How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Angelenos press Obama for broad action on immigration

Immigration Worker March - 1

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Hundreds turned out for an immigration rally outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown LA, followed by a town hall at La Placita Church.

Immigration worker town hall

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At the town hall, Maria Elena Durazo, chief of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, said worker permits and a stop to deportation were among the top priorities.

Immigration worker town hall

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LAPD Chief Charlie Beck urged President Obama to do "what's right" as he prepares to announce immigration reforms.

Immigration Worker March - 2

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An estimated 400 people took part during the march to the Metropolitan Detention Center from La Placita Church.

Immigration Worker March - 4

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Carlos Castillo of Trabajadores Unidos de Washington DC traveled from the East Coast to participate in the march on Wednesd to the detention center.

Immigration Worker March - 5

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Juanita Rivera of Puerto Rico came with her son, an LA resident, to take part during a march on Wednesday, Aug. 27 supporting immigrant worker protections in any administrative relief plan that President Obama announces in the coming weeks. The march led from La Placita Church to Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown LA.

Immigration Worker March - 7

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Hundreds of marchers gather outside La Placita Church in downtown LA before a march on Wednesday, Aug. 27 supporting immigrant worker protections in any administrative relief plan that President Obama announces in the coming weeks.

Immigration Worker March - 8

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Adelina Nicholls of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights travelled from Georgia to take part during a march.

Immigration Worker March - 9

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Rodrigo Ortiz, an employee at the Pomona Day Labor Center, waves at the detention center during the march.

Immigration Worker March - 11

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Marchers chant while looking up at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Immigration Worker March - 10

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Marchers show signs to oncoming traffic on the 101 Freeway during a gathering on Wednesday, Aug. 27 supporting immigrant worker protections in any administrative relief plan that President Obama announces in the coming weeks.

Immigration Worker March - 12

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Diego Cap of CHIRLA takes part during a march.


President Obama is expected to announce new immigration measures in the coming weeks that could affect millions of people in the country illegally.

What he will do is a source of great speculation in immigration circles. But Obama was called on to take bold action during a town hall Wednesday evening in downtown Los Angeles that drew an estimated 600 people, including immigrants, politicians and law enforcement officials. 

Inside La Placita Church, Maria Elena Durazo, chief of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, said immigrants are looking for four things from the president: Work permits. A stop to deportations. Rights for workers.  For police to stop helping federal immigration officials.

"It is our community's priority to obtain administrative relief," Durazo said in Spanish.

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In immigration news: Mexico to step up enforcement, executive action plans, immigrants and housing, more

Migrants arrive at a rest stop in Ixtepec, Mexico, after a 15-hour ride atop a freight train headed north toward the U.S. border on Aug. 4, 2013. Thousands of migrants ride atop the trains, known as La Bestia, or The Beast, during their long and perilous

John Moore/Getty Images

Migrants arrive at a rest stop in Ixtepec, Mexico, after a 15-hour ride atop a freight train headed north toward the U.S. border on Aug. 4, 2013. Thousands of migrants ride atop the trains, known as "La Bestia" or The Beast, during their long and perilous journey through Mexico to the U.S. The Mexican government is now reportedly planning to increase railway surveillance as a way of deterring Central American migration north.

Mexico To Increase Railroad Surveillance In Hopes Of Deterring Immigrants - Associated Press According to a federal official in Mexico, "the government plans to improve railway surveillance and increase the speed of northbound trains in hopes of deterring Central American migrants from riding on top of freight cars...the measures aim to fight human trafficking, strengthen railway security, and protect migrants who historically have jumped on the trains they call 'The Beast' to get to the U.S.-Mexico border."

Obama pressed to expand deportation program for millions - The Hill As the White House weighs executive action on immigration, advocates argue that President Obama has the authority to halt deportations. From the story: "Legal scholars promoting broad changes to Obama's deportation policy on Tuesday set out what they said was the legal basis for new executive action, including an expansion of DACA to cover thousands — perhaps millions — more illegal immigrants."

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Emmys 2014: Little diversity among winners

66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Show

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Sofia Vergara, left, and Television Academy CEO Bruce Rosenblum speak on stage at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.

66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Show

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga accepts Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for the 'True Detective' episode 'Who Goes There.'


Breaking Bad and Modern Family were the big winners at the 2014 Emmy Awards.

Women and minorities — not so much.

Things looked promising for Netflix's Orange is the New Black, which led the pack of shows with Emmy nods. But on Monday night, the female-helmed prison dramedy with one of the most diverse casts on TV was shut out of all five major categories for which it had been nominated.

In fact, no performers of color took home a statue Monday, though some of the nominees had been considered top contenders including Angela Bassett (FX's American Horror Story: Coven) and Andre Braugher (Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

Darnell Hunt, who studies the media as director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, said he was not surprised by the lack of diversity among winners.

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In immigration news: California's Vietnamese immigrants, Peña Nieto talks reform, Emmys 'diversity' flap, more

mita_sho/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Businesses in Westminster, Calif., in a part of Orange County known as Little Saigon. According to a new report, 40 percent of the nearly 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants in the United States live in California, concentrated in Orange, Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties.

40 percent of nation's Vietnamese immigrants call California home - Southern California Public Radio According to a new report, 40 percent of the nearly 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants in the United States reside in California. They are concentrated in Orange, Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties; the population in those three counties alone makes up about a quarter of the total U.S. Vietnamese immigrant population.

Mexican President Calls for Immigration Reform - ABC News During a two-day visit to California, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto talked of a need for the U.S. to reform its immigration system: "We want to be a factor of cohesion, not division, with full respect for the sovereignty of the United States," President Enrique Peña Nieto said Monday. "This, at the end, is about — and only about — a matter of justice for those who contribute so much to the development of the American society."

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40 percent of nation's Vietnamese immigrants call California home

Top Metropolitan Area Destinations for Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States, 2008-12

MPI tabulation of data from U.S. Census Bureau pooled 2008-12 ACS.

Top Metropolitan Area Destinations for Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States, 2008-12

Forty percent of the country's nearly 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants reside in California, concentrated in Orange, Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties, according to a report published Monday by the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute.

The immigrants in those three counties alone make up about a quarter of the Vietnamese population for the entire country.

"That geographic concentration is really fascinating," said Jeanne Batalova, a senior policy analyst at the institute. 

Batalova said immigrants' high numbers in California are largely due to secondary migration. When Vietnamese started to arriving in the U.S. in large numbers in the mid-1970s after the end of the Vietnam War, refugee resettlement agencies placed them across the United States.

But, "with time, as social networks and family connections formed in the community, a lot of Vietnamese refugees migrated to a few parts within the United States," Batalova said.

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