Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.
As Congress moves forward with immigration reform, we take a look at how this issue connects to culture, business and families in the Northwest.Our region is home to a unique blend of immigrants who work in all parts of our economy — from high-tech to agriculture. This population already has a deeply-rooted history here. And its ranks are expanding rapidly.Proposals for comprehensive immigration reform address border security, employment verification, guest-worker programs and pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the US.

Immigration arrests spike in Seattle and Northwest under Trump

Detainees are shown inside a holding cell at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., Friday, Oct. 17, 2008.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Detainees at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma

President Donald Trump is following through on his promise to crack down on illegal immigration.

Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday announced a huge spike in the number of people arrested in the Northwest.

During the first 100 days of this year, agents with ICE's field office in Seattle arrested 1,070 people in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska — a 33 percent increase over the same time period last year.

The number of people arrested with no criminal history rose by more than 360 percent.

ICE spokesperson Rose Richeson attributes the spike to new federal policy.

"We've still been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety, national security and convicted criminal aliens," Richeson said.

"But all of those in violation of immigration laws may now be subject to immigration arrest, detention, even sometimes removal if found removable by a final order from an immigration judge."

That's having a dramatic impact, said Tim Warden-Hertz, directing attorney with the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project.

"We're creating a situation where many community members are afraid to have any contact with law enforcement," Warden-Hertz said. "That creates dangers across the board. I also think an enforcement regime that tears apart families doesn't create a better country."

Nationally, ICE arrested 41,318 people during Trump's first 100 days in office. That's 10,000 more than during the same period last year.

Year started with KUOW: 2006