How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Immigration reform: Mexican consulate in LA braces for surge in applicants

Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles

Los Angeles World Affairs Council via Flickr

Carlos Sada, Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles, said expects a surge in document requests from immigrants planning to apply for protection from deportation under Obama's executive action.

The Mexican consulate in Los Angeles is planning to expand its hours and grow its staff by as much as 30 percent to accommodate Mexican nationals seeking deportation relief under Pres. Obama's recent immigration action. 

Consul General Carlos Sada told KPCC he wants to add 20 to 30 more employees to his office of about 100. The additional staff would help Mexican nationals compile the documents they need to seek protection from deportation from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services - like Mexican passports or consular ID cards required to prove their identities.

"I do not feel that overwhelmed, but I want to be prepared as possible," Sada said.

Mexican immigrants are expected to benefit from President Obama's executive action on immigration more than any other group. Sada said many do not have birth certificates, let alone photo ID.

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Immigration: Deportation action a relief to some, but many Californians still won't qualify

Obama Immigration speech

Stuart Palley/ KPCC

Onlookers watch as President Obama is shown on a projector near the intersection of Alameda St. and the 101 freeway in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, addressing the nation with reformed immigration policy. President Obama addresses the nation with reforms in immigration policy in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday Nov. 20, 2014.

Gerardo spent the summer of 2013 going through his files, making sure he had every school record, every mortgage statement, every credit document meticulously in order.
 
The restaurant chef and father of four U.S.-born children arrived here more than 20 years ago — too late for amnesty. In his 40s by the time deferred action rolled around in 2012, he was too old for that. (We are not using his last name; he agreed to speak with KPCC if we protected his identity.)

His hope, at the time, was the immigration reform bill that had just cleared the Senate would make it through Congress and become law. It didn’t happen.
 
Then Thursday evening, as he watched President Obama’s immigration speech at home, everything changed.
 
“I just jumped out of the sofa," Gerardo said. "This is something I have been waiting for, for so many years. And now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, finally.”
 
Among the immigrants who will qualify for temporary relief from deportation under Obama's executive order are people like Gerardo and his wife: parents of U.S. Citizens or legal residents who have lived here five years or more.
 
Also protected will be immigrants who arrived as children before the start of 2010, regardless of their age now.

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Immigration reform: Obama to sign executive order; Republicans won't 'stand idle'

Obama Immigration speech

Stuart Palley/ KPCC

Onlookers watch as President Obama is shown on a projector near the intersection of Alameda St. and the 101 freeway in downtown Los Angeles Thursday addressing the nation with reformed immigration policy. President Obama addresses the nation with reforms in immigration policy in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday Nov. 20, 2014.

President Barack Obama was in Las Vegas Friday to sign his executive order shielding from deportation millions of immigrants who are in the United States without authorization. While the order touches on almost every aspect of the immigration system – from immigration courts, to border security, to background checks — many details of how it will work are still unclear. Republicans, meanwhile, have said that the president's unilateral move was "damaging the presidency" and that the Republican-run House will not stand by. Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona has already filed a lawsuit contending that Obama acted outside his constitutional authority.

Updates

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In immigration news: Obama to sign executive order, Secure Communities replaced, what's next for immigrants, more

Obama immigration speech

Claude Daley/KPCC

The crowd outside the White House following President Obama's immigration speech Thursday night. Obama's executive order on immigration touches on almost every aspect of the immigration system, from deportation relief for millions to border security and the immigration courts.

Immigration reform: Obama to sign executive order; Republicans won't 'stand idle' - Southern California Public Radio From the story: "President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive in Las Vegas Friday morning to sign his executive order shielding from deportation millions of immigrants who are in the United States without authorization. While the order touches on almost every aspect of the immigration system – from immigration courts, to border security, to background checks — many details of how it will work are still unclear."

7 Questions About The President's Immigration Plan Answered - NPR Answers to questions about President Obama's executive action on immigration, such as "Who is eligible for relief?" From the story: "There are two main groups: Parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents (green card holders) of the U.S. for at least five years. The Migration Policy Institute estimates there are some 3.7 million unauthorized immigrants who meet those criteria.
Also, an expanded group of people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children."

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FAQ: What you need to know about President Obama's executive order on immigration

President Obama Delivers Remarks On Executive Action Immigration Reform

Pool/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: U.S. President Barack Obama announces executive actions on U.S. immigration policy during a nationally televised address from the White House, November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama outlined a plan on Thursday to ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants. (Photo by Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama on Thursday announced he would act to shield from deportation millions of immigrants who are in the United States without authorization. 

Friday’s executive order, detailed in a six-page “fact sheet” provided by the White House Thursday afternoon, touches on almost every aspect of the immigration system. But what does that mean for Southern California — and you? We have some answers.

What's changed for Southern California?

Lots, potentially. It’s estimated that there are close to 1 million immigrants without legal status in Los Angeles County.
 
President Obama’s plan would allow immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to apply for temporary relief from deportation — and work permits — if they have been in the U.S. for more than five years.

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