How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Calif. to offer low-cost insurance to new immigrant drivers

California Report

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Students at Orange County's Mexican consulate study for their driver's license tests. State officials hope that new drivers will buy insurance.

State officials hope a new law that offers California driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally will also spur them to buy insurance.

To encourage the practice, the California Department of Insurance is aggressively marketing its Low Cost Auto Insurance program to the large pool of immigrants projected to seek licenses under the AB 60 law taking effect Jan. 1.

"It would be a tragedy if after all this effort, the 1.4 million people who are getting driver’s licenses for the first time don’t have auto insurance," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. 

Jones and others recognized that the cost of getting licensed — $33  — is a lot cheaper than buying insurance for hundreds of dollars a year. So, Jones, working with Senator Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, got the state Legislature to open up the low-cost insurance program to the new category of immigrant drivers. 


In immigration news: New California laws, lessons of DACA, executive action details, more

LA traffic

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Among the immigration-related laws taking effect in California in 2015 is one that will allow immigrants eligible for driver's licenses under AB 60 to buy low-cost auto insurance. Immigrants without legal status may begin applying for the special licenses through the Department of Motor Vehicles starting Jan. 2.

New laws in 2015 to benefit undocumented immigrants - Orange County Register Several new California laws taking effect this coming year will benefit immigrants without legal status, including one that will allow them to buy low-cost auto insurance if they are eligible for a special driver's license under the law known as AB 60. Other new laws include one that lets immigrant students obtain more financial aid for college, and another that provides funding for legal counsel to represent unaccompanied migrant youths.

Immigration action 2.0: Lessons learned from DACA - MSNBC More than 580,000 young immigrants have received temporary legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which rolled out on 2012. The program is a small-scale version of what's to come as the White House rolls out its new immigration plan next year. From the story: "...the number of total applicants pales in comparison to the estimated 5 million people who could potentially benefit from the latest round of executive measures."


In immigration news: Obama's year-end take, organ transplants, farm labor, and more

Farm workers harvest Pinot Noir wine gra


California growers fear a labor shortage under the president's new immigration orders.

Despite Election Defeat, Obama Sees Room To Push His Agenda - NPR In a wide-ranging interview with NPR, Pres. Obama said he knows there are Republicans who are open to immigration reform because they voted for a Senate bill that had more reach than his executive action. But he recognized a "nativist trend" in the GOP: "If your view is that immigrants are either fundamentally bad to the country or that we actually have the option of deporting 11 million immigrants, regardless of the disruptions, regardless of the cost, and that that is who we are as Americans, I Previewreject that."

California farm labor shortage feared from new rules - Associated Press Groups like the trade association Western Growers say Obama's immigration order may lead farmworkers to leave seasonal farm work for, according to the story, "steady, year-round work building homes, cooking in restaurants and cleaning hotel rooms." The trade group estimates it already has a 15 to 20 percent shortage of farmworkers.


In immigration news: Executive action hiring, CA to driver's issue licenses, deportations to Cuba, and more

Santiago De Cuba Prepares For Visit Of Pope Benedict XVI

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Will Cuba take deportees from the US under re-established diplomatic ties?

US Agency Hiring 1000 After Obama's Immigration Order - New York Times U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has hired 1,000 new employees who will process applications for the millions expected to benefit under the president's executive action. The yearly lease for an office to house these new workers is nearly $8 million and salaries will top $40 million. During a speech in Los Angeles last week, the head of USCIS said that already 5,000 people had applied for the openings.

Obama actions leave immigrants excited but nervous - Baltimore Sun The Obama administration is trying to allay fears about joining programs under the president's executive action. From the story: "Some are concerned about the future of the controversial program. Others may face difficulty documenting that they meet its requirements. Advocates are worried that some may become victims of fraud before they even get the chance to apply."


In immigration news: Ankle bracelets, Arpaio lawsuit fails, border surge continues

Mercer 14338

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Mexican immigrants walk through the desert after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. A new pilot program by the Department of Homeland Security places ankle bracelets on some immigrants with the thinking that they will report back to immigration authorities.

GPS used to track some immigrants caught at border - Associated Press The Department of Homeland Security is trying out ankle bracelets on immigrants after they've been released from custody. The idea is to make sure they report back to immigration officials, according to a Immigration and Customs Enforcement document obtained by the AP.  The wire service also acquired an audio recording of a meeting between a DHS official and immigrant advocates, in which the official said about 70 percent of immigrant families in the country illegally did not report back to ICE. 

Arizona Sheriff Loses Bid to Block Obama on Immigration - Bloomberg A U.S. district court judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, in which he argued he was harmed by Obama's executive action because more immigrants arrested by his department would be protected from deportation, and end up committing more crimes.  The judge said in court Monday that "deferred-removal programs such as those Obama announced have been around since the 1970s and that much of Arpaio’s suit was a sweeping attack on administration policy, not a complaint focused on specific legal grievances."