How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: Record deportations, Mexico assists DACA applicants, Banksy immigration mural, more

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Honduran migrants deported from the United States walk on the tarmac after being repatriated in August, 2011. Newly released numbers from Homeland Security show that Obama administration deported 438,421 immigrants in fiscal year 2013, which ended Sept. 30.

U.S. deportations of immigrants reach record high in 2013 - Pew Research Center Newly released numbers from Homeland Security show that Obama administration deported 438,421 immigrants in fiscal year 2013, which ended Sept. 30. That's more than in any previous year of the administration, resulting in more than 2 million removals since Obama took office. There was an increase in the number of non-criminals removed, and in the number of people quickly removed after being apprehended at the border.

Mexico Pays To Help Its Citizens Avoid Deportation From The U.S. - NPR The steep cost of applying for temporary legal status through deferred action has stopped some young people from applying. But "Mexican consulates around the U.S. have been paying those fees for some applicants through a little-known program for Mexican citizens with financial need."

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Hong Kong protesters get Los Angeles support

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Hong Kong Forum Los Angeles organizer Donald Choy takes part during a vigil on Wednesday night, Oct. 1 at Grand Park in support of pro-democracy demonstrations happening in Hong Kong.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Hong Kong Forum Los Angeles organizer Donald Choy helps roll out a banner before a vigil on Wednesday night, Oct. 1 at Grand Park in support of pro-democracy demonstrations happening in Hong Kong.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

USC freshman James Tseng, 18, left, and junior Terrence Leung, 20, sing a song at the conclusion of a vigil on Wednesday night, Oct. 1 at Grand Park in support of pro-democracy demonstrations happening in Hong Kong. Both Tseng and Leung are from Hong Kong and spoke to attendees about how important it is to support their friends back home.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Attendees open umbrellas as a symbolic gesture during a vigil on Wednesday night, Oct. 1 at Grand Park in support of pro-democracy demonstrations happening in Hong Kong.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Kingson Man of Los Angeles takes part during a vigil on Wednesday night, Oct. 1 at Grand Park in support of pro-democracy demonstrations happening in Hong Kong. Man has family still in Hong Kong.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Alan Wan of San Gabriel takes part in a chant during a vigil on Wednesday night, Oct. 1 at Grand Park in support of pro-democracy demonstrations happening in Hong Kong.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Hong Kong Forum Los Angeles organizer Albert Choy speaks to attendees before a vigil on Wednesday night, Oct. 1 at Grand Park in support of pro-democracy demonstrations happening in Hong Kong.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Jim Lau of West Los Angeles takes part during a vigil on Wednesday night, Oct. 1 at Grand Park in support of pro-democracy demonstrations happening in Hong Kong.


About 500 Hong Kong natives met in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday night to show solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in their home city. And, as in Hong Kong, the demonstration in Grand Park drew many young faces.

With L.A. City Hall gleaming in the background, student after student took turns with the megaphone, some speaking in Cantonese, some in English.

"Call your friends back in Hong Kong," said USC student Terrence Leung, 20. "Tell them no matter how long this takes, we have to stand firm, and we have to fight on."

Other demonstrators came in from UCLA, Occidental College, Pasadena City College and Pepperdine University. 

"I felt kind of powerless sitting behind my screen," said Nicole Pun, a recent CalArts graduate whose immediately family is in Hong Kong. "Even though we're just chanting slogans, at the same time, we are united here letting Hong Kong people know we care."

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Federal grants help LA's child migrants navigate the legal system

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YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

A child remains near to the railroad as the train known as "La Bestia," or The Beast, goes by in Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico. As more recently arrived child migrants from Central America navigate the crowded U.S. immigration court system, the federal government is kicking in money to help provide them with legal representation.

Recently arrived child migrants in Los Angeles will be among those who benefit from legal help paid for by grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The agency, which is charged with sheltering child migrants and reuniting them with family in the United States, has announced two grants totaling roughly $4.2 million, earmarked for children’s legal counsel in the coming year. HHS officials have proposed spending $9 million over the next two years to help cover legal representation for some 2,600 unaccompanied migrant children.

The grants were awarded to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Those organizations will choose the providers in selected U.S. cities, including Los Angeles.

One local legal provider, the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project in Los Angeles, has already learned it will receive grant funds.  That extra money will allow it to double its legal staff and take on more cases, said program director Caitlin Sanderson.

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In immigration news: Child migrants without legal counsel, Arizona driver's license appeal, Asian American GOP group, more

Immigration court sketch 2

Graham Clark

A sketch of a teenage girl from Guatemala appearing in immigration court in Los Angeles recently. Many recently arrived child migrants having their cases heard in immigration court have no attorney; state and federal initiatives plan funds for more access.

As Child Immigrants Await Fate, a Race for Counsel - Wall Street Journal On how many child migrants now having their cases heard in immigration court have no attorney, with pro-bono legal providers stretched thin. From the story: "Just under half of the children appearing before the New York City Immigration Court have no attorney, according to The Legal Aid Society...Advocates said the caseloads are overwhelming, sometimes exceeding 60 children per attorney." In California, a measure that would provide some funding for counsel was just signed into law.

U.S. government to help pay migrant kids' legal bills - USA Today The federal Department of Health and Human Services, charged with housing and reuniting child migrants with family members in the U.S., has announced that it plans to spend $9 million over the coming two years to provide about 2,600 of these children and teens with legal counsel. The funds will "help support programs that provide legal services to children caught crossing the border illegally and who are applying for asylum or other forms of protection from deportation."

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In immigration news: Arizona policies in court, Obamacare coverage, driver's licenses

A U.S. Border Patrol Agent in September 2011, along the Mexico-Arizona border.

Joshua Lott/Reuters /Landov

The Obama administration is to weigh in on two Arizona immigration policies in the court system.

Obama Administration Faces Immigration Deadline - Associated Press  The Obama administration is expected to ask the courts to throw out two Arizona state policies addressing illegal immigration. One policy denies driver's licenses to immigrants who have gotten deportation deferrals through an Obama program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The other measure is the state's law on smuggling immigrants.

HHS is kicking immigrants off Obamacare coverage without fair warning, complaints allege - Washington Post (blog) New federal complaints say many of the immigrants who are poised to lose ObamaCare coverage on Tuesday hadn't received proper warning.  Immigrant rights' advocates say that notices from the Department of Health and Human Services asking for documentation that enrollees were legally in the US were only distributed in English and Spanish, leaving out a large segment of immigrants who speak other languages.

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