How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Executive Action: LA officials warn of scams aimed at immigrants hoping for deportation protection

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer addresses reporters on Thursday to announce plans for a crack down on immigration scam artists. City and county officials are also engaging in outreach to warn immigrants who are eager to apply for deportation relief under President Obama's new immigration plan.

Less than a month ago, President Obama signed an executive immigration order that could spare millions from deportation. Like clockwork, scam artists are already trying to cash in on immigrants' hopes, according to Los Angeles city and county officials.

There are still no details about the application forms or the fees that immigrants will need to pay in order to seek temporary legal status under the new White House plan. On Thursday, officials said the lack of information is providing fraudulent notarios , fake lawyers and an array of scam artists with an opportunity to prey on eager would-be applicants.

"They are already being asked to come to an office, and complete a form, get in line, pay a fee so they get to the front to the line," said Rigo Reyes, who heads the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs. "Well, there is no line. Anyone who is charging for forms, who is making misrepresentations, clearly is lying to them because no such thing exists."


In immigration news: Cuban Americans react to improving relations, immigration scams, driver's license lawsuit, more

View of the empty check-in desk of Cuban

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

An empty Cuban airline check-in desk. The number of Cubans heading to the United States has soared since the island lifted travel restrictions; now, the U.S. and Cuba could begin the process of improving diplomatic and economic ties. Some Cuban Americans are supportive of the move, but others remain deeply skeptical.

Polls Show Cuban-American Views On U.S.-Cuba Relations Are Nuanced - NPR The U.S. government's announcement that it could ease diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba comes as attitudes among Cuban Americans have been evolving. From the story: "Florida International University in Miami has been polling Cuban-Americans since 1991. Back then, 87 percent of Cuban-Americans supported the embargo, but after President Obama was elected in 2008, that shifted completely. For the first time in the poll's history, most Cuban-Americans said they disapproved of the U.S. embargo."

Local Cuban Americans divided over changes in US-Cuba relations - Southern California Public Radio There are an estimated 86,000 Cuban Americans in California, many of them in the Los Angeles area. Yesterday, after news broke of the possibility that the U.S. may improve ties with the Cuban government, reaction was divided. Some were skeptical of how improved economic relations might help the average Cuban and opposed the move; others were optimistic.


Will the New Year bring legalization to LA street vendors? City leaders say a new plan might work this time

Street Vendor - 6

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They’ve arrested me three times, that I remember.... Even with a permit, they’ve thrown it away twice," Delfino Flores says.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Delfino Flores prepares fresh fruit for customers Ana Ruiz and Armando Arizpe on Figueroa Street in Highland Park on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Delfina Flores puts chili powder and lime juice on fruit for a customer on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 on Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Six-year-old Valeria Valdez eats a bag of fresh fruit at Delfino Flores' fruit cart on Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Mary Beltran has been a regular customer of Delfino Flores for 15 years.

Chopping fruit is how Delfino Flores always starts his day. Pineapples, mangoes, melons. He’s been a street vendor in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles for 15 years.

"Always, since I came to this country, this is what I’ve done. It’s what I learned how to do," said Flores, 32, who hails from the Mexican city of Puebla. "Being an entrepreneur is what I like. Most of us from Puebla, we like business, and it’s what we do.”

But street vending on public streets and sidewalks is illegal in Los Angeles. For decades, city officials have squabbled over how to legalize these micro-enterprises, mostly run by immigrants from Latin America, who sell everything from fruit and cornmeal pupusas, to clothing and electronic gadgets.

City officials are now weighing a plan to legalize street vending. It’s not the first time the idea has come up – but proponents say it might work this time, because the city and its economy have changed.


In immigration news: Judge calls executive action unconstitutional, GOP and immigration, the meaning of 'hapa,' more


khz - Fotolia/flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge in Pennsylvania, ruling on a case that involves a deported Honduran immigrant, has issued an opinion that President Obama's recent executive action on immigration is unlawful.

Federal Judge Calls Obama’s Immigration Actions Unlawful - New York Times Judge Arthur J. Schwab, a federal judge in the Western District of Pennsylvania, has issued an opinion in a case involving a Honduran immigrant that President Obama's recent executive action on immigration is unconstitutional. While his decision has no immediate effect on Obama's immigration plan, "the judge found that the president had violated the separation of powers by creating a 'systematic and rigid process' for determining which immigrants would qualify, which he said 'crosses the line'  to constitute legislation."

Jeb Bush and the perils of immigration - CBS News Now that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is contemplating a presidential bid, his track record and evolving attitudes on immigration will be part of the discussion. From the story: "Immigration will likely generate a fair amount of debate in light of President Obama's recent executive action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, a move that has infuriated many on the right."


OC school district to offer Calif.'s 1st Vietnamese-English immersion program

Preserving Vietnamese Heritage

Elaine Thompson/AP

The Westminster School District plans to launch the first Vietnamese-English language immersion program at a California public school in fall 2015. It joins a handful of other school districts across the country with these programs, including Seattle's pictured here.

The Westminster School District in Orange County is launching California's first Vietnamese-English immersion program in the fall of 2015.

The inaugural class will include up to 100 kindergarten students at DeMille Elementary School in Midway City, according to school board member Jamison Power.

Power said families in the heavily-Vietnamese district, which also operates schools in Garden Grove and Huntington Beach, have been asking for an immersion program for years. The city of Westminster alone, is more than 40 percent Vietnamese, according to latest census figures.

"Being bilingual in today's globalized society makes our students more competitive in the job market," said Power, who plans to enroll his half-Vietnamese son in the immersion program when he becomes old enough in several years.