immigration

Business
5:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

What Is The Farm Guest Worker Program And Why Is It Controversial In Wash. State?

Berry pickers showed up in a Skagit County court as they brought a lawsuit against Sakuma Brothers Farms. They said the farm was trying to exclude them from work and instead bring in foreign guest workers under the H-2A program.
Ashley Gross KPLU

People in Seattle are familiar with the H-1B visa program that brings high-tech employees from abroad, but another, more obscure foreign worker program has churned up a lot of controversy in the state recently.

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The Lives Of Migrant Workers
5:00 am
Wed May 21, 2014

5 Things One Anthropologist Learned While Working As A Migrant Berry Picker In Wash.

Courtesy of Seth Holmes

Seth Holmes is a doctor and anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley who did something that wouldn’t occur to most white, middle-class, highly-educated Americans.

About a decade ago, he spent a year and a half traveling, living with and working alongside migrant indigenous Mexican farmworkers from the state of Oaxaca. His stint included two seasons picking strawberries and blueberries on a large farm in Skagit County.

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Immigration
4:02 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Judge: Some Immigrants Can't Be Held Without Bond

A federal judge in Seattle says certain immigrants can't be held in detention without bond hearings.

Tuesday's ruling stems from a complaint filed by immigrant advocates on behalf of three men who were held for months at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma without a chance of a bond hearing, in which a judge determines whether immigrants present a flight risk or a danger to the community.

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Immigration & Emission
7:01 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Immigrant Investors Could Finance Green Trucks For Green Cards

FILE - Truck driver Earliest Madir inspects his truck while waiting for a load at a truck stop Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Atlanta.
David Goldman AP Photo

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has approved an unusual way for prospective immigrants to earn a U.S. green card and permanent residency. They can loan money to independent Northwest truckers who want to upgrade to less-polluting rigs.

The idea was the brainchild of Bellingham immigration attorney David Andersson and a cross-border association of state Legislatures and parliaments called the Pacific Northwest Economic Region.

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Life After Deportation
10:21 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Deported Mother from Oregon Makes New Life in Mexico Without Her Kids

When Liliana Ramos was deported to Mexico more than two years ago, her three children were left behind in Bend, Oregon. The Tapia children were left in the care of their undocumented grandmother and remain with her today.

Ramos moved to Tijuana, a city she had never lived in and where she knew no one.

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Undocumented Residents
11:01 am
Thu January 2, 2014

U.S. Immigration Policy Leaves Behind 'Orphans Of Deportation'

Ashley, 18, left, Brian, 21, and Karleen Tapia pose for a photo outside their home in Bend. Their single mother was deported to Mexico in September 2011.
Jordana Gustafson OPB

Some 4.5 million American citizens have at least one undocumented parent, according to estimates by the Pew Hispanic Center.

This has led to a growing number of children in the U.S. who are living without their parents. That’s because the number of deportations under the Obama administration has reached record levels — 400,000 in 2012 alone — and many of those deported are parents.

Latino communities across the country have borne the brunt of these deportations, and researchers say children’s mental health suffers as a result.

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immigrant investors
10:18 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Foreigners Finance More Diverse Ventures to Obtain U.S. Visas

Immigrant investors seeking U.S. visas financed the construction of this office and retail complex called "Home Plate Center" across from Seattle's Safeco Field.
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 ten jobs here. In the Northwest, an increasingly diverse range of projects are competing for such foreign investment.

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immigration
5:09 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Sheriff Urges King Co. to Honor Fewer Immigration Detainers

King County’s sheriff says he’s concerned that people in immigrant communities are afraid to call the police for fear of getting deported. That’s why he’s supporting a measure to limit the county’s cooperation with federal detention requests. 

The main way that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, finds people who are here illegally is through the criminal justice system. Local jails are now required to turn over fingerprint data to the FBI, which shares it with ICE. 

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Law
2:35 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

A risk including gay partners in immigration bill?

Jay Mercado, left, and Shirley Tan, third from left, and their twin sons Jorien Mercado, second from left and Jashley Mercado, both 16, of Pacifica, Calif., wait on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 24, 2013, to meet with Senate Majority Leader
Carolyn Kaster Associated Press

Frustrated at being left out of an immigration overhaul, gay rights groups are pushing to adjust a bipartisan Senate bill to include gay couples. But Democrats are treading carefully, wary of adding another divisive issue that could lose Republican support and jeopardize the entire bill.

Both parties want the bill to succeed. Merely getting to agreement on the basic framework for the immigration overhaul, which would create a long and costly path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, was no small feat for senators. And getting it through a divided Congress is still far from a done deal.

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Immigration
5:57 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Legal victory for asylum seekers

The settlement of a class-action lawsuit, filed on behalf of asylum seekers, should make it easier for people to work in the U.S. while for their asylum petition to be acted on.

The problem has been with something called the “asylum clock.” The clock is actually a complicated formula the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies use to decide when someone is allowed to legally begin working in the United States. Theoretically, it’s supposed to be around six months. But, according to the court case, it stretches into years.

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Law
5:01 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Statewide bus tour demands immigration reform

Xochitl Rojas joins the Keeping Washington Families Together Bus Tour this week with her father. She has deferred action status but wants comprehensive immigration reform.
Courtesy OneAmerica

Imagine living your life in a legal limbo, with fear of deportation looming and constant uncertainty about your future.

That’s the reality for many immigrants in Washington State. Several dozen of them are boarding a bus that will criss-cross the state this week to tell their stories and demand comprehensive immigration reform. 

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Microsoft and immigration
2:13 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Microsoft proposes 'pay-to-play' immigration plan to grow workforce

The risk of waiting for the education of American workers to catch up and fill high-tech jobs, Microsoft said, is that unfilled high-tech jobs could migrate overseas.
Robert Scoble Flickr

With 6,000 high-tech jobs on the table, Microsoft said today it has a pay-to-play plan that would increase the number of H-1B visas to the U.S. by 20,000 and raise more than $500 million for education.

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Business
5:00 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Microsoft urges immigration reform to fill high-skilled jobs

Robert Scoble Flickr

Overall, job growth remains disappointingly slow – the unemployment rate remains stuck above 8 percent. In computer-related fields, though, jobs are going unfilled.

Unemployment in computer and math jobs is a measly 3.4 percent. Companies like Microsoft and Expedia say one remedy is immigration reform, and they’re hopeful Congress will pass a new act to break the logjam.

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Immigration
6:00 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Weird questions you have to answer to become a U.S. citizen

Photograph of Federal Judge Michael Igoe administering Oath of Allegiance, 10/13/1939
National Archives

Have you ever been a “habitual drunkard?” What about a Communist? And exactly where were you between the dates of March 23, 1933 and May 8, 1945?

If you want to become a citizen of the United States, get ready to answer these questions---and about a hundred more---on the U.S. citizenship application form, the N-400.

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Business and labor
7:18 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Northwest farmers, shop-keeps wait anxiously for cherry workers

The first cherries of the season are coming off the trees in Northwest orchard country, but will there be enough workers to pick them? Photo by Anna King

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 2:51 pm

PASCO, Wash. – With lingering high unemployment and the endless talk of the down economy -– it’s hard to believe that there are some industries putting help-wanted signs out by the dozens. But that’s the case in Northwest orchard country where there appears to be a dwindling supply of migrant workers for cherry picking. Cherry season started this past week, and farmers and shop-keeps alike are anxiously waiting for more workers to arrive.

If you want to talk to cherry workers before they disappear into the jungle-dense canopies of trees, then you have to get up early.

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