After 9/11

Relationship: Im/migrant
This building operated from 1932-2004. Photo by Dean Wong
This building operated from 1932-2004. Photo by Dean Wong

In November 2002, the US government began Special Registration, requiring all male foreign visitors from 25 predominantly Arab and Muslim countries to register at specific immigration facilities.  “OneAmerica arranged a demonstration. And my surprise to that was, wow! What I see, the elected officials of the state of WA… in among all of the people in the demonstration, saying that the government’s wrong! I was shocked because back home you cannot be against your own government. If you’re an official, you’ll die in jail! … And I said, ‘Pramila, why are those guys here? We don’t want to have more problem than we have.’… She said, ‘Mohamed, no, it’s America. You have to believe what you believe in and you have to stand up.’” – Mohamed Sheikh Hassan came to the US as a refugee in 1994 and has been a leader in Seattle’s Somali community.  “We had a candlelight vigil… and walked over to the INS Building. It was silhouetted in the setting sun, and the detainees had heard somehow that we were coming. When our group of 300… reached there, people were stuck to the windows and trying to find cracks to send notes down to us with their names and A[lien] numbers for us to help them. Their bodies were silhouetted dark frames against the evening light. Our crowd was loud and insistent in solidarity. A remarkable evening.” – Pramila Jayapal was co-founder and former executive director of OneAmerica, an immigrant rights organization founded after 9/11 to counter the backlash against immigrants. 

Place(s): Seattle

– Voices of the Immigration Station, Wing Luke Museum

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant