How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

LA joins NYC, Chicago in push to naturalize permanent residents

Mayors Forum


L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is joining his counterparts in Chicago and New York in encouraging permanent residents to become citizens. Pictured at a mayor's forum from right to left are Garcetti, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has joined a new campaign that encourages the estimated 390,000 legal permanent residents in Los Angeles to become citizens for their own benefit — and the city's.

The “Cities for Citizenship" project, funded by $1.1 million from corporate partner Citigroup, is also kicking off in New York and Chicago.

In Los Angeles, a quarter-million dollar allocation will go toward introducing financial literacy to citizenship classes at city libraries, said Linda Lopez, chief of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. The cost of applying for citizenship — $680 — is prohibitive for many, and Lopez said new curriculum will teach students about saving for the naturalization process, as well as other aspects of their lives.

The new initiative will also help fund citizenship drives at community centers and outreach to employers in sectors with high concentrations of permanent residents, such as hospitality, health care and technology, Lopez said.  


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Immigration Ceremony

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New U.S. citizens take their oath at a naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The mayors of Los Angeles, New York and Chicago are kicking off an initiative to encourage more legal permanent residents to become citizens.

Saldaña confirmation hearing opens on friendly note, despite rancor on immigration - Dallas Morning News President Obama has nominated Sarah Saldaña, a U.S. Attorney based in Dallas, to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Saldaña would be the first Latina to run the agency, which is responsible for carrying out deportations and other immigration enforcement. Her confirmation hearing before a Senate committee opened Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Push for Immigrants to Become Citizens - Wall Street Journal The mayors of Los Angeles, New York and Chicago plan to kick off an initiative Wednesday that aims to to encourage more legal residents to naturalize. From the story: "The initiative, titled 'Cities for Citizenship,' will help the three cities expand naturalization programs and other ventures dedicated to helping immigrants secure their financial footing through counseling, legal assistance and microloans."


In immigration news: Migrant child trauma, fewer border deaths, workplace exploitation, more

Immigrants Processed At The McAllen Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas

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Immigrants caught crossing the Texas border illegally are detained at the McAllen Border Patrol Station this summer.

For migrant kids, past traumas are hard to escape - and early intervention is key - Southern California Public Radio  It's been years since they came as child migrants, but for some young people they are still struggling with the trauma of their pasts and the often-tumultuous journey to the US. Their stories open a window into the future faced by the some 2,000 child migrants who've come to the US in the last year and settled with family in Los Angeles County, pending their court cases in immigration court.

Border agency reports fewer immigrant deaths - Los Angeles Times U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that are migrant deaths have dropped along the Southwest border, despite the fact that the number of people crossing Texas and Arizona went up this summer. But immigrant rights advocates counter that the death toll numbers are down because officials aren't searching for remains. Eddie Canales of the South Texas Human Rights Center said he knew of at least eight men who were missing, left behind a group traveling through in June.


For migrant kids, past traumas are hard to escape — and early intervention is key

Central Americans Undertake Grueling Journey Through Mexico To U.S.

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Central American migrants bound for the United States ride atop a freight train in Mexico. Mental health providers and school officials say it's important to reach recently-arrived child migrants from Central America, many of whom witnessed violence back home and along the way to the U.S.

Once a week in Pico-Union, a group of former child migrants gathers in the community room of a housing complex. They talk about their week: Their lives, their jobs, their relationships — and the emotional scars that dog them as young people who left home on their own at an early age, seeking a better life in the United States.

One 20-year-old, Ulyses, who arrived at 13 says he's haunted by feelings of abandonment from when his mother left him in the care of a friend, when he was still a baby.

Another, a 21-year-old named Oscar, can’t shake the memory of the two exhausted companions he had to leave behind in the Arizona desert back in 2009, when he was 16. He’s convinced they died. Oscar says he's suffered from depression since not long after arriving. While he can work and otherwise function, he's often felt a crushing sense of isolation.


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

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Two young girls watch a World Cup soccer match on TV at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. A new poll of California voters has 48 percent saying that unaccompanied minors who arrived illegally in the U.S. should stay while awaiting immigration hearings; 46 percent say they should be quickly repatriated.

POLITICO poll: GOP has edge on immigration in midterms - Politico A Politico poll finds that "35 percent of voters in the most competitive House and Senate races this fall said they approved of how Obama has dealt with immigration, compared with 64 percent who said they disapproved of the president’s handling of the issue. And by a narrow margin, more voters said they trust the GOP over Democrats on immigration."

Voters split on whether children crossing border illegally should stay - USC News According to a University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll, 48 percent of California voters polled said that unaccompanied minors who entered the U.S. illegally should be allowed to stay "months or years while awaiting a hearing." Forty-six percent said they should be repatriated immediately. Among non-Latino white voters, 44 percent said they should be allowed to stay and 51 percent said they should be repatriated. Among Latinos, 66 percent said they should be able to stay, and 48 percent that they should be sent back.