How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Deportation deferrals expiring, immigrants seek to renew status

Deferred Action

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Siblings Gabriel, Angel and Teresita Amador (l. to r.) attend a workshop on applying for deferred action in 2012.

As the Obama administration struggles with an influx of migrant children at the Southwest border, its program to help young people brought to the country illegally years earlier is reaching the two-year mark. 

More than half a million young adults have been able to avoid deportations under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program that started Aug. 2012.

Deportation deferrals under the program are good for two years– and beginning next month – they will come up for renewal. Immigrants under the program, often called DACA, must reapply or lose this special status.

At the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles, legal assistant Diego Coaguila, said DACA recipients started the renewal process in June.

“We’re seeing at steady number of folks renewing – at least 10 a week,” Coaguila said.


In immigration news: Protests, funding for the border crisis, new GOP demands



A young girl waits for her family in Honduras July 2, 2014, after being deported from the US. Some Republican lawmakers want to change immigration law to make it as easy to deport children from Central America as those from contiguous countries.

As Immigration Crisis Grows, A Protest Movement Gains Steam - NPR Several hundred anti-illegal immigration protests will take place throughout the country Friday and Saturday. They're being fueled by the federal governments efforts to temporarily house the tens of thousands of migrant children who've traveled without their parents to the U.S. Critics of housing the children have said they are bringing disease, and argue that the country should be taking care of homegrown problems.

Parties' differences dim hopes for speedy funding of immigration steps - Dallas Morning News  Republicans are resisting President Obama's $3.7 billion plan to deal with unaccompanied children at the border. There are just a couple weeks left before Congress breaks for five weeks. House Speaker John Boehner on passing something before Aug. 1: “I would certainly hope so, but I don’t have as much optimism as I would like to have.”   


OC history: Japanese-American site makes 'Most Endangered' list


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Sue Gordon of Rainbow Environmental Services, current owner of the former Furuta property, walks behind the family's bungalow.


Courtesy Mary Adams Urashima

Yukiko and Charles Furuta pose for a photo in March 1913 in front of their new bungalow. They were the rare Japanese family to own property at that time.


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The Furuta bungalow has sat empty since the 2000's. Preservationists are hoping to raise funds to stabilize this and other structures on the property.


Courtesy of Mary Adams Urashima

Yukiko and Charles Furuta with their four daughters and son.


Courtesy of Mary Adams Urashima

Charles Furuta had one of the country's first goldfish farms. The rectangular pools of fish took up most of the property, which is just under five acres.


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Cactus and shrub now grow where the Furuta family used to farm goldfish and grow flowers.


Courtesy of Mary Adams Urashima

After World War II, the Furutas switched to growing water lilies and sweet peas.


Courtesy of Mary Adams Urashima

Charles Furuta agreed to set aside a portion of his property for the creation of a Japanese Presbyterian church that served Orange County's growing immigrant population.


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The Presbyterian church and the manse for the minister have fallen into disrepair.


Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

A mural is painted on the now-vacant Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church.


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Sue Gordon, left, of Rainbow Environmental Services, and Mary Urashima, a local preservationist and author of Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, stand inside the barn on the former Furuta property. Urashima is working to secure funds to turn the location into a permanent historic site.


Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

Rusted equipment lies next to rows of cactus where the Furutas used to farm.

Huntington Beach is known as “Surf City, USA." But preservationists say it’s also home to a vital piece of Japanese-American history — a rare, intact settlement that captures immigrant life through the twentieth century.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has put the property of Japanese goldfish farmer Charles Furuta on a list of the country's 11 most endangered historic places. The site, located in an area once known as Wintersburg Village, is the only West Coast location, and represents Orange County's first-ever appearance on the list.

"We really feel that (the property) is absolutely unique," said Kevin Sanada of the L.A. office of the preservation trust. "It captures multiple generations of Japanese-American history in the West, basically from the immigration of the late 19th century all the way to the return from incarceration at the internment camps of World War II." 


In immigration news: Border states, White House leak, hosting unaccompanied children

dsb nola/Flickr Creative Commons

A growing number of states are offeringin-state tuition to college students in the country illegally.

57,000 Reasons Immigration Overhaul May Be Stalled for Now - New York Times  The influx of 57,o00 unaccompanied migrant children over the last year is forcing Pres. Obama to revamp his approach to immigration reform, as he faces criticism from within his own party. U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and members of the Hispanic Caucus say they will fight his plan to speed up the deportations of children. Obama advisers who had been helping him shape the executive action he would take on immigration are now being diverted to handle the border crisis.    

Border states think immigration is a much bigger problem than the rest of the country - Washington Post New Gallup polling shows that Americans — particularly those in the border states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas — think that immigration is the country's "most important issue."  The poll also found that a higher percentage of residents in those border states — 41 percent — approve of how Pres. Obama is handling the border crisis than those living in non-border states. Meanwhile "small majorities in both border and non-border states support a $3.7 billion proposal by Obama to speed up deportation hearings and provide care for unaccompanied children while they wait."


In immigration news: Transnational gangs and the Central American migrant crisis, anatomy of a racial slur, more

An elite police officer arrests an alleg


An elite police officer arrests an alleged member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang in San Juan Opico, La Libertad, 40 km West of San Salvador, El Salvador on April 10, 2008. U.S. deportation policies in recent decades have resulted in large numbers of former U.S. gang members landing in El Salvador and other Central American countries; now, many families and children are fleeing gang violence there.

Transnational gangs: The Central American migrant crisis' LA connection - Southern California Public Radio Much of the gang violence that children and families in Central America are fleeing from lately, arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, isn't rooted in that region. It's in fact rooted in the United States, particularly in Los Angeles, part of a long and complicated history between this country and Central America in which U.S. deportation policies figure prominently.

Poll: Obama, Republicans face broad disapproval over handling of migrant crisis - Washington Post According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, "nearly 6 out of 10 Americans are not happy with Obama’s performance in dealing with the tens of thousands of minors who have arrived from Central America in recent months, overwhelming Border Patrol stations. All told, 58 percent disapprove of his management on the issue, including 54 percent of Latinos."