How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

FAQ: SoCal immigrant advocates brace for crush of executive action applicants - What you need to know

President Obama Delivers Remarks On Executive Action Immigration Reform

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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: U.S. President Barack Obama announces executive actions on U.S. immigration policy during a nationally televised address from the White House, November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama outlined a plan on Thursday to ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants. (Photo by Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images)

Obama Immigration speech

Stuart Palley/ KPCC

Onlookers watch as President Obama is shown on a projector near the intersection of Alameda St. and the 101 freeway in downtown Los Angeles Thursday addressing the nation with reformed immigration policy. President Obama addresses the nation with reforms in immigration policy in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday Nov. 20, 2014.

Executive Action Workshop

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More than 1,300 turned out for a Sunday workshop on Obama's immigration order. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles hosted the event at the LA Convention Center.

Immigration Reform

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Sandoval-Perojas family. Mother, Isobel Sandoval, qualifies for the presidential executive action and plans to apply in the Spring when the program opens. For this family, 2015 looks much brighter.

Deferred Action

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Close to 300 people wait in line to attend orientation classes on "deferred action" from the non-profit Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, or CHIRLA, before doors open at 9. The line ran down West Third, and bent around to South Coronado, and up a slope.

Immigration Groups Celebrate Obama Executive Action In Front Of White House

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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: About 100 people gather to rally in support of President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration policy in Lafayette Square across from the White House November 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama announced a plan on Thursday that would ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


To say it's been a busy year for nonprofit legal providers is a gross understatement. Those who provide free and low-cost services to immigrants are already stretched thin after months of assisting Central American child migrants and their families, continuing to help young applicants applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and answering questions from immigrants applying for California driver’s licenses. Up next, executive action.

The first crop of immigrants who could benefit from President Obama's immigration order announced in November, are people who arrived in the U.S. as minors. They’re expected to start an application process in February.

By May, a much larger group is expected: The parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, who have lived at least five years in the country, who will also be seeking seek temporary relief from deportation.

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Mozart with a twist: LA Opera tackles immigration issues with 'Figaro 90210'

Figaro 90210

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José Adán Pérez, who plays the lead in ¡Figaro! (90201), rehearses with E. Scott Levin.

Figaro 90210

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The cast of 14 for the first staged production of ¡Figaro! (90201) practices with the orchestra.

Figaro 90210

Josie Huang/KPCC

Performers in ¡Figaro! (90201) work out scenes at one of LA Opera's practice rooms.

Figaro 90210

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Cast members circle around director, Melissa Crespo and conductor, Douglas Kinney Frost.

Figaro 90210

Josie Huang/KPCC

Douglas Kinney Frost guides the orchestra and cast through their first practice together.


This week, LA Opera kicks off a months-long series of productions featuring Figaro, the comedic character popularized in 18th-century France. But with its first opera, the company takes on a very modern issue: illegal immigration in Los Angeles.

¡Figaro! (90210) – as you may have guessed — is set in Beverly Hills. The main antagonist is a real estate mogul named Paul Conti, who’s threatening to turn Figaro, reimagined as a Mexican handyman, over to immigration authorities. In a fit of rage over Figaro, Conti sings in a bass-baritone:

It’s so disgraceful. They sneak into this country.  We let them, we even help them!

The music of ¡Figaro! (90201) is taken note-for-note, meter by meter, from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. But the Italian libretto is now in English and Spanish.

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In immigration news: Executive action fight in House, immigrants and Medi-Cal, protests in Europe, more

doctor's office examination diagnosis medical stethoscope

Photo by Connor Tarter via Flickr Creative Commons

Will immigrants who benefit from executive action also be able to receive health coverage under Medi-Cal in California? The proposed state budget only says they could potentially qualify, with state officials saying they still need more details from the federal government.

Boehner: House will fund Homeland Security, block Obama on immigration - Reuters A $39.7 billion House spending bill that would fully fund the Department of Homeland Security was expected to pass by Wednesday; the bill would fund the department "while blocking President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, House Speaker John Boehner said...Republican lawmakers leaving a closed-door strategy meeting on Tuesday said the House would seek to pass amendments to the core funding bill to deny money to implement Obama's November executive order."

Protected immigrants could access Medi-Cal, but state budget language is unclear - Southern California Public Radio Roughly one million immigrants in California could qualify for relief under executive action. But will they be able to obtain healthcare under Medi-Cal? The proposed state budget only goes so far as to say they could "potentially" qualify – and that has rankled immigrant advocates. State officials say the language isn't clearer, and that there isn't a specific budget commitment, because they are awaiting more details from the federal government.

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Executive Action: Protected immigrants could access Medi-Cal, but state budget language is unclear

Henry A. Barrios/The Californian (Bakersfield)

The proposed Calif. budget says immigrants who qualify for deportation protection under executive action "potentially" qualify for Medi-Cal.

It has been a little less than two months since President Obama announced his executive actions on immigration. According to the Pew Research Center, more than five million immigrants without legal status will be eligible for deportation relief once the application process begins. Roughly one million could qualify in California. But will they be able to obtain healthcare under Medi-Cal? The proposed state budget only goes so far as to say they could potentially qualify – and that has rankled immigrant advocates.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget summary reads:

These individuals may be recognized as having Permanent Residence Under Color of Law status due to their deferred action status, and/or because the federal government does not intend to deport them. This status potentially qualifies individuals for state‑funded full‑scope Medi‑Cal, In‑Home Supportive Services, and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants.

At this time, there is a great deal of uncertainty about the scope, timing and effect of these actions. Consequently, the Budget does not assume any higher costs from these individuals, but covering eligible immigrants under these programs could cost hundreds of millions of dollars annually. 

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In immigration news: Homeland Security funding fight, how terror attacks affect US immigration debate, NYC municipal ID cards, more

Obama Immigration speech

Stuart Palley/ KPCC

Onlookers watch in Los Angeles as President Obama announced his executive action plan on immigration last November. An effort by House GOP lawmakers to use Homeland Security funding as leverage to counter Obama's plan seems unlikely to get much traction in Congress.

Bill to Defund Homeland Security Unlikely to Pass Senate - Wall Street Journal An effort by House GOP lawmakers to use Homeland Security funding as leverage to counter President Obama's executive action plan seems unlikely to get much traction. From the story: "...the bill will need 60 votes to clear the Senate, meaning at least six Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents would have to vote yes. That looks to be nearly impossible. A survey of several Democratic senators who have been critical of the executive action found most saying they would not support the effort."

Paris terrorist attacks raise stakes for looming immigration fight - The Hill Some government officials say the terrorist attacks in Paris and Sydney "have raised the stakes in a looming battle over funding for the Department of Homeland Security," with concerns that if a funding standoff shuts the department down, there could be negative political repercussions. From the story: "They worry the GOP could wind up taking the blame, which is what happened when a dispute over implementation of the Affordable Care Act shuttered the federal government."

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