How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Legal groups sue feds to get representation for migrant children

Immigrant Children Fingerprinting

Ross D. Franklin/AP

Boys wait for medical appointments in a holding area where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children were being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, Ariz., June 18, 2014. A group of legal advocacy organizations is suing to get the federal government to provide child and teen migrants with attorneys, arguing that these youths are unable to defend themselves in a deportation hearing.

Legal advocacy groups have filed suit against the federal government on behalf of child migrants, alleging that the government is violating their constitutional due process rights by not providing them with legal counsel during deportation hearings.
The class-action lawsuit was filed in Seattle Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Immigration Council, Public Counsel and other legal groups. Its goal: to get the federal government to provide minors in deportation hearings with attorneys.

In general, neither adults nor children in immigration court have a right to government-provided legal counsel. The complaint argues that this puts minors at special disadvantage.

“Children are in a unique position, uniquely unable to articulate their claims before the court, to face figures of authority in the courtroom, to represent themselves against a trained government attorney," said Kristen Jackson, an attorney with Public Counsel in Los Angeles. "Those unique vulnerabilities require that children have a legal representative in their proceedings.”


California lawmakers tour Ventura County child migrant shelter, call for refugee status

Immigration Overload California

Damian Dovarganes/AP

Immigration activists Amarily Ortiz, left, and Mayra Sixtos, demand the Mexican government to take more measures to protect and respect the rights of unaccompanied minors and families crossing Mexico's territory during a protest outside the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles Thursday, July 3, 2014. The United Nations is now pushing for many of the Central Americans fleeing to the U.S. to be treated as refugees displaced by armed conflict, a designation meant to pressure the U.S. and Mexico to accept tens of thousands currently ineligible for asylum.

As the Central American migrant crisis continues, a group of Latino state lawmakers toured an emergency shelter for unaccompanied minors Tuesday in Ventura County.

Members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus said they were pleased by the conditions they saw at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, where a 600-bed shelter houses unaccompanied minors over age 12. It's one of several emergency shelters set up as the federal government scrambles to come up with housing and resources to deal with the mass migration.

Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara of Los Angeles County was among those on the tour. He said that while the conditions they saw at the shelter were favorable, more needs to be done for children and families fleeing growing violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.


Report: As Asian-American population grows in Orange County, so do needs

Orange County Asian population

Nhat Ton via Flickr

Women march in a Tet festival parade in Orange County. A new report shows Asian-Americans are Orange County's fastest-growing population. But as their numbers grow, so is the percentage of Asian Americans facing economic hardships.

Orange County has the highest proportion of Asian Americans in southern California, with the population at its largest ever: roughly 600,000. But a new report shows that as that population has risen over the last decade, so have the Asian-Americans in need.

The number of unemployed Asian-Americans countywide jumped 123 percent from 2007 to 2011, according to Census numbers. Meanwhile, the number of Asian-Americans living in poverty increased 51 percent.
“Some see our communities as model minorities, yet these data show that the county’s Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have been hurt by the economic crisis and have real needs,” said Mary Anne Foo, executive director of the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, in a statement. The group partnered on the report with Asian-Americans Advancing Justice.


In immigration news: Obama requests emergency funding, LAPD won't comply on ICE detainers, court blocks AZ license order, more

Immigration Overload

Ross D. Franklin/AP

Two female detainees sleep in a holding cell as hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children were being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. President Obama has requested emergency funding to help deal with the mass migration of unaccompanied minors and families arriving at the border from Central America.

Obama Seeks Nearly $4 Billion for Immigration Crisis - New York Times President Obama has requested $3.7 billion in emergency funds to help deal with the mass migration of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S. Mexico border from Central America. The money "would boost spending on border patrol agents, immigration judges, aerial surveillance, and new detention facilities. Nearly half of the money would be used to improve care for the children while they are moved through the deportation process."

LAPD To No Longer Comply With Feds On Immigration Hold Requests - CBS Local Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday that L.A. police will no longer comply with requests from federal immigration agents to hold immigrants for deportation if there is no other cause to detain them. The decision comes in light of a new state law intended to limit deportation holds, along with a recent related court decision in Oregon.


In immigration news: Permisos, a new normal in South Texas, advocates plan next steps

Immigrant Children Fingerprinting

Ross D. Franklin/AP

In this June 18, 2014, file photo, boys wait for medical appointments in a holding area where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children were being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, Ariz.

Deportation data won't dispel rumors drawing migrant minors to U.S. - Los Angeles Times New  statistics released under a Freedom of Information Act show that deportations of minors have plunged during the Obama administration even as the number of children illegally crossing has topped 52,000 since the fall. The number of these immigrants who were deported or turned away at ports of entry dropped from 8,143 in 2008, the last year of George W. Bush’s administration, to 1,669 last year. Advocates point out that gang violence is driving these children out of their home countries, and they are rightfully getting a chance to seek asylum from an immigration judge.

Amid Border Crisis, Advocates Talk Next Steps On Immigration - NBC News Advocates' demands for a stop to deportations are falling on deaf ears now that the federal government is dealing with the tens of thousands of young people flowing to the border. Groups such as the DRM Action Coalition "said the administration has been asking advocates to lower their expectations of what the president will do by executive order." But advocates say they continue to press for a halt to deportations, and maintain that it is still up to House Republicans to pass the comprehensive immigration reform they say is needed to prevent future border crises.