How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: Loretta Lynch, church growth, 'coming out' twice, more

Loretta Lynch has handled or supervised a wide range of cases including New York police brutality against a Haitian immigrant, a $45 million cybertheft involving ATMs and the ongoing fraud prosecution of Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York.

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Loretta Lynch is Pres. Obama's pick for Attorney General.

The GOP plan for Lynch: It's all about immigration - Politico Republican senators and some aides have indicated they would use the confirmation hearings for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch as a way to attack Pres. Obama's plan to use executive action on immigration. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah issued a joint statement saying they would ask Lynch "whether or not she believes the president’s executive amnesty plans are constitutional and legal."  Another senator, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, said he would spurn any nominee who did not "firmly reject" an executive order on immigration.

Under Pressure, Obama Stays the Course on Immigration - TIME Immigration activists are predicting that an executive order from the president could come in December, "after lawmakers reach a spending agreement that would keep the federal government running."  Potentially millions could be protected from deportation under the president's action. According to the story, implementing such a policy change "would take about six months for Administration officials to implement orders that could include work authorization and protections from deportation for three or four million people, along with changes to programs such as Secure Communities, a Department of Homeland Security program introduced under President George W. Bush that dictates how immigration officials enforce the law."


In immigration news: The coming executive action war, another blow for SB 1070, how relatives' status affects Latino health coverage, more


Evan Vucci/AP

As President Obama contemplates taking executive action on immigration, GOP leaders are preparing for a fight. Obama has reiterated that he plans to act solo on immigration reform by the end of the year.

Obama, GOP brace for political war on immigration - USA Today As President Obama contemplates taking executive action on immigration, Republican leaders are preparing for a fight. The GOP gained control of the Senate and won additional seats in the House in last week's election; one GOP representative said Obama acting solo on immigration would "hurt cooperation on every issue." 

What Obama Could Do Through Executive Orders on Immigration - Bloomberg How far could President Obama go with executive action? From the story: "By using an executive order, Obama could direct the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize the deportation of those people it deems a serious threat to the United States, such as drug dealers, violent felons, and gang members. While the order would not legalize anyone who has not committed a serious would effectively mean that the bulk of undocumented immigrants would not face the same scrutiny."


MTA considers major makeover for Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights

Boyle Heights

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The entrance to the Mariachi Plaza Gold Line station.

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A mural along Boyle Avenue, just off Boyle Heights' Mariachi Plaza.

Boyle Heights Google Map

Google Maps

Mariachi plaza is located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles.

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Mariachi Plaza's "kiosko," with the historic Boyle Hotel in the background.

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Some of the small businesses lining Mariachi Plaza; according to MTA officials, plans to develop the plaza would involve razing a structure that houses existing businesses to make way for new retail and medical office development.

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An ice cream shop on Mariachi Plaza sells tejuino, a sweet fermented corn drink.

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A lunchtime customer orders at the Santa Cecilia Restaurant, one of the small businesses lining Mariachi Plaza.

The iconic Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights has already seen its share of changes. Decades ago, there was little more than a hotel and a donut shop. Outside, musicians gathered waiting for work. Five years ago, a Metro Gold Line station opened, bringing foot traffic - and talk of creeping gentrification - as nearby downtown development took off.

Now the plaza could be further transformed, if the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board approves plans for approximately 120,000 square feet of retail and office space surrounding it.

Long-dormant plans by the MTA to develop the plaza - stemming from the days before the real estate bust and recession - were revived late last year. Now they are taking shape, with a proposed site plan unveiled last week.

The MTA’s planning committee recommended earlier this week that the board approve an agreement with a developer to build 70,000 square feet of retail space surrounding the plaza, along with 50,000 square feet of medical offices.


California DMV to offer immigrant drivers multiple ways to prove their identity

California Report

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Students at Orange County's Mexican consulate study the California Driver Handbook. With AB-60, California joins 10 other states in allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses.

Under proposed new rules, immigrants in the country illegally will be offered multiple ways to prove their identity when applying for a driver's license.

The most simple path for applicants is to provide the California Department of Motor Vehicles  with traditional forms of ID. For example, Mexican immigrants need only show a Mexican passport or a Mexican consular card. The DMV says that both can be electronically verified with the Mexican government.

But if applicants are missing those documents, it's not a deal-breaker. They will still be able to apply if they provide multiple documents proving both identification and residency.

Acceptable documents range from birth certificates to marriage licenses and mortgage bills. Officials provided a form listing all of the options to meet the identity and California residency requirements. 


In immigration news: Executive action, 'fugitive operations,' driver's licenses, more

Immigrant Driver's licenses

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Sergio Lopez, a member of the Caolition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, testifies before state officials on a law that allows immigrants without legal status to apply for driver's licenses.

Corker hits fellow Republicans over immigration - Associated Press Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker on Thursday took his own party to task for its stance on immigration. He said some GOP members had launched "political attacks against those trying to overhaul immigration laws," according to the story.  Corker spoke in Columbia, S.C.: "I just hope that we don’t let demagogues prevail, and that we finally deal with this issue and put it behind us." Like other Republicans such as House Speaker Boehner, Corker was highly critical, however, of President Obama taking executive action on immigration.

Immigrants eager for presidential action on deportations - Boston Globe Immigrants like Moises Herrera, an immigrant from El Salvador, live under the constant threat of deportation. From the story: "The minivan-driving father from El Salvador has no criminal record, but for years he has cycled in and out of detention for civil immigration violations, including last month, when he was in Suffolk County jail instead of the delivery room where his son was born." But Herrera's hopeful that his life will change if the president issues an executive order.