immigration

Short on the heels of a nonbinding House vote to block President Obama's executive action on immigration, some 20 Democratic U.S. mayors are meeting today in New York City to send a different message:

They want to help implement the president's plan.

Updated at 5:58 p.m.

Seventeen states, led by Texas, are suing the Obama administration over its recent executive actions on immigration.

"The Constitution prescribes immigration policy be fixed by Congress — not by presidential fiat," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the state's governor-elect, said at a news conference in Austin.

Brett Davis / Washington Farm Bureau

Steve Sakuma, one of the owners of Sakuma Brothers Farms, a Skagit Valley berry farm that’s been in the spotlight for a labor dispute, calls President Obama’s announcement on immigration a "good first step." But he says it doesn’t solve a labor shortage the farm has faced.

In the past, Sakuma has called the current immigration system broken, saying it’s not good to have so many workers living in the shadows and it limits their upward mobility. For that reason, Sakuma praised the president’s move to protect some workers from deportation and let them work here legally.

Jim Bourg / AP Photo/Pool

Spurning furious Republicans, President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation and refocus enforcement efforts on "felons, not families."

This post was updated on Dec. 1, 2014, at 4:52 p.m.

President Obama is set to announce executive action tonight, granting temporary relief to some of the nearly 12 million immigrants who are living in the United States illegally. Here's what we know so far:

1. What kind of relief is the president offering?

Obama's move lifts the threat of deportation — at least temporarily. But it does not provide the full path to citizenship as envisioned under a comprehensive immigration bill.

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.

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.

Judge: Some Immigrants Can't Be Held Without Bond

Mar 12, 2014

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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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