How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: Senate approves DHS funding bill, settlement may let some repatriated immigrants return, 110K AB 60 driver's licenses, more

Mercer 4284

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The California DMV says it has issued 110,000 driver's licenses to immigrants without legal status so far under the law known as AB 60.

Senate Passes Homeland Security Funding Bill; House Readies Temporary Measure - Wall Street Journal The Senate has passed a bill that extends funding for the Department of Homeland Security through September, the end of the fiscal year. The bill now goes to the House, where it faces opposition from GOP lawmakers who don't support President Obama's executive immigration plan. Funding for the department was to expire Friday at midnight. 

US Senate fails to advance bill blocking Obama immigration order - Reuters From the story: "A stand-alone U.S. Senate bill to block spending on President Barack Obama's November 2014 immigration order failed to clear a procedural vote on Friday after the provisions were stripped from a Department of Homeland Security funding bill. The 57-42 vote failed to achieve the 60 majority necessary to advance to final passage, despite attracting the support of four Democrats."

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In immigration news: DHS funding battle, H-4 visa holders can soon get jobs, Texas governor on immigration, more

A U.S. Border Patrol Agent in September 2011, along the Mexico-Arizona border.

Joshua Lott/Reuters /Landov

A U.S. Border Patrol Agent in September 2011, along the Mexico-Arizona border. The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Border Patrol and other immigration related agencies, is funded only through Friday. It remains uncertain whether Congress will be able to pass a funding bill in time.

With clock ticking, Republicans feud over DHS funding, immigration action - Washington Post The Department of Homeland Security is funded only through Friday, and there remains "great uncertainty about whether and how lawmakers can get a bill to Obama’s desk in time to avoid a partial shuttering of the department." A Senate measure would fund the department through September, but it faces resistance in the House. Earlier on, House GOP lawmakers tied DHS funding to President Obama's executive action in hopes of undoing it. 

Spouses of high-skilled foreign workers may soon get their own jobs - Southern California Public Radio A new immigration policy published Wednesday will let the spouses of certain H-1B work visa holders apply for their own work permits beginning May 26. Until now, dependent spouses on what is called the H-4 visa have been barred from working in the U.S.; the majority are women. It's estimated that just in the first year, close to 180,000 of them will be able to apply for work permits. As many as 55,000 could apply annually in coming years.

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Spouses of high-skilled foreign workers may soon get their own jobs

H1B Wives - 2

Susanica Tam/ KPCC

Shalini Sharma at her home in Irvine, Calif. on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. Sharma worked as an architect in India. But as a dependent on her husband's work permit, she has not been allowed to work since they arrived in the U.S. six years ago. A new policy will allow dependent spouses like her to apply for their own work permits starting in May.

A new immigration policy published Wednesday will let the spouses of certain H-1B work visa holders apply for their own work permits beginning May 26.

Among those counting the days are people like Shalini Sharma, in Irvine. She’s been unable to work in the U.S. ever since she and her husband arrived on his work visa six years ago.

In India, she worked as an architect.

“Having the notion that I can work is like super, super, duper exciting. I feel like a superwoman!" Sharma said Wednesday, laughing.

Sharma last spoke with KPCC in January. The rule change had already been in the works when President Obama included it in his executive announcement in November.

It was published in the Federal Register today.

It's estimated that just in the first year, close to 180,000 dependent spouses like Sharma will be able to apply for work permits; as many as 55,000 spouses could apply annually in coming years.

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In immigration news: Obama seeks emergency ruling on executive action, DHS funding, racially diverse emojis, more

Obama immigration speech

Claude Daley/KPCC

Demonstrators outside the White House following President Obama's announcement of executive action last November. The Obama administration is seeking a stay in court that would let its immigration plan move forward, pending its appeal of a ruling that has put the plan on hold. Immigrants seeking temporary legal status were to have begun applying for relief last week.

Justice Department seeks stay to implement Obama's immigration orders - The Hill The Obama administration is seeking an emergency court ruling that would allow President Obama's immigration plan to move forward pending an appeal. The plan, which would grant temporary legal status to millions, was put on hold last week following a ruling by a federal judge in Texas. From the story: "Lawyers for the Justice Department argued in their brief that delaying the immigration programs would cause 'irreparable harm,' both to national security and to the people who could be affected by the changes."

Obama Hopes to Score Points in Miami on Immigration - New York Times While visiting Miami on Wednesday, President Obama "plans to hold a town-hall-style meeting on immigration at Florida International University and to sit for an interview with Telemundo, the Spanish-language television network. It is a classic use of the bully pulpit — a presidential power not subject to the whims of the courts and Congress — to frame the immigration issue to his own, and his party’s, benefit."

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How our parents' political behavior shapes our own

Photo by buschap/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Research shows that politically engaged parents lead to politically engaged children. But parents' influence takes different forms.

Vicki Tamoush remembers growing up in a household where talk of Mideast politics and conflict was part of the daily conversation.

“I would overhear bits of conversations," Tamoush recalls, "and I could tell who felt strongly about politics and about the Middle East."

The strongest opinions, she says, came from her maternal grandparents. Both were Syrian immigrants who fled persecution under the Ottoman Empire.

After they settled in the United States, they became deeply political. Tamoush’s grandmother, a garment worker, became a union organizer. She voted religiously.

“She always made sure I knew when elections were coming up," said Tamoush. "She would tell me far in advance exactly when we were going to the polls, and how I had to make sure I was home from work on time.”

Her mother also voted regularly. And Tamoush, now 59, considers herself to be deeply political.

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