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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Friday, April 3, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Coming to America

Blessed. Scared. Excited. Uncertain.

Immigrants from around the world move to Spokane in search of an education, peace, freedom of religion or simply to spend their life with someone they love. Their feelings about their journeys to the U.S. are as diverse as the reasons they come.

Political debate about immigrants often focuses on them in the abstract, whether they’re cast as competition for jobs, hardworking people just like you or potential security risks. In central and eastern Washington, “immigrant” tends to be synonymous with Mexican in many people’s minds.

The Inland Northwest isn’t known for its diversity, but the region is home to more than 30,000 immigrants born outside the U.S., according to 2015 Census data. The largest share, both in Spokane and Kootenai counties, are from Europe, followed by Latin America.

We talked to seven Spokane immigrants about how and why they came to the U.S., and eventually to Spokane.

Some shared fears about how a new presidential administration might make changes to the laws that allowed them to come here. Some spoke passionately about the beauty of the U.S. Constitution and system of government. And while those from warmer climates said Spokane winters take some adjustment, all agreed the city and its residents have welcomed them.

Here are their stories.