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U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he delivers his State of the Union address on Jan. 24, 2012. This week, Obama defended his immigration record during a Washington, D.C. town hall meeting after a prominent immigrant advocate referred to him as "deporter-in-chief."
Obama: ‘I’m the champion-in-chief’ on immigration reform - Washington Post In a town hall meeting with Latinos on Thursday, President Obama pushed back against immigrant advocates who recently called him "deporter-in-chief." Obama defended his immigration record: "Since I ran for president, I've pushed for comprehensive immigration reform, and I will continue to push," Obama said. "I am the champion-in-chief of comprehensive immigration reform. But until Congress passes new laws, I am constrained in what I am able to do."
Florida Supreme Court: Immigrants in the U.S. illegally cannot be lawyers in Florida - Orlando Sentinel The Florida Supreme Court has decided that it will not allow law school graduates who are in the U.S. illegal to practice law. From the story: "Last year, the court ruled that a specific immigrant and Florida State University law school graduate, Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio, a citizen of Mexico who had passed Florida's Bar examination, could not be admitted but put off the larger issue." The decision bars others like him from admission.
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A demonstrator hits a pot in protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in San Antonio, in the border state of Tachira, Venezuela, on February 25, 2014.
One year ago this week, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez died after battling cancer. His successor, former vice-president Nicolas Maduro, was democratically elected in April by a narrow margin. The new president inherited a long list of problems: an unraveling economy, rampant crime, inflation, and decreasing living standards.
In recent weeks, protesters have been voicing their grievances in the streets. The protests have grown violent as authorities have cracked down. So far, a reported 18 people have died in confrontations.
In the U.S., many of the Venezuelan immigrants who have long opposed their native country's government are reacting and speaking out.
"We were fed up with this government because of all the things, the situation piling up," said Flor Trocones, a Brentwood visual artist who came here from Venezuela 28 years ago. "The violent crimes, the scarcity, the lack of justice with all the things that are happening, the violation of human rights every day. We just got to a point that, no more."
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As California officials work on rolling out driver's licenses for unauthorized immigrants next year, some immigrants remain skeptical about revealing their personal information in order to apply. The new licenses are to look slightly different from standard ones, further fueling mistrust.
Dems expected to move forward with discharge petition on immigration - Washington Post House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a radio interview Tuesday that "a decision will be made in the next few days about whether to forge ahead with a discharge petition designed to force a House vote on immigration reform." But the tactic may not work, as it would still require several Republicans to sign on in order to force a House vote on a reform bill.
California Driver’s License Program Hits an Unexpected Hurdle - New York Times A recent community forum in Bell, Calif. brought to light one big obstacle as California officials work on rolling out driver's licenses for unauthorized immigrants next year: mistrust of the government. Some immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally fear that if they apply for licenses and reveal their personal information, it could someday be used against them.
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President Obama's proposed 2015 budget includes a proposal to ensure that unauthorized immigrants don't improperly obtain Medicare benefits, which they are generally barred from.
Crackdown Proposed to Prevent Illegal Immigrants From Obtaining Medicare - New York Times President Obama's proposed 2015 budget includes a proposal "to remove illegal immigrants from the Medicare rolls and explicitly require citizenship or lawful presence in the United States as a condition of getting Medicare." The step comes after a discovery "tens of thousands were improperly receiving benefits," although a 1996 law generally bars unauthorized immigrants from doing so.
Diversity at the Oscars: Is Hollywood coming around? - Southern California Public Radio Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony included several firsts, including the first Best Director award won by a Mexican and the first Best Picture winner with a director of African descent. The Academy has long been criticized for overlooking artists of color. Some critics are cautiously optimistic that the tide may be turning.
In the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Los Angeles, Mary Billey sang Catholic hymns with dozens of other immigrants in their native Ukrainian tongue.
The start of Lent was just days away, but worry over relatives in Ukraine had followed her to the place where she seeks solace.
"I am scared and angry, I’m all of that," said Billey, a 79-year-old grandmother who emigrated to the US as a young girl. "You get emotional because you don’t forget where you were born."
Ukrainian immigrants in southern California have nervously watched as political protests in Kiev that began in November resulted in the ouster of Ukraine's president more than a week ago. Russian president Vladimir Putin added spark to the situation on Saturday, ordering troops into the pro-Russian Crimean Peninsula to protect Russian interests in the region.