How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

San Gabriel bans casino tour buses from making pick-ups on city streets

Casino Buses

Mae Ryan/KPCC

This unmarked bus is typical of the ones that would pick up passengers in San Gabriel and other nearby communities to take them to area casinos.

The San Gabriel City Council voted Tuesday night to ban casino tour buses from picking up customers on city streets starting May 1.

The ordinance, modeled after a similar law in Monterey Park, would restrict companies to parking in private lots, and subjecting violators to fines to be set by the city.

City Engineer Daren Grilley said notices have gone out to the 73 bus companies known to make runs through the city, ferrying a largely-immigrant customer base to area casinos.

"We heard only negative things about the buses, and really no positives," Grilley said. 

RELATED: Tour bus safety: Regulators struggle to keep up with casino bus boom

Casino tour bus companies came under heavy scrutiny last winter when three accidents over five days left one person dead and 73 injured.

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In immigration news: Deportation numbers questioned, 'All-Ivy' student, impound moratorium

Families Reunite At US-Mexico Border Fence

John Moore/Getty Images

Family members reunite through bars and mesh of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in San Diego, California.

High deportation figures are misleading - Los Angeles Times  Immigration activists have taken to calling President Obama "deporter-in-chief," pointing out that the number of expulsions under his watch is nearing 2 million. But a closer inspection of government records indicates that immigrants in the US illegally are "less likely to be deported today than before Obama came to office," reports Brian Bennett. Forced removal of people who have been living and working in the US for years has dropped more than 40 percent since 2009.  What has gone up is deportations of people who are apprehended at or near the border - a category that would not have been counted as formal deportations under other administrations. 

Teen accepted to every Ivy League school credits ‘helicopter parents’ - New York Post Kwasi Enin, who got into all eight Ivies, said his Ghanaian immigrant parents - both nurses - monitored him closely, and reminded him how he lucky he was to grow up in the US. Father Ebenezer Enin said he always taught his son: "You have all the resources in the world. Whatever you need, you have it here." Helicopter parents weren't the only reason the Long Island, NY high schooler got into all those schools. He is a competitive shot putter, sings and plays viola, so not much of a slouch.  

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Monterey Park to elderly shoppers: Please don’t take carts home

Abandoned shopping carts

Josie Huang/KPCC

Monterey Park is working to reduce the number of shopping carts abandoned around the city.

Seventy-eight year-old Mrs. Tang leisurely pushed the red shopping cart out of the parking lot of the Hong Kong Super Market, through a busy intersection and onto a sidewalk.

This is how the Monterey Park resident normally transports her groceries — today, several plastic bags filled with eggplant, peppers and lettuce.

“If I take my time, home is about 15 to 20 minutes’ away,” she said in Chinese. Once she arrives, she’ll leave the cart out on the street because “someone will come by with a truck and pick it up.”

Someone invariably does. Grocery stores in Monterey Park and other cities are required to hire cart retrieval services to comb neighboring areas for loose trolleys. Work crews tell the city they collect about 200 carts a day. But they don’t get to them all.

“You see them everywhere now,” Council Member Teresa Real Sebastian said at a recent meeting. “You have to wonder how did they get so far into our residential neighborhoods?”

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In Immigration News: bishops at the border, education gap, unlicensed drivers

In Immigration news

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

Protesters hold a news conference in Hollywood October 2013 to ask the Governor to speed up the process for unlicensed drivers to apply for driver's licenses in California.

Bishops seek immigration reform during border trip - Associated Press  Roman Catholic bishops are visiting the U.S-Mexico border today, "for an early morning walk in the desert along the border, followed by a Mass at the fence separating the two countries in southern Arizona," according to the story. The goal of the visit is to pressure Washington to act on immigration, and also to memorialize the dozens of immigrants who perish each year during ill-fated attempts to cross the desert into the US.  The delegation's visit follows President Obama's meeting with the Pope last week, during which he said there was still a chance to get a law passed.

Map: The education gap between Asians and other minorities is huge in every state - The Washington Post  A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that Asian-American students scored the highest across the country, followed by whites. "Latinos were a distant third, followed by American Indians and blacks," according to the story. The report's authors looked at 12 measures including early-childhood enrollment, test scores and poverty.

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Immigration officials mount campaign against marriage fraud

Marriage fraud

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is rolling out new signs in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. that warn Americans against taking part in marriage fraud.

Here's the set-up: An American marries a foreigner to help a virtual stranger get a green card.

Hollywood calls it the makings of a quirky romance. Immigration officials call it marriage fraud.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it's mounting its first-ever public awareness campaign on marriage fraud in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York.

Hollywood "makes it a warm, fuzzy story," said ICE Special Agent Claude Arnold, who oversees investigations in Los Angeles. "The fact is that these are done by criminal organizations that are just trying to make money arranging the marriages.”

Arnold said his office is currently investigating several marriage fraud rings. The most recent conviction was of Alake “Terry” Ilegbameh of Baldwin Hills. He was sentenced last week to more than two years in prison for arranging sham marriages for Nigerian nationals.

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