from parents who are detained while crossing illegally or seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Following two days of raucous heckling and disruption from Portland demonstrators, a regional office for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has temporarily shuttered, the agency announced Wednesday.

New hardline immigration policies from the federal government have led to backlash nationwide. And in Oregon, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has an occupation on its hands.

President Trump and administration officials are walking a fine line on family separation at the border.

They argue they don't like the policy, but that their hands are tied — and instead are pointing fingers at Congress to "fix" it.

There may be good reason for that — the policy (and it is a Trump administration policy, despite the Homeland Security secretary's claims to the contrary) is unpopular.

How Immigrant Rights Plays Into May Day

Apr 30, 2018
Will James / KNKX

Immigrants in Seattle have many of the same concerns as workers in general -- affordable housing and good jobs. But they also have unique concerns -- discrimination from the general public and increased attention from law enforcement.

Bellingham, Washington, dedicates a new monument this Saturday that speaks to the Pacific Northwest's long and conflicted history with immigration. The "Arch of Healing and Reconciliation" memorializes the past expulsions of immigrant Sikhs, Japanese and Chinese.

Activists across the country say they are being targeted by federal immigration authorities for speaking out at protests and accusing the government of heavy-handed tactics.

The Trump administration has warned that anyone in the country illegally could be arrested and deported under tough new enforcement rules. And federal officials deny allegations of retaliation.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups say they have documented two dozen cases of immigrant activists and volunteers who say they have been arrested or face fines for their work.