immigration

A court in Washington State has ruled that local law enforcement officers cannot prolong traffic stops and other detentions to ask people about their immigration status. 

Tom Banse

Legislators in Washington State are showing enthusiasm for a federal immigration program that gives green cards to wealthy foreign investors. But state officials discovered during a workshop on Friday that the options for expanding foreign investment in this way are largely outside their control.

Tom Banse

What do these things have in common: an Idaho gold mine, a proposed wind farm in central Washington, a new hotel in Portland and the replacement floating bridge across Lake Washington?... They're all investment vehicles for well-to-do families seeking U.S. green cards. Under U-S immigration law, wealthy foreigners can get a green card by investing at least half a million dollars to create at least 10 jobs here. In the Northwest, an increasingly diverse range of projects are competing for such foreign investment.

US Census Bureau

New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show the Northwest has fewer people who speak a foreign language at home than the country as a whole. But the highest concentrations of foreign speaking households in the region are not where you might expect.

WSDOT

For a while, it looked like a major highway project across Lake Washington near Seattle could end up as a "bridge to nowhere" for nearly 100 immigrant investors. But now, after a long wait, the federal government has given the green light to process the green card applications of these wealthy businesspeople in exchange for their help financing the new SR-520 floating bridge.

Supporters of the immigration overhaul that passed the U.S. Senate are drumming up support for the legislation in the Northwest. On Saturday, one of the Democrats taking the lead on the issue in Congress spoke to a crowded church in Yakima, Washington.

Sen. Patty Murray official photo

Senator Patty Murray laid out her priorities for immigration reform Wednesday on the floor of the U.S Senate. Her comments come as the Senate begins debate on a landmark immigration bill.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website

If you end up in an immigration detention center here in Washington state, you could face a long stay. And ironically, if you’re a legal resident the lockup will likely be even longer. Newly released federal statistics show Washington ranks toward the bottom of the list for quick turnover in detention.

Washington Dreamers Pin Hopes on Special Session

May 13, 2013

As lawmakers reconvene in Olympia Monday, the headliner is the state budget. But immigrant advocates are pressing to get the Dream Act added to the lineup, too. Liz Jones has more.

Immigrants rights groups and labor unions held May Day rallies across the northwest Wednesday. It was a joyous occasion at the Oregon capitol, where thousands of people were on hand to celebrate a pair of legislative victories.

At first blush, this rally seemed a lot like the May Day rallies of past years. People chanting: "Si se puede, si se puede"

But instead of "yes we can" perhaps the marchers should have said "yes we did."

People in the country illegally could get a driver license under a bill approved Tuesday by the Oregon House. The vote sends the measure to Governor John Kitzhaber. He plans to sign it during a May Day rally in Salem Wednesday.

Under current Oregon law, you can't get a driver license if you can't prove you're in the country legally. This bill creates licenses that would be good for four years -- not eight years like normal ones.

You also couldn't use one as ID to board a plane or buy a gun.

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon, like most states, doesn’t allow you to get a driver license if you’re in the country illegally. That may change. As Congress debates immigration reform, Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would grant four-year driving privileges to people who otherwise wouldn't qualify for a license. The measure is up for a committee vote Thursday.

Causa Supporters Hold Rally In Eugene

Apr 10, 2013
Desmond O'Boyle

To show support for immigration reform, about 25 people attended a rally in front of the federal building in Eugene Wednesday.

Washington Dream Act Unlikely to Clear Senate

Apr 2, 2013

Supporters of the so-called Washington Dream Act plan to make one more uphill push in Olympia Tuesday. The measure would extend state financial aid to eligible college students who are in the US illegally. Hopes for the bill dwindled this weekend as a key state senator spoke out against the measure. KUOW’s Liz Jones reports.

If you’re booked into a King County jail, you’ll stay an extra month, on average, if immigration officials want to review your file. That’s even if you haven’t been charged with a crime. This is one of the findings in a new report today from the University of Washington.

Virginia Alvino / Northwest News Network

After ten years of effort, immigrant rights advocates are celebrating the final vote to give in-state tuition rates to some undocumented students. The Oregon Senate approved the bill Thursday and Gov. John Kitzhaber says he plans to sign it.

BREWSTER, Wash. - There's one word that politicians almost always use when they talk about the U.S. immigration system. That word is “broken.” But what does that really mean? Residents of the small town of Brewster, Wash., know. For decades, immigrants have come from Mexico, often illegally, to work the surrounding apple and cherry orchards. Bewster, it turns out, is a microcosm of how the immigration debate is playing out.

Culture Shift: Permission to Stay

Mar 19, 2013

This week, we're taking a closer look at how immigration policies shape our Northwest region, culture and people. Momentum continues to build in Congress toward an immigration reform bill this year. The centerpiece will likely focus on the millions of immigrants in the US illegally…and whether to give them a path to citizenship. It’s a proposal that echoes back to the 1980s.


MABTON, Wash. - Most American families have some kind of immigration lore -- think Ellis Island, the Oregon Trail and slave ships. At dinner tables across the Northwest, some Mexican-American families tell their own vivid tales. They regale each other with stories of relatives swimming to better opportunities across the Rio Grande or crossing the desert at night.

Yes, these crossings are illegal, but they also are part of a family’s history. If the U.S. Congress adopts comprehensive immigration reform this year, these types of border stories could begin to fade.

Sequestration has apparently led to a “get out of jail free” card for some detainees at an immigration lockup in Tacoma. With budget cuts looming, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it’s shifting some detainees around the country to supervised release. KUOW’s Liz Jones reports.

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon House has approved a controversial bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state college tuition rates. Supporters called Friday’s vote historic. But not very many students are expected to actually take advantage of the measure.

SALEM, Ore. – Supporters of a bill to allow some undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition rates packed several hearing rooms at the Oregon Capitol Wednesday. They refer to the legislation as “tuition equity.” A House committee held a public hearing on the issue.

Among those to testify was Karla Castaneda, a junior at Parkrose High School in Portland.

Jimmy Emerson
Flickr

Momentum is building in Salem for a bill to give children of undocumented immigrants in-state tuition rates at Oregon universities. Gov. John Kitzhaber threw his weight behind the idea Monday.

Northwest Immigrants Take The Oath Of Citizenship

Feb 5, 2013

SPOKANE, Wash. - As Congress prepares for a debate over immigration reform, one group of immigrants in the Northwest quietly completed their paths to citizenship Tuesday. Fourteen people became U.S. citizens at a ceremony in Spokane, Wash.

One of them was Mukti Ryan. She wanted to be able to travel more easily with her American husband and daughter, even though she had to give up her Indian citizenship.

“India doesn't allow dual citizenship, so I can't call myself an Indian citizen anymore," Ryan says. "It's a bittersweet feeling.”

RICHLAND, Wash. – A group of Northwest farmers plans to bring in thousands of legal Mexican guest workers to their fields and orchards this year. Last season many farmers were scrambling to pick their crops because of a worker shortage.

The federal H-2A guest worker program is so cumbersome and expensive, that most farmers haven’t wanted to use it. Employers have to pay for transportation, approved housing and usually more money than the going wage for workers already in the U.S.

SweeTango / Wikimedia Commons

Farmers in Washington State are celebrating this week’s news about progress on federal immigration reform. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators unveiled a proposed framework for legislation on Monday.
It specifically addresses the country’s reliance on undocumented farm worker and the need to legalize this workforce.

Oregon DMV

Oregon transportation officials reversed course Wednesday and announced that children of undocumented immigrants can get state driver licenses. The decision applies to people who qualify for President Obama’s deferred deportation policy.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Northwest agriculture advocates are more optimistic Congress will take up the issue of immigration after a forum this week in Washington, D.C. The effort is getting support from a surprising mix of organizations.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The "world's most comprehensive collection" of opium smoking paraphernalia has a new home; it's at the University of Idaho. A writer and collector, originally from San Diego, donated the exquisite antiques. Correspondent Tom Banse has the intriguing back story of how these so-called "instruments of self-destruction" came to a small Northwest town.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Thirteen Washington prison inmates who opted to be deported, instead of serving out their sentences, have been re-arrested back in the United States. All but one returned from Mexico. The inmates were part of an early deportation program begun last year to reduce prison costs.

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