Tag Archives: Immigrants

OPINION | Finding Home in the Chinatown-International District

by J.M. Wong


On Friday, Sept. 30, my friends and I sent selfie photos of each other shopping at Viet-Wah, the Vietnamese-owned grocery store located in the Chinatown-International District. It was Viet-Wah’s last day of operations, and we exchanged our favorite memories of the place. It was nostalgic to listen to the music in the background amidst altars with joss sticks and offerings. When I arrived in Seattle in 2007, Viet-Wah was the one place that reminded me of home — they had spices and mixes for Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine. And most importantly, they had everything I needed for hot pot in one store. 

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OPINION | Domestic Violence Survivors and Immigrants Should Not Face Barriers to New State Tax Credit

by Judy Chen and Roxana Norouzi


When I sat down with Jane early last year, she had an air of nervous optimism. She was a mother of three, fresh out of a bad living situation, and badly needed a little cash to help pay for school supplies and formula. Leaning on friends and family had been hard, and I knew it was a big step to ask for help. Like every immigrant parent who comes to ask for support, I wanted nothing more than to tell her that getting help would be easy. 

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Ricardo Ruiz’s ‘We Had Our Reasons’ Tells the Stories of Immigrant Workers

by Amanda Ong


The voices of a community are an incredibly vibrant thing, and nearly impossible to hold in your own hands and distill into words. But this is what Seattle-based poet Ricardo Ruiz does in his new poetry collection, We Had Our Reasons/Teníamos Nuestras Razones, which has recently been released for publication by Seattle publishing house Pulley Press.

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OPINION: There Are No Shortcuts

by Rosalinda Aguirre


I come from two generations of Mexican immigrants who picked cotton, harvested hops and beets, and labored on the rail lines throughout the country. Through my parents’ work, I met men and women who toiled day after day in the fields for minimal wages and without health care. It was one of my first introductions to social inequality.

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OPINION: Spirit Returns 2.0 — Finding Solidarity at the Duwamish Longhouse

by Amanda Ong


“We were second-class citizens in our own land,” my grandfather used to tell me, perhaps the only time I saw him with a hint of a scowl. Our land then was Hong Kong, where Chinese residents were under British control for 100 years. As the original inhabitants of Hong Kong were Punti, Hakka, Tanka, and Hokkien, the island has always been ethnically Chinese. My grandfather seldom spoke about the marginalization my family experienced during their time in Hong Kong as a British colony and when he did, he was brief. When my mother was a child in the 1960s, our family made the decision to leave Hong Kong to be second-class citizens in another land, hoping for something called “opportunity.” 

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COVID-19 Outbreak at ICE Detention Center Continues

by Luna Reyna

As the delta variant spreads across the country, transfers to Northwest ICE Processing Center are spreading the virus to some of our state’s most vulnerable.


In 2018 the University of Washington Center for Human Rights (UWCHR) began collecting data on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) flights with the assistance of Yakima Immigrant Response Network. These flights, also called ICE Air, were once carried out by the U.S. Marshals. Today, they are carried out by private businesses through private deportation contracts for ICE that are worth millions. According to Phil Neff, project coordinator for the UWCHR, the data revealed that nearly 600 people transferred to Northwest ICE Processing Center (NWIPC) in June 2021 — the most transfers from ICE Air to the facility since June 2014. With these transfers came the transmission of COVID-19, resulting in the worst outbreak of the virus the facility has ever seen. 

According to the Tacoma-Pierce County Department of Health, an outbreak is considered two cases within 14 days of each other. NWIPC reported 32 cases in under 14 days. According to ICE reports, each new case was a transfer from the southern border. “My understanding is that most of them are asylum seekers …” Neff explained. “Under human rights terms, asylum seekers shouldn’t be indefinitely detained.” This number has only increased since June. At least 150 people, including nine guards and one medical personnel, have tested positive. 

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PHOTO ESSAY: El Comité’s Annual May Day March 2021

by Maile Anderson and Ronnie Estoque


Around 150 people marched from the Central District to downtown on Saturday, May 1, as part of El Comité’s annual May Day or International Workers’ Day march. It was one of the smallest turnouts in two decades, but the spirit of the protesters was undeterred as they walked on behalf of immigrant and workers rights. On their way, attendees passed through Chinatown-International District where JM Wong, co-founder of Massage Parlor Outreach Project, spoke out against the recent rise in hate and violence against Asian Americans. Other speakers included Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Washington State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos.

This year’s Trabaiadorxs Esenciales y Excluidxs (Essential and Excluded Workers) march highlighted the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on vulnerable and essential workers. “2020 became a major challenge for workers,” reads the event listing on El Comité’s website. “As a result of the virus, thousands of businesses closed, some forever. Millions of workers were furloughed or lost their jobs. Many lives were thrown into a world of unemployment, poverty, compounding rental debt, and homelessness.” Protesters also marched for immigration reform, equitable vaccine access, cancelling rent debt and evictions, and solidarity against police brutality, white supremacy, and systemic racism.


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OPINION: No One Should Go to Court Because They Can’t Afford a Transit Ticket

by Rich Stolz and Anna Zivarts


Following years of local advocacy and heightened scrutiny by the movement for Black lives around enforcement practices, Sound Transit has announced a new approach to fare enforcement on public transit: the fare ambassador pilot program. This pivot from a punitive system to a supportive one is long overdue. Sound Transit and other agencies must see this process through and fully divorce its transit fare system from the court system. Failure to pay for a transit ticket — whether due to poverty or misunderstanding — should never place transit riders at risk for devastating legal, financial, or physical harm.

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Why Is South King County Dealing With Higher Numbers of COVID-19 Cases Compared to Rest of County?

by Elizabeth Turnbull


While COVID-19 cases have increased in King County since the beginning of the month overall, South King County, one of the most diverse parts of the Seattle area, has recorded disproportionate numbers of cases.

Whereas 3.2% of all tests in King County come back positive for the novel coronavirus, simply looking at the map of positive tests in the county on King County’s Daily COVID-19 Outbreak Summary webpage (you must choose the “Geography tab” in the dashboard to view the map) will show you that these numbers increase the more you travel south. For example, overall positivity rates in Auburn stand at 8.4% and of individuals tested at the Auburn testing site at 2701 C Sreet Southwest, 12.8% of tests have come back positive since Sept. 1, according to a Seattle Times article.

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Seattle City Council Passes Resolution Asking Gov. Inslee to Create Relief Fund for Undocumented Workers

by Carolyn Bick


The Seattle City Council has unanimously adopted a resolution asking Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee to create a relief fund for undocumented workers affected by the current novel coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution, which was championed at the grassroots level by several immigrants’ rights organizations and introduced by sponsors Seattle City Councilmembers Lorena Gonzalez and Teresa Mosqueda at the City Council’s May 18 meeting, asks that the governor create the fund, because undocumented workers are ineligible for regular federal or state unemployment benefits or relief, despite paying taxes like official United States citizens.

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