How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Report: More kids 12 and under arriving at US-Mexico border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A poster that is part of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection information campaign targeted at countries where a lot of minors traveling to the U.S. originate. It translates to: “I thought it would be easy for my son to get his papers in the North. That wasn’t true.” According to a new analysis of government data, the share of children 12 and younger making the journey has increased.

The share of young children children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on their own has gone up, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center.

A tally of government data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act shows that more kids 12 and under are being apprehended as unaccompanied minors - many of them fleeing violence in Central America - continue to make the journey to the United States.

In fiscal year 2013, which ended last Sept. 30, nine percent of unaccompanied child migrants were 12 and younger; since last October through the end of May, 16 percent were 12 and younger. From the report:

The new data show a 117% increase in the number of unaccompanied children ages 12 and younger caught at the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year compared with last fiscal year. By comparison, the number of apprehensions of unaccompanied teenagers ages 13-17 has increased by only 12% over the same time period.


Former 'comfort women' tour SoCal, call attention to WW II sex slavery

Comfort women in LA

Josie Huang/KPCC

Ok-Seon Lee (l.) and Il-Chul Kang (r.) are touring the U.S. calling attention to the plight of former sex slaves during World War II known as 'comfort women.' Their first stop was in L.A. to file declarations of support for a monument to comfort women in Glendale.

Comfort women in LA

Josie Huang/KPCC

Phyllis Kim is the executive director of the Korean American Forum of California, and will be accompanying the two former 'comfort women' on their U.S. tour.

Comfort women in LA

Josie Huang/KPCC

Ok-Seon Lee, 87, is one of 54 surviving 'comfort women' in Korea, according to the Korean-American Forum of California.

A lawsuit to remove a monument to World War II sex slaves in Glendale took on a new twist this week when two former ‘comfort women’ visiting the U.S. offered declarations of support in the federal court case. 

Both Il-Chul Kang and Ok-Seon Lee recount how as teens, they were abducted by Japanese soldiers to work as sex slaves. Now they’re in their late 80s, sloped in shoulder and slow-moving.

Outside federal court in downtown L.A., Kang said despite their condition, it was important they come to the US to show their appreciation for the Glendale monument, and others like it.  

"Thank you for erecting the peace monument and thank you for trying to protect the peace monument," Kang told a group of reporters, mostly from Korean-language news outlets.

About a year ago, Glendale worked with local non-profit, Korean American Forum of California to install a bronze statue of a young comfort woman in a public park, becoming the first city on the West Coast to do so.  In February, a group of conservative older Japanese-Americans who challenge the internationally-accepted history about comfort women sued the city, demanding the statue’s removal. 


In immigration news: Illegal immigration still low, human smugglers laundering money, Latinos still feeling recession, more



The fence along the U.S.-Mexico border between the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro ports of entry in and near San Diego, California, across from Tijuana, Mexico. In spite of the recent crush of Central American minors and families arriving at the border, illegal immigration overall is still low compared with the all-time high seen in 2000.

Despite Crush of Children, Illegal Immigration Low - Associated Press A reality check as Central American minors and families arrive at the border: "In the last budget year, Border Patrol agents arrested about 420,000 people, most of them along the Mexican border. That followed a three-year trend of near record low numbers of apprehensions...The number of people being arrested at the border remains dramatically lower than the all-time high of more than 1.6 million people in 2000."

U.S. investigators focus on money laundering linked to border crisis - Los Angeles Times From the story: "Agents from the Department of Homeland Security and the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, are targeting suspicious patterns of deposits and withdrawals through 'funnel accounts' held at U.S. banks, according to two federal law enforcement officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the topic. Human-smuggling rings are using such bank transactions to fund their activities, officials said."


Banc of California expansion opposed by advocates for minorities, low-income

Banc of California

David Valenzeula via Flickr Creative Commons

Irvine-based Banc of California's bid to acquire 20 branches from Banco Popular is facing opposition from advocates for low-income and minority communities.

Irvine-based Banc of California is making a bid to become one of the region’s largest homegrown banks, but advocates representing minorities and low-income communities are doing what they can to stop those plans. 

Groups led by the California Reinvestment Coalition are asking federal regulators to deny Banc of California’s application to acquire 20 Popular Community Bank branches from Puerto Rico-based Banco Popular.

Banco Popular is getting out of the California market after years of catering to Latino and Asian clienteles in cities such as L.A., Montebello and Garden Grove. Consumer advocates are worried Banc of California will not properly serve the less affluent clients it will inherit, some of whom are immigrants who had never banked before they opened accounts at Popular Community Bank.


Poll: Recession may be over, but not for Latino families

money dollars bills change coins

Photo by Bill Dickinson via Flickr Creative Commons

A new poll points to how in spite of the economic recovery, many Latino families aren’t confident about regaining their own economic footing.

A new poll points to how in spite of the economic recovery, many Latino families aren’t confident about regaining their own economic footing.

The poll was released Monday by the National Council of La Raza, which is holding its annual conference this week in downtown Los Angeles. The study, conducted by NCLR and the Latino Decisions polling firm, took in the attitudes of 500 Latino registered voters.
More than half of those surveyed earlier this month said they are anxious about someone in their household losing a job; half said that during the past year, they feared not having enough to pay basic monthly bills. And in spite of the housing recovery, a third said they still worry about losing their homes to foreclosure.
“Only 37 percent of Latinos, barely over one third, say their financial situation has gotten better," said pollster Matt Barretto of Latino Decisions. "In fact, 25 percent, a quarter of Latinos, say things have actually gotten worse."
Another 37 percent surveyed said their financial picture has remained static since the downturn.
Latinos and African American families were disproportionately hit during the housing crisis and ensuing recession, as many fell victim to predatory lending that cost them their homes. Several studies have shown a growing wealth gap between these Americans and non-Latino whites that has only widened since the recession began.
Yet many of the Latinos surveyed said they still hope to achieve what they see as the "American Dream." For 53 percent, the key to this is owning a home; 61 percent surveyed said it means owning a business. Almost all said a key component is creating opportunities for one's children.