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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: immigration reform

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

April 1, 2014 at 6:06 AM

As Wash. extends financial aid to ‘dreamers,’ Congress should reconsider immigration reform

One of the few controversial measures to pass the Washington state Legislature with bipartisan support this past session is now in effect statewide. The REAL Hope Act is a shining example of how states can take small steps to reform immigration policy — with or without congressional action.

Screenshot of the website where students can find out more about the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).

Screenshot of the website where students can find out more about the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).

A Monday press release sent to the media from the Washington Student Achievement Council included a catchy subject line: “Calling all dreamers” — application for state financial aid now available.

This is a special moment for bright students — known as dreamers — who are

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Comments | Topics: dream act, immigration reform, Washington Legislature

September 19, 2013 at 11:34 AM

House Republicans’ effort to woo Latinos misses the mark

Watch the one-minute video below released by House Republicans this week and tell me what’s missing:

Notice there’s zero mention of immigration reform? Offering lip service to Latinos for their contributions to America, then refusing to address one of this fast-growing voting bloc’s chief issues makes House Republicans look out of touch.

In the Times editorial board’s Thursday editorial, we argue for three of four Washington Republican congressional members — U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane, Doc Hastings of Pasco and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas — to rally behind a comprehensive immigration reform package that includes a path to citizenship.

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Comments | Topics: cathy mcmorris rodgers, congress, doc hastings

June 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Patty Murray makes strong case for immigration reform

Comprehensive immigration reform is easy to bash when you look at a bunch of policy reforms on paper.

Many Americans get it. Some don’t. This is really about people. Living, breathing human beings. There’s no better way to understand the need for changes to the way we treat the issue of citizenship in the United States than to hear the personal stories of individuals who are living in the shadows.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray delivered a strong opening speech before Congress Wednesday as the chamber opened the floodgates to a national debate on reforming immigration laws. She outlined a pragmatic approach to the problem while standing beside a a giant poster-sized photo of two Washington state sisters, Mari and Adriana Barrera.  The two were raised by a single mother and began working from a young age. When one sibling fell terribly ill, the other pledged to become a doctor. Unfortunately, she recently had to drop out of the University of Washington because she could not afford tuition and did not qualify for financial aid. That’s the price young people have to pay when they are raised in and thrive in the U.S., but lack a valid nine-digit code known as a social security number. It’s inhumane for us to limit their talent and brain power, which are often cultivated in American schools.

Watch Murray’s 15-minute speech below. As the debate continues, I hope other lawmakers bring forth similar stories of determination and survival. They should remember these stories before they vote.

Whatever happens in Washington, D. C. in the coming months will affect our state in profound ways, whether we’re talking about laying the groundwork for the high-tech sector to maintain jobs here or keeping up with the labor demands of our agricultural economy. As this February Slate map shows, there are approximately 230,000 undocumented immigrants within Washington. They make up about 3 percent of our statewide population and 5 percent of our total labor force (and very likely a much higher percentage of our farm workers).

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Comments | More in Video | Topics: comprehensive, immigration reform, patty murray

May 22, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Do not exploit gay rights issue to stop immigration reform

The U.S. Senate is on the verge of debating comprehensive immigration reform, and there are signs Republicans and Democrats are cooperating to finally pass a substantial bill.  The Senate Judiciary Committee’s 13-5 decision Monday to send the measure to the floor is a big deal, and though I support equal rights for same-sex couples (and…

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Comments | Topics: congress, defense of marriage, DOMA

May 7, 2013 at 7:03 AM

H-1B visas good for skilled foreign workers, not so good for the accompanying spouses

Ananya Rabeya, is an H-4 dependent spouse who cannot legally work in the U.S. She volunteers as a tutor at Yesler Terrace. (Photo: Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times)

Ananya Rabeya, is an H-4 dependent spouse who cannot legally work in the U.S. She volunteers as a tutor at Yesler Terrace.
(Photo: Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times)

Recent Seattle Times stories about the H-1B visa program offered a lot of food for thought on immigration reform. The first story explored whether technology companies and other leading industries use this area of the immigration law to favor skilled foreign workers over equally skilled American workers. Some labor economists argue that American companies take the easy way out by hiring from abroad rather than choosing unemployed American workers with similar skills. Other labor economists, joined by Microsoft, Facebook and other technology companies, argue that thousands of jobs would go unfilled if not for the visa program.

The second story shined a spotlight on the lives of spouses of H-1B visa holders. They hold the immigration status of H-4 visa spouse. They are often educated and experienced in their field but they are not legally authorized to work. They do not have a Social Security number. Some are able to seek H-1B visas on their own – a time-consuming and expensive process for employers – or the spouses may take classes and hold out hope for one day returning to the workforce either here or in their native country.

These spouses, largely women, are not sitting idly at home.

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Comments | Topics: congress, Facebook, Google

April 30, 2013 at 6:30 AM

PBS documentary forces unflinching look at migrant deaths in the Arizona desert

Calls for comprehensive immigration reform center around the people who left other countries and made it here. But what of those who set out to come here but never made it?

Since 1998, more than 2,000 dead bodies have been found in Arizona’s Sonora Desert. They are the remains of migrants braving the desert’s hellish temperatures to cross into the U.S.  Last night, PBS aired   The Undocumented, a powerful documentary film that follows Marcos Hernandez as he searches for his father,Francisco, who vanished while walking through the Sonora.

The documentary’s power lies in gritty interviews, haunting music and spare narration. The dead lie unidentified in morgues but filmmaker Marco Williams makes sure they do not go unremarked upon.

In the U.S. the immigration debate takes on academic tones thick with numbers and legal statuses.

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Comments | Topics: congress, Documentary, immigration reform