How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: The youth movement, 'Tiger Mom' myth-busting, minors crossing border solo, more

Mexico US Immigrant Youth

Samantha Sais

Members of the "Dream 9," a group of young activists who staged a protest at the U.S.-Mexico border last summer when they sought to return from Mexico to Nogales, Arizona. As efforts to overhaul the immigration system have stalled in Congress, young immigrant activists have been using bolder protest tactics as they push for reform and put pressure on the Obama administration to curb deportations.

Young Immigrants: Impulsive or Obama's Conscience? - CNBC As efforts to overhaul the immigration system have stalled in Congress, young immigrant activists have been using bolder protest tactics as they push for reform and ramp up pressure on the Obama administration to curb deportations. They've also been asking for an expansion of deferred action - which now offers protection from deportation to certain young immigrants - to a larger group of people. A look at this movement.

Voices: Another wave of illegal immigration may be near - USA Today A recently released report points to economic shifts that could hurt Latin American economies, potentially sending more migrants north in the future. Also, "an improved outlook in U.S. sectors that tend to lure low-skilled immigrants, like construction and retail, and the conditions are ideal for unemployed Latin Americans trying to find work in America."


Activists arrested in immigration sit-ins of DC offices of SoCal House members

A photo posted today to the Facebook page of the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance with the caption "@repbacerra we are waiting 4 you!" Activists calling for a halt to deportations staged sit-ins Monday at the offices of Reps. Xavier Becerra and Loretta Sanchez, both Democrats from Southern California.

Several immigrant rights activists were arrested Monday after sit-in protests at the Washington offices of U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Anaheim) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles).

The protesters were members of California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, a group that along with other activists has participated in increasingly bold protest tactics as plans for an immigration overhaul have stalled in Congress.

According to Luis Ojeda, a coordinator with the group, several protesters went to each of the two offices Monday morning, demanding an audience and calling for a stop to deportations. By the end of the day, a total of six had been arrested, Ojeda said; authorities confirmed the arrests.

A spokeswoman for Sanchez said a group of protesters showed up in the late morning, and that Capitol Police were called after they became “disruptive and would not engage in meaningful  conversation with staff.” Three of the protesters at Sanchez's office were arrested, she said.


In immigration news: Fewer deportations holds under CA Trust Act, Jeb Bush on illegal immigration as 'act of love,' more

Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Pro-Trust Act protestors blocked the path of a Los Angeles County Sheriff's vehicle on September 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif. The California state bill, which limits who local authorities can hold for deportation at the request of federal agents, became law last year and took effect this January. Data from California counties since indicates that local agencies have placed fewer deportation holds on immigrants since the law took effect.

Jeb Bush: Many illegal immigrants come out of an ‘act of love’ - Washington Post From former Florida governor Jeb Bush's speech on Sunday: "The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their families -- the dad who loved their children -- was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table." Bush is considered to be a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016.

AP Exclusive: California Immigration Holds Drop - Associated Press The Trust Act, which took effect in January, is reducing the number of immigrants turned over for deportation by local authorities. While not all county agencies supplied data for the first two months of 2014, "among the 15 that did, there was a 44 percent drop, from 2,984 people to 1,660. Those 15 counties included four of the five largest in the state — Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino."


Muslim, Jewish leaders join Archbishop on immigration reform

Interfaith Immigration

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Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, addresses parishioners at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Interfaith Immigration

Monica Valencia

Fr. Paul Velazquez blesses the Perez family, whose members spoke at the interfaith prayer service

For Catholic Angelenos, the setting for the prayer vigil was a familiar one — the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

But the man speaking from the pulpit was a new face. 

"When people ask me as a Jew, why I care about comprehensive immigration reform, I answer because it is in our Jewish DNA," said Rabbi Mark Diamond.

Diamond, regional director of the American Jewish Committee, was invited by Archbishop Jose Gomez to help lead a Friday morning interfaith prayer vigil for immigration reform, along with Christian and Muslim leaders.

Diamond noted that Passover, which starts this month, marked the Jews' exodus from Egypt, and served as a reminder that they have lived through the experience of being unwelcome in new lands.

"We must never, ever do that to others," Diamond said.


In immigration news: surge in Latino healthcare sign-ups, protection from deportation, bilingual classrooms

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A child attending a bilingual class at a Montessori school in Washington DC.

Immigration Policy Won't Make It Into the Defense Bill, for Now - National Journal  Some House Republicans led by California Rep. Jeff Denham came up with a plan to provide a path to resident status for young adults brought to the country illegally as children - if they join the US military. But the proposal appears to be dead for now because of opposition from some conservatives who say that no immigrants should be given preferential treatment. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala. argued that the plan, which would have been included in a defense bill, "ensures illegal aliens will be put on the same footing with American citizens who are competing for enlistment privileges in our national defense." 

Federal budget proposes decrease in immigrant detention beds - Southern California Public Radio Congress will decide whether to reduce the number of immigrant detention beds as a way to cut costs in the federal budget. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rents about 34,000 beds on a daily basis from both private contractors and local governments. Activists are hopeful the government will reduce the number of beds rented. Setting a quota of beds creates the impression "you have to find people to deport, people to fill these beds, whether or not there is a need," according to Silky Shah of the Detention Watch Network.
IMMIGRATION: Protesters take aim at deportations - The Press Enterprise As part of a series of demonstrations around the country, more than 75 people rallied outside the San Bernardino office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The group demanded a stop to deportations, and accused the office of San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon for violating the TRUST Act, which limits who law enforcement can hold for deportation on behalf of federal immigration agents.  About 20 counter-protesters were also at the rally brandishing signs that said “no amnesty."