How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: New immigrant detention center, first Sikh American Rose Parade float, 'el DMV,' more

ICE Holds Immigrants At Adelanto Detention Facility

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A guard sits in the 'segregation block' at the Adelanto Detention Facility on November 15, 2013 in Adelanto, California. A larger facility intended to house family units has now opened in Dilley, Texas, drawing criticism from immigrant advocates.

'Unjust': Rights groups slam spread of facilities for immigrant families - CNN Immigrant rights groups are criticizing the opening of what's being called the largest immigrant detention facility in the country in Dilley, Texas. The new privately run, 2,400-bed facility is intended to "house the surge of 'family units,' or women and children who say they fled extreme violence in their native Central American countries to seek asylum in the United States."

Ariz. sheriff aims to halt Obama immigration order in courtroom battle - CBS News On the lawsuit filed by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which aims to stop President Obama's recent executive immigration order. The lawsuit claims that "the president violated the Constitution by doing an end-run around Congress and say drastic changes in immigration programs should be stopped."

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Sikh Americans tell their story with first-ever Rose Parade float

Sikh float

Susanica Tam

Amarjit Singh visits the first SIkh American float to be featured in the Rose Parade.

Sikh float

Susanica Tam

Workers from the Phoenix Design Company build the Sikh float for the 2015 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

Sikh float

Susanica Tam

The float design includes giant peaches to honor the largest peach grower in the U.S. — Didar Bains, known as the "peach king of California.”

Sikh float

Susanica Tam

Work crews finishing electrical wiring for the Sikh American float at a warehouse occupied by the Phoenix Decorating Co.

Sikh float

Susanica Tam

A worker paints the float centerpiece — a replica of the country's oldest Sikh temple, established in 1912 in Stockton, Calif.

Sikh float

Susanica Tam

Southern California businessmen Bhajneet Singh (left) and Rashpal Singh (right) are members of the United Sikh Mission, the float's sponsor.

Sikh float

Susanica Tam

Members of the United Sikh Mission meet with Brian Dancel, who works in communications for the Phoenix Decorating Co.


A couple weeks before the Rose Parade, its first Sikh-themed float was still very much under construction in a Pasadena warehouse. Rashpal Dhindsa's humanitarian group, the United Sikh Mission, is sponsoring the float and if he was nervous, it wasn't showing.

"It’s pretty good," Dhindsa said, as workers scaled the float with torches and drills. "Looks nice."

The Fontana businessman has been a fan of the Rose Parade since he moved from India in the late 80's. When he failed to get a float into the event last year — there are only 40 or so spots — he applied again this year, confident that the hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in the U.S. would benefit from representation in a New Year ritual watched by tens of millions worldwide. 

"Very few people know who we are," said Dhindsa, who owns a trucking company. "We love this country. And all of us work hard to make this country strong."

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Demand for more than tamales feeds bakeries' seasonal surge

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Fidela Salgado prepares an order of tamales at Panaderia Delicia in Highland Park. The bakery sells plenty of those over the holidays, but they sell out of their Christmas cookies.

The holiday rush for tamales at Los Angeles' Mexican bakeries is a well-known fact of life, as is the annual abundance of local holiday tamales stories

But there's more keeping these bakeries busy this time of year. What else are they selling out of?

“The champurrado," said Cristina Benavides of the Sonora Bakery in East L.A about the warm Mexican drink. "That is the one we sell out on. We do that only for the winter, and it sells out.”

As the days grow colder, the thick, hot, chocolatey drink draws customers in the door at this and and other local bakeries. Some, like Panaderia Delicia in Highland Park, specialize in other holiday treats. They've been taking orders for tamales, of course, but they're also taking orders for their second-most-popular item: Galletas navidenas, Christmas cookies.

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In immigration news: Migration and US demographic shifts, executive action poll, foreign-born residents in the Inland Empire, more

Mercer 2213

itsjames460/Flickr CC

A Metrolink passenger train car arrives at the downtown Riverside station. A recent analysis of census data shows that more than 41 percent of the population growth in Riverside County, and more than 53 percent of the population growth in San Bernardino County, in the last two decades has been due to an increase in foreign-born adult residents.

Immigration Is Driving Broad Demographic Shifts In U.S., Report Says - NPR A report from the Pew Charitable Trusts examines population trends, as migration to the U.S. is expected to become the main driver of population growth between 2027 and 2038. This includes shifts among states. From the report: "The percentage of immigrants in the 'gateways' of California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas, has decreased, while as a percentage of the population, they have increased in other states, including Nevada, North Carolina and Washington."

People like Obama’s immigration action. They also think he shouldn’t have done it. - Washington Post A new Washington Post-ABC News poll has 52 percent of Americans supporting President Obama's recent executive action on immigration, and 44 percent opposed. It's different from other polls, which have shows more people in opposition. From the story: "The reason? The policy is explained, in detail. The politics, though, are a different question -- both in the poll and in reality."

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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, chief of investigations at 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."

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