How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: CA driver's licenses, anti-executive action lawsuit, half of federal arrests tied to immigration, more

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

The new AB 60 driver's licenses are marked with the words "Federal Limits Apply." More than 25,000 immigrants without legal status in the U.S. have already received California licenses under the new law.

Split Grows on Obama’s Immigrant Tack - Wall Street Journal More city and state officials around the U.S. are joining a lawsuit filed filed in December in Brownsville, Texas, in opposition to President Obama's executive order on immigration. The lawsuit seeks to block the order from taking effect. Meanwhile, the mayors of 30 cities including Los Angeles plan to file a brief in support of Obama's order on Monday. 

AB 60: For one newly-legal driver, license means no more evading police - Southern California Public Radio It’s been less than four weeks since immigrants without legal immigration status began applying for special California driver’s licenses, under the new law known as AB 60. More than 25,000 people have already received them, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Many were already driving illegally for years. Their daily routines may not have changed much but the stakes have, with fear of police and checkpoints now a thing of a past.

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AB 60: For one newly-legal driver, license means no more evading police

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Newly licensed driver Ramona recalls how she'd react in the past when she saw a police car. "My legs were shaking," she said. She is one of more than 25,000 people in California who have received driver's licenses so far under AB 60, a new state law that allows immigrants without legal immigration status to legally drive.

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

The new AB 60 driver's licenses are marked with the words "Federal Limits Apply."


It’s been three weeks since immigrants without legal permission began applying for special California driver’s licenses under the new law known as AB 60. More than 25,000 people have already received them, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

One of them is Ramona, a 36-year-old mother of four who works in a Whittier restaurant. Because she still doesn't have legal immigration status, she asked that her last name not be used.

Until Tuesday, Ramona was driving without a license - as she'd done for years.

She'd stick to side streets as she drove to and from work, and shuttled her kids around. Her goal was always to avoid the police. The sight of a squad car would send her into a panic.

“My legs were shaking," she said. "Oh no, I was so scared.”

If a cop came too close, she'd get too nervous to drive.

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In immigration news: Sessions set to chair Senate immigration panel, executive action could be hard to revoke, more

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Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), left, questions Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), right, looks on during confirmation hearings in June of 2010. Sessions, known for a hardline approach to immigration, has reportedly been named chair of the Senate committee that oversees immigration issues.

Jeff Sessions to take over Senate panel overseeing immigration - Politico Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is reportedly set to become chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. Sessions is known for a hardline approach to immigration. In recent months he has been "one of the most relentless critics of the Obama administration’s immigration directives."

CRS Report of the Week: The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action - Washington Post Some details from a Congressional Research Service analysis of President Obama's executive immigration order, including an observation about its future. From the story: "CRS notes opposition’s argument that even if a Republican successor in 2017 wanted to rollback the actions, it would be difficult to revoke them now that they’re in place. The report also concludes that it is unclear whether Obama’s executive actions would inspire Congress to pass permanent legislation."

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In immigration news: House border bill moves forward, Calderón on immigration, Cuba talks, more

Agents Patrol Texas Border To Stop Illegal Immigrants From Entering U.S.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

A GOP-backed bill calling for more border security passed the House Homeland Security committee late Wednesday on a party-line vote; a floor vote could take place next week.

House heads to vote on border security bill - Associated Press A GOP-backed bill that calls for additional border security passed the House Homeland Security committee Wednesday on an 18-12 party line vote; a floor vote is expected next week. From the story: "The bill would require operational control of high-traffic areas of the border within two years, and operational control of the full border within five years. The bill defines operational control as stopping or turning back all attempted border crossers, which Democrats said was unrealistic."

Calderón: Congress can find common ground on immigration - USA Today Speaking Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, former Mexican president  Felipe Calderón "praised President Obama's executive order allowing Mexican migrants who have U.S.-born children and have lived and worked trouble-free in the U.S. for at least five years to stay in the country without fear of deportation." But he expressed concern that it would be short-lived, and urged the U.S. to find permanent solutions for reforming its immigration system.

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In immigration news: State of the Union, Garcetti on immigration, scam artists, more

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President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2015. Obama gave relatively little mention to immigration during this year's address, despite the political battle now surrounding his recent executive order.

Obama largely avoids immigration in State of the Union - Arizona Republic President Obama didn't mention immigration much during his State of the Union speech, save for an expected threat to veto legislation that would undo his recent executive order, and a broader reference to how "passions still fly" on the subject and what's at stake. He's said much more in previous years, such as in 2013, when he urged Congress to send him a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

GOP talks immigration reform in Spanish, but not English - Politico The English-language Republican rebuttal of President Obama's State of the Union speech made no mention of it, but in the Spanish-language version, Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo indicated that Republicans wanted to work with Obama on immigration: “We should also work through the appropriate channels to create permanent solutions for our immigration system, to secure our borders, modernize legal immigration, and strengthen our economy,” said Curbelo in Spanish.

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