A sketch of a 17-year-old boy from Mexico who appeared recently in immigration court in Los Angeles. A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown is to provide $3 million to nonprofits for legal assistance to child migrants. But it’s not expected to ease pressure on backlogged immigration courts.
A bill signed on Saturday by California Gov. Jerry Brown will provide $3 million to qualifying nonprofits to offer free legal assistance for child migrants. Nonprofit legal service providers handling the cases of recently-arrived child migrants from Central America say the demand for pro-bono help is huge, especially since many of the children are seeking asylum.
“If you go to the court, you’ll see many, many children showing up, and being told to come back with a lawyer, and yet they can’t," said Judy London, an attorney with the pro bono firm Public Counsel in Los Angeles, which is representing about 50 migrant kids. "There is nowhere they can go. The kinds of agencies that do this work have hundreds of children on waiting lists.”
Roughly half the children and teens who arrived recently from Central America and are now facing deportation in the court system don't have legal representation, London said. Many of them fled gang violence in their native countries are seeking asylum. But without counsel, she said, their chances of being able to stay legally are slim.
Advocates say the new law was inspired in part by Sergio Garcia, an immigrant in the country illegally who was issued a law license after the state Supreme Court ruled in his favor earlier this year.
Immigrants in the country illegally can apply for professional licenses under a new California law that aims to integrate them into the working world and generate new tax dollars for the state.
The new law - SB 1159 - requires all 40 licensing boards under the California Department of Consumer Affairs to consider applicants regardless of immigration status by 2016.
The law change follows a landmark state Supreme Court case earlier this year in which justices ruled that lawyer Sergio Garcia should be admitted to the California bar despite lacking legal status.
Denisse Rojas, who's applying to medical school, said the new law is a huge relief for students pursuing careers that require licenses, such as medicine and dentistry.
"For there to be something in legislation in California that says immigration status shouldn't prohibit someone from obtaining a professional license — that's extremely beneficial, " said Rojas, a 25-year-old University of California, Berkeley graduate and a student leader in Pre-Health Dreamers.
An illustration of an immigration court judge hearing the cases of immigrant teens in Los Angeles. Legislation signed this weekend by California Gov. Jerry Brown is to provide $3 million in funds for nonprofits to help provide legal counsel for minors in deportation proceedings.
Gov. Brown signs bill for lawyers for immigrant kids - Associated Press Legislation signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend is to provide $3 million in funds to qualified nonprofits in order to provide legal counsel for children in deportation proceedings. Many of the recently arrived migrant children from Central America lack legal representation in immigration court; more than 4,600 are now living with relatives and other sponsors in California as their cases wind through the court system.
Illegal Immigrants Seeking Asylum Face a Higher Bar - Wall Street Journal Immigration officials are reportedly raising the bar on what constitutes "credible fear" of persecution or torture as recently arrived migrants from Central America seek asylum. From the story: "In July, the most recent month available, 63% of those who claimed they were afraid to return were found to have met that criterion, down from 83% six months earlier, according to a report released to immigrant-rights groups by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services."
Courtesy New America Media
A flier advertising where to vote for South Asian communities. Asian American community groups have been making efforts to tap the potential of Asian American voters, whose participation at the polls has increased in recent elections but is still lower than that of other groups.
As the midterm elections near, Asian-American community groups are trying to tap the voting potential of the nation's fastest-growing racial demographic.
It's estimated there are as many as 9 million eligible Asian-American voters, but their participation at the polls still lags behind that of white and black voters and is slightly behind that of Latinos.
Grassroots efforts in Los Angeles include a soon-to-open phone bank in 14 different Asian and Pacific Islander languages, which kicks off Oct. 9. It's being coordinated by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a civil rights group that’s engaged in voter outreach.
"Our plan is to target 30,000 registered voters who are infrequent voters,” said Eugene Lee, who directs the group's voter outreach efforts, “meaning they have only voted in three of the past five elections, they are newly registered, or they are young voters between the ages of 18 to 24."
Since the 1920s, the Sears Roebuck building has sparkled as a Boyle Heights landmark — 11 stories tall. Several football fields wide. An Art Deco treasure that draws tourists.
But inside, there isn't much to see. Sears shut down what was one of its biggest distribution centers two decades ago when its mail order business dried up. A retail store still operates on the ground floor, but the rest of the building is gutted and covered in grit.
Ulisses Sanchez is unfazed. "I just see a lot of endless opportunity," he said.
Sanchez works for the development team that wants to transform the 1.8 million sq.foot building into a mix of shops, offices and more than 1,000 apartment rentals. Tenants would enjoy central air and heat insulation, and have access to a swimming pool, tennis courts, lounges.