How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: Fewer immigrants, ICE Kern County courthouse arrests, relatively few crossing border in California, more

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Fewer immigrants came to U.S. last year - Wall Street Journal An analysis of census data finds that fewer people arrived in the U.S. as immigrants between July 2012 and July 2013 than they did during this period a year earlier. Until now there had been a slow increase since 2009; the data points to a slow recovery from the Great Recession, with limited job opportunities not drawing as many newcomers, especially among the lower-skilled.

Immigration agents stop roundups at Kern County courthouses - Los Angeles Times Following a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union, immigration officials plan to refrain from making immigrant arrests at Bakersfield-area courthouses. From the story: "In an October letter to ICE, the ACLU described the case of Hector Esquivel Chavez, who showed up at a Bakersfield courthouse in September to pay a ticket for driving without a license. After producing a Mexican consular document to an ICE agent as identification, Esquivel Chavez, 19, was arrested and deported." This and other incidents had created a "culture of fear," the ACLU letter read.

California Border Patrol apprehensions fall to historic lows - Sacramento Bee From the story: "Twenty years ago, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended an average of 1,600 people a day crossing illegally into California. Last year, they apprehended about 125 a day -- a decline of more than 90 percent, new federal statistics show." Border human smuggling traffic has shifted away from California since the 1990s, moving to Arizona and more recently to Texas. A chart illustrates the steep drop.

Immigration back on GOP agenda - Politico Sources close to House GOP leadership reportedly "expect votes on four bills by the end of the summer, including one that would give undocumented workers legal status." But these bill are not likely to offer a path to U.S. citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, as did last year's Senate immigration proposal.

Undocumented immigrants to attend State of the Union - USA Today As they did last year, a small number of immigrants without legal status will be in attendance when President Obama makes his State of the Union address next week.  Obama is expected to press House Republicans to act on an immigration overhaul.

Latino groups to launch massive voter registration - Associated Press From the story: "National Council of La Raza and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund on Thursday launched a new campaign to register more than 250,000 voters. Traditionally voter registration drives get going in the spring and summer before the election. By starting in January, the groups hope to top their 2012 campaign of more than 180,000 registered voters."

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