How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: White House talks with biz leaders, border militias, ag labor shortages, more

Work Visa Immigration Paperwork File

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A stack of work visas await processing. White House officials are reportedly in talks with business leaders that could affect what kind of executive action President Obama takes on immigration, as is expected in the coming weeks.

Exclusive: White House meets with big biz on immigration - Politico White House officials are reportedly in talks with business leaders that "could expand the executive actions President Barack Obama takes on immigration...Representatives for high-tech, agriculture and construction interests have put forward a range of fixes, from recapturing unused green cards to tweaking existing work authorization programs."

Militias Complicate Situation on Texas Border - ABC News The presence of civilian militias on the busy South Texas border is complicating enforcement efforts, border officials say. From the story: "'How do they identify themselves? Do they have badges? How do we know who they are?' asked J.P. Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office. 'If they're all just dressed in camos, it's kind of hard to distinguish whether they're law enforcement or not... There's a lot of potential for stuff to go wrong.' "


In immigration news: Two years of DACA, 'suspect' border shootings, detained child a US citizen, more

Young people wait in line to enter the o


Young immigrants line on up August 15, 2012 outside the office of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. In the two years since, more than 560,000 young people have obtained temporary legal status and work permits via the federal program.

2 years after the start of DACA, haves and have-nots - Southern California Public Radio The federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals kicked off two years ago today, providing more than 560,000 young immigrants so far with temporary legal status and work permits. But among the 10 million immigrants that the program doesn't cover are young people who narrowly missed eligibility. Since 2012, their lives have taken different paths.

Immigration rights groups pressure Dems to stick with Obama - Politico In a letter, a coalition of immigrant rights groups has warned Senate Democrats "not to back away from demands that President Barack Obama act on immigration before the midterm elections. The letter is a response to growing concern among the groups that the Senate leadership will pressure the administration to hold off on taking some of the boldest action until after November." Some Democrats have expressed concern about executive action on immigration affecting their reelection chances.


2 years after the start of DACA, haves and have-nots

DACA Ivan Ceja - 1

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Ivan Ceja, 22, first received approval for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in October 2012. Now, Ceja has a job working for George McKenna's campaign for school board.

DACA Ivan Ceja - 2

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Ivan Ceja irons a dress shirt before work on Thursday, Aug. 7. Now that he has a social security number, Ceja was able to get a driver's license and credit card. "It's something concrete that's always going to be there for me," Ceja said of his social security number.

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Ceja prepares to apply to jobs on Thursday, Aug. 7 in his family's home in Compton. In addition to working on campaigns, Ivan Ceja is studying electrical engineering at Long Beach City College.

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Ivan Ceja is engaged and they hope to get married next year. If DACA is renewed, Ceja hopes to continue working for campaigns and would eventually like to start his own small business.

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Ivan Ceja, 22, watches an episode of "House of Cards" before going to work as an office manager, field coordinator and data manager for George McKenna's campaign for school board.

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Ceja finishes a bowl of cereal before work on Thursday, Aug. 7. Ivan Ceja lives at home with his parents. With his new campaigning job, he is able to help with bills and rent.

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Ceja has two brothers. This fall, he plans to help pay for his little brother's tuition at Long Beach City College.

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If Ivan Ceja hadn't been approved for DACA, "I'd probably still be protesting out in the streets with friends and other organizers I met," he said. "I've realized my role in this moving forward, I want to be a resource."

DACA Ivan Ceja - 9

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Ivan Ceja no longer has to take the bus to get to work and school. If he continues to have a stable income, he hopes to buy a new car soon.

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Ceja prepares cell phones for volunteer callers on Friday, Aug. 1 at George McKenna's campaign headquarters. Ivan Ceja previously worked at Subway, but it didn't provide the work experience he wanted.

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Ceja says that if he didn't receive approval for DACA, he imagines he would probably be doing construction with his dad. "It's really hard for me to say because there weren't any opportunities prior," he said.

DACA Josue Ruiz - 6

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Josue Ruiz hopes to study engineering in college, or anything that has to do with math and science.

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With the help of the Central American Resource Center, Ruiz plans to re-apply for DACA with the necessary paperwork.

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A childhood photo of Josue Ruiz sits in the Ruiz family home. The sixteen-year-old will start his junior year this August at Torres High School in Boyle Heights.

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Brother Jaime, 12, left, father Alejandro and mother Flor Ruiz spend time together in their Boyle Heights home. August 15 marks the two-year anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

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Josue studies for his upcoming advanced placement world history class. His favorite subject is math.

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The Ruiz family home in Boyle Heights.

In a crisp white shirt and tie, Ivan Ceja looks every bit the political operative. One afternoon in early August, he fielded calls at the campaign office of George McKenna, who won a seat this week on the L.A. School Board.

Ivan worked as an office manager and field coordinator for the campaign. It's the second political job he's held so far since he obtained temporary legal status and a work permit almost two years ago, through a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

“If I hadn’t had DACA, I’d probably still be protesting in the streets, with a lot of my friends and organizers that I met," said Ceja, 22. "I wouldn’t be working here, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t have my license, so I would probably still be taking the bus. I’d probably still be working construction and, uh, being creative. I don’t know, it’s really hard for me to say.”


In immigration news: Latinos and immigration fears, migrant kids starting school in US, executive action worries, more

Central Americans Undertake Grueling Journey Through Mexico To U.S.

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U.S.-bound Central American immigrants ride north on top of a freight train on August 6, 2013 near Juchitan, Mexico. A new academic study suggests that where immigrants come from plays a role in public anxiety over immigration.

The data on white anxiety over Hispanic immigration - Washington Post An academic study suggests that public anxiety driven by immigration news doesn't just concern the rule of law. From the story: "When immigrants are Hispanic, white Americans worry a lot more...Unsurprisingly, those who read a negatively-toned immigration story expressed less support for immigration. But the impact of seeing a negative story featuring a Mexican immigrant was double the size of a negative story about the Russian Immigrant."

Democrats to White House: Immigration's your call - Politico As President Obama weighs taking executive action on immigration, some Senate Democrats have concerns about the political fallout. From the story: "...there’s palpable fear that Obama could cause trouble for the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats if he decides to circumvent Congress before the elections to make immigration changes through executive action. Such a move could complicate the reelection bids of Democrats in red states like Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana and Alaska."


In immigration news: A fatal smuggling attempt, GOP moves right on immigration, National Guard heads to border in TX, more

American Fuel Up On Cheaper Gas Over The Border Of Mexico

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Two men discovered Tuesday in the trunk of a car at the San Ysidro border crossing near San Diego have died. Both men were Mexican citizens.

2 Men Dead After Attempting To Cross San Ysidro Border In Car Trunk - KPBS Two men who were discovered in the trunk of an orange 2012 Dodge Challenger around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday were found not breathing when officials came across them. One man died at the scene, and the other at a hospital near the San Diego-area border crossing. Both men were Mexican citizens.

5 Things to Know About Immigration and the U.S. Economy - NBC News A few immigration facts as Congress takes its August break while President Obama weighs executive action on immigration reform. Among them: "Less than half of all immigrants are Hispanic or Latino. As of 2012, more than 40 million immigrants lived in the United States – but just 46 percent, or roughly 18 million, of these immigrants were Hispanic."

On Immigration, G.O.P. Starts to Embrace Tea Party - New York Times From the story: "A legislative year in which Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio set out to publicly marginalize the more vocal right-wing members of his conference ended with them emboldened, and with new leaders ready to bring the right back into the fold."