How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

For kids facing a judge in immigration court, 'a strange experience'

Immigration court sketch 3 b&w

Graham Clark

A judge hears the cases of immigrant teens in Los Angeles.

Immigration court sketch 2

Graham Clark

A teen girl appears in immigration court in Los Angeles.


The first time 17-year-old Yoel faced an immigration judge in the courtroom earlier this year, she was so petrified she could hardly speak.
 
“I felt nervous," said Yoel, a soft-spoken girl who didn't want her last name used because of her status. " They asked me my name, and I wasn’t able to completely say it, because of my nerves.”
 
Terrifying as it might have been, it was not nearly as terrifying as what she left behind last fall in San Pedro Sula, Honduras -- considered the most violent city in the world; a place where gangs are especially powerful.
 
“I was threatened," she said. "I couldn’t go anywhere they because always followed me. When I tried to report them, so they'd be careful around me, they threatened me. They told me that if I reported them, they would kill my entire family.”
 
Yoel says she was targeted because a local gang leader wanted her for himself, by force - regardless of how she felt: "He threatened me, and wanted me to be with him, either the right way or the wrong way. I didn’t want to live like that. I didn’t want to live with a gang member."
 
She fled the home where she lived with her mother and younger siblings for her aunt's home. But members of the gang followed her there one day, forcing her to flee out the back door. It was then that Yoel decided to leave Honduras. She left in the company of a family friend, a man headed north to work who agreed to look after her.
 
They made it to Mexico, and from there it was a harrowing journey north on the train migrants call “La Bestia,” or The Beast. Migrants with no other means of transportation climb atop the train en route to the United States, but some don't make it: Some fall to their death or are maimed, while others are preyed on by criminals.

Read More...

Angelenos press Obama for broad action on immigration

Immigration Worker March - 1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Hundreds turned out for an immigration rally outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown LA, followed by a town hall at La Placita Church.

Immigration worker town hall

Josie Huang/KPCC

At the town hall, Maria Elena Durazo, chief of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, said worker permits and a stop to deportation were among the top priorities.

Immigration worker town hall

Josie Huang/KPCC

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck urged President Obama to do "what's right" as he prepares to announce immigration reforms.

Immigration Worker March - 2

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

An estimated 400 people took part during the march to the Metropolitan Detention Center from La Placita Church.

Immigration Worker March - 4

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Carlos Castillo of Trabajadores Unidos de Washington DC traveled from the East Coast to participate in the march on Wednesd to the detention center.

Immigration Worker March - 5

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Juanita Rivera of Puerto Rico came with her son, an LA resident, to take part during a march on Wednesday, Aug. 27 supporting immigrant worker protections in any administrative relief plan that President Obama announces in the coming weeks. The march led from La Placita Church to Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown LA.

Immigration Worker March - 7

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Hundreds of marchers gather outside La Placita Church in downtown LA before a march on Wednesday, Aug. 27 supporting immigrant worker protections in any administrative relief plan that President Obama announces in the coming weeks.

Immigration Worker March - 8

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Adelina Nicholls of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights travelled from Georgia to take part during a march.

Immigration Worker March - 9

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Rodrigo Ortiz, an employee at the Pomona Day Labor Center, waves at the detention center during the march.

Immigration Worker March - 11

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Marchers chant while looking up at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Immigration Worker March - 10

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Marchers show signs to oncoming traffic on the 101 Freeway during a gathering on Wednesday, Aug. 27 supporting immigrant worker protections in any administrative relief plan that President Obama announces in the coming weeks.

Immigration Worker March - 12

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Diego Cap of CHIRLA takes part during a march.


President Obama is expected to announce new immigration measures in the coming weeks that could affect millions of people in the country illegally.

What he will do is a source of great speculation in immigration circles. But Obama was called on to take bold action during a town hall Wednesday evening in downtown Los Angeles that drew an estimated 600 people, including immigrants, politicians and law enforcement officials. 

Inside La Placita Church, Maria Elena Durazo, chief of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, said immigrants are looking for four things from the president: Work permits. A stop to deportations. Rights for workers.  For police to stop helping federal immigration officials.

"It is our community's priority to obtain administrative relief," Durazo said in Spanish.

Read More...

In immigration news: Mexico to step up enforcement, executive action plans, immigrants and housing, more

Migrants arrive at a rest stop in Ixtepec, Mexico, after a 15-hour ride atop a freight train headed north toward the U.S. border on Aug. 4, 2013. Thousands of migrants ride atop the trains, known as La Bestia, or The Beast, during their long and perilous

John Moore/Getty Images

Migrants arrive at a rest stop in Ixtepec, Mexico, after a 15-hour ride atop a freight train headed north toward the U.S. border on Aug. 4, 2013. Thousands of migrants ride atop the trains, known as "La Bestia" or The Beast, during their long and perilous journey through Mexico to the U.S. The Mexican government is now reportedly planning to increase railway surveillance as a way of deterring Central American migration north.

Mexico To Increase Railroad Surveillance In Hopes Of Deterring Immigrants - Associated Press According to a federal official in Mexico, "the government plans to improve railway surveillance and increase the speed of northbound trains in hopes of deterring Central American migrants from riding on top of freight cars...the measures aim to fight human trafficking, strengthen railway security, and protect migrants who historically have jumped on the trains they call 'The Beast' to get to the U.S.-Mexico border."

Obama pressed to expand deportation program for millions - The Hill As the White House weighs executive action on immigration, advocates argue that President Obama has the authority to halt deportations. From the story: "Legal scholars promoting broad changes to Obama's deportation policy on Tuesday set out what they said was the legal basis for new executive action, including an expansion of DACA to cover thousands — perhaps millions — more illegal immigrants."

Read More...

Emmys 2014: Little diversity among winners

66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Show

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Sofia Vergara, left, and Television Academy CEO Bruce Rosenblum speak on stage at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.

66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Show

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga accepts Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for the 'True Detective' episode 'Who Goes There.'


Breaking Bad and Modern Family were the big winners at the 2014 Emmy Awards.

Women and minorities — not so much.

Things looked promising for Netflix's Orange is the New Black, which led the pack of shows with Emmy nods. But on Monday night, the female-helmed prison dramedy with one of the most diverse casts on TV was shut out of all five major categories for which it had been nominated.

In fact, no performers of color took home a statue Monday, though some of the nominees had been considered top contenders including Angela Bassett (FX's American Horror Story: Coven) and Andre Braugher (Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

Darnell Hunt, who studies the media as director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, said he was not surprised by the lack of diversity among winners.

Read More...

In immigration news: California's Vietnamese immigrants, Peña Nieto talks reform, Emmys 'diversity' flap, more

mita_sho/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Businesses in Westminster, Calif., in a part of Orange County known as Little Saigon. According to a new report, 40 percent of the nearly 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants in the United States live in California, concentrated in Orange, Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties.

40 percent of nation's Vietnamese immigrants call California home - Southern California Public Radio According to a new report, 40 percent of the nearly 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants in the United States reside in California. They are concentrated in Orange, Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties; the population in those three counties alone makes up about a quarter of the total U.S. Vietnamese immigrant population.

Mexican President Calls for Immigration Reform - ABC News During a two-day visit to California, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto talked of a need for the U.S. to reform its immigration system: "We want to be a factor of cohesion, not division, with full respect for the sovereignty of the United States," President Enrique Peña Nieto said Monday. "This, at the end, is about — and only about — a matter of justice for those who contribute so much to the development of the American society."

Read More...