How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: Fewer child migrants at border, unauthorized workers, visa fraud scam, more

Familes and Children Held In U.S. Customs and Border Protection Processing Facility

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A young boy bows his head in a cell at a federal holding facility for migrants on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. The number of unaccompanied child migrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has continued to decline since earlier this year.

Number of Child Immigrants at Border Declining - ABC News The number of unaccompanied child migrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has continued to decline since earlier this year. From the story: "Last month Border Patrol agents apprehended 3,129 children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. In July agents found more than 5,400 children, while in June the number was more than 10,600."

Unauthorized immigrants: Staying longer, raising families, and part of the economy - Southern California Public Radio Two reports paint a changing picture of the unauthorized immigrant population in the U.S. and California. Although there are fewer people living and working illegally in the U.S. than before the recession, more are staying long term and raising families, and they remain a big part of the economy. It's estimated that these immigrants make up 9 percent of California's workforce, and contribute $130 billion annually to the state's GDP.

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Little Tokyo workers join growing numbers claiming 'wage theft'

Wage theft Little Tokyo

Josie Huang/KPCC

More than 80 people on Wednesday march outside the Izakaya Fuga bar and restaurant to protest alleged 'wage theft' violations at the business.

Wage theft Little Tokyo

Josie Huang/KPCC

Juan Moran (r.) is a chef at the Izakaya Fuga bar and restaurant and one of the 13 claimants in the case against the business.

Wage theft Little Tokyo

Josie Huang/KPCC

John Trang of Asian American Advancing Justice is representing 13 servers, cooks and bartenders at the Japanese restaurant.


Cook Juan Moran declares a passion for Japanese cuisine, but said he won't stand for current conditions at his employer, the Izakaya Fu-ga bar and restaurant in Little Toyko.

He's one of 13 cooks, servers and bartenders at the establishment who've filed claims with the State Labor Commissioner in the last year, charging they're owed more than $190,000 in tips and overtime over the last three years. They say managers also ignore meal and rest breaks, among other alleged violations.

Government officials and activists alike say a growing awareness nationwide about 'wage theft' is leading to more actions like those taken by the Little Tokyo workers.  During Wednesday at lunch, Moran marched with more than 80 people from different labor and immigrant advocacy organizations outside the restaurant.

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Unauthorized immigrants: Staying longer, raising families, and part of the economy

Strawberry Farm - 7

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

A worker fills plastic containers with fresh strawberries at a farm in Ventura. Two new reports suggest that while there are fewer immigrants living and working in the U.S. illegally than before the recession, when shrinking job prospects drove some to leave, more unauthorized workers have stayed long-term - and represent a good-sized chunk of California's workforce.

The number of people who live and work in the U.S. without legal status hasn't changed much since the end of the recession, when a shrinking job market prompted some to leave. But many of those who stayed are staying long-term, a new report suggests.

The latest estimate from Pew Research Center puts the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population at 11.3 million, roughly the same as in 2009. At its peak in 2007, it was 12.2 million.
 
The dynamics of this population are a far cry from what they were: What was once an ebb and flow of workers staying short-term has given way to people who have put down roots in the U.S.,and are raising families.

According to the report, the median amount of time that unauthorized immigrants have lived in the country is now almost 13 years; in 2003, it was less than eight years. More than 60 percent had lived here a decade or more.

“There are a lot of parents of U.S.-born children," said Pew demographer Jeffrey Passel, lead author of the report. " These are families – a lot of people are here as families. And it is much harder for a family to pick up and go than for a single guy.”

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In immigration news: Executive order in question, license lawsuit, Latino voters

Immigration Worker March - 8

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Adelina Nicholls of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights travelled from Georgia to take part in a march in LA on Aug. 27 supporting immigrant worker protections in any administrative relief plan that President Obama announces.

White House: Immigration action might not happen this summer - The Hill  The White House has admitted that the president could delay an executive order on immigration. Press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters: "'It's hard for me to at least at this point draw any clear conclusions about what the president's timing will be.'" He went onto say it could be before - or after - the summer.  The president had said he would act after receiving recommendations from Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Deportations Don’t Lower Crime Rates, Study Says - New York Times A pair of law professors at the University of Chicago and New York University have found that the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people has not had an "observable" effect on reducing crime. The report serves to underscore criticisms of the federal Secure Communities program which was supposed to target noncitizens with criminal records. But immigrant rights advocates say that it has instead swept up "many immigrants who have committed minor infractions, like traffic violations, or are guilty of no crimes at all but are in the country illegally."

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Glendale's monument to comfort women comes under attack — again (Updated)

Unveiling of Comfort Women Memorial

Photo by Melissa Wall via Flickr Creative Commons

A statue commemorating the sexual slavery of women by the Japanese army in World War II was publicly unveiled in July 2013 in Glendale.

The fight over Glendale's monument to World War II 'comfort women' slogs on.

A few weeks after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking the bronze statue's removal by a conservative group of residents of Japanese descent, the plaintiffs have filed an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The plaintiffs, who are members of the Global Alliance for Historical Truth, have also filed a new lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging "administrative negligence" by the City Council and the City Manager for not subjecting the wording on the statue's plaque to a vote. The inscription urges the Japanese government "to accept historical responsibility for these crimes."

In a statement e-mailed to KPCC by their Pasadena-based lawyer William DeClercq, the plaintiffs said:

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