How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning: Opting out of Secure Communities, fake immigration lawyers, immigrants and college, redistricting, more

Opting out of Secure Communities: Law, technology make it tough to not enforce controversial immigrant-focused program - 89.3 KPCC Among the complications as some states, cities and counties have tried to opt out of the fingerprint-sharing immigration enforcement program: States already share criminal fingerprint data with the FBI. The third story in a three-part series.

New Effort to Shield Immigrants From Fake Lawyers - New York Times Immigration officials are teaming up with federal and state prosecutors, the Federal Trade Commission, lawyers’ groups and immigrant advocates in a new nationwide effort to combat schemes by people posing as immigration lawyers.

Redistricting suits focus on Latinos - Politico Illinois Republicans and Texas Democrats are both prepping lawsuits aimed at increasing their respective states’ Latino-majority districts. Both plan to file complaints under the Voting Rights Act.


American snapshot: Garden Grove

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A convention of quinceañeras? Close, actually. These young ladies were among the dress models at a quinceañera expo last weekend in a Garden Grove hotel ballroom, where dozens of vendors catering to the parents of teenage girls preparing for the Latin American coming-of-age ritual set up booths hawking everything from DJ services to makeup and, of course, dresses. The expo was set up by Quinceañ, an online hub for the quinceañera industry.

I'll be talking about the expo, the industry, and "mis quince" - sort of - on KPCC's Madeleine Brand Show this Friday.


California Dream Act passes its first Senate test

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Financial aid for undocumented college students paying tuition has inched a bit closer to becoming law in California, with part of the legislation dubbed the "California Dream Act" passing its first Senate test.

The bill, approved 7-3 today in the Senate Education Committee, would allow for undocumented students who meet the residency criteria for California in-state tuition to obtain scholarships that are not derived from state funds. Similar legislation was recently approved in Illinois.

Today's hearing follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday that upheld an existing California law allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, rather than the costlier out-of-state fees they must pay in some other states.

The California Dream Act is comprised of two related bills, both sponsored by Democratic Assembly member Gil Cedillo of Los Angeles. Both recently cleared the Assembly and are moving through the Senate approval process. The one approved today, still referred to as AB 130, is the less contested of the two; the second bill, known as AB 131, would amend state law to allow undocumented students access to publicly-funded financial aid, including Cal Grants state grants and other financial assistance.


Two sheriffs, two takes on Secure Communities

Photo by Pyrat Wesly/Flickr (Creative Commons)

In a three-part series this week, KPCC's Washington, D.C. correspondent Kitty Felde has been exploring the controversy over Secure Communities, a federal immigration enforcement program that also draws in local authorities. Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution backing proposed California legislation that would allow individual cities and counties to opt out of the program, which they presently can't do.

Some law enforcement officials have complained that the program, which allows for the fingerprints of people booked into local jails to be shared with immigration authorities, undermines the trust of immigrant communities and potentially impedes policing. At the same time, others have praised it.

There is a stark divide, for example, between how the program is perceived by the sheriffs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. From today's piece:


In the news this morning: Secure Communities news, Section 8 lawsuit, Azusa gang indictment, some immigrants leaving Georgia, more

Texas Moves Ahead With Secure Communities Program — The Texas Tribune While some states have been moving away from the federal Secure Communities immigration enforcement program, Republican lawmakers in Texas are seeking to expand it.

Secure Communities: California sheriffs split over illegal immigration deportation program - 89.3 KPCC Sheriffs in Southern California support the federal fingerprint-sharing program, but not the sheriff in San Francisco. The second report in a two-part series.

Suit says cities try to oust minorities - LA Daily News A new lawsuit alleges that the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale are waging a discriminatory war against black and Latino residents on Section 8 public housing assistance, using police intimidation and other tactics to force them out.

Azusa hopes indictments close books on era of racial hatred, violence against blacks - Los Angeles Times Residents and community leaders hope that a sweeping indictment that accused a Latino gang of targeting black residents of Azusa will once and for all end the racial violence in the city.