How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Their program under attack, Dreamers fight back

DACA Dreamers under attack

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Dreamers Justino Mora, Pedro Trujillo and Sean Tan (l. to r.) speak out in defense of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at the headquarters of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

DACA Dreamers under attack

Josie Huang/KPCC

As the country grapples with tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing illegally into the U.S., there’s been a lot of finger-pointing as to what’s causing the spike. 

Republicans say lax immigration policies from the Obama administration - namely a program that defers deportation for immigrants who came here illegally as kids - have created the false impression that new arrivals will be allowed to stay. California Congressman Darrell Issa is among the Republicans circulating a letter on Capitol Hill that calls for a repeal of the program.

But participants of the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, say Republicans are playing politics - and refuse to stand down. These young immigrants — often called Dreamers — are staging protests outside Issa’s offices and have launched a Twitter campaign against him and others. One of the hashtags wielded Tuesday was #IssaFail.


In immigration news: Protesters block migrant buses in Murrieta, border agents can be sued in cross-border shootings, more

Border Agents

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Busloads of migrants flown from Texas to Southern California for processing were turned away from a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, Calif. on Tuesday after protesters blocked their path.

Protestors Block Buses of Undocumented Immigrants in Murrieta - NBC 7 San Diego Three busloads of migrants flown to San Diego from Texas were turned back after protesters blocked access to a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, Calif. The migrants, mostly Central American parents with children, had been transferred from busy South Texas border region to a less-busy border sector for processing. Plans to bring them to the Murrieta facility had met resistance from city leaders and some locals; the blocked buses were turned back to San Diego County.

Court: U.S. agents can be sued for cross-border deaths - USA Today A federal court in New Orleans has ruled that the family of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, a 15-year-old Mexican boy killed by a Border Patrol agent who fired into Mexico, has a constitutional right to sue the agent in the United States. The court's decision is "the first nationally to determine the family of someone killed in Mexico had a right to sue in the U.S." It could affect several other cases in which Mexican nationals have been killed by cross-border fire.


In immigration news: Obama hints at executive action, unaccompanied minors and social media, more

Children detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville,Texas.

Eric Gay/AP

Children detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville,Texas. On Monday, President Obama suggested he'd take executive action on immigration, while at the same time asking Congress for funds and authority to expedite deportations and take other steps to mitigate the child migrant crisis. Record numbers of unaccompanied minors from Central America have been arriving at the U.S-Mexico border.

Obama: I'll act on my own on immigration - Associated Press In his address Monday, President Obama blamed Republicans for obstructing progress on immigration reform and hinted he'd take action on immigration on his own, saying "The only thing I can't do is stand by and do nothing." He also called on Congress to grant the administration additional funds and authority to counter the critical mass of unaccompanied minors and families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Social media rumors fuel surge in immigration of minors - Southern California Public Radio How a combination of violence in Central America, family ties between there and the United States, a law designed to help trafficking victims that works to protect Central American kids, and miscommunication via social media all form part of the mass migration of unaccompanied minors and families with children from Central America to the U.S.


Report: More native-born Latinos, and more Asian immigrants

A poster designating a polling station at a school


A multilingual poster outside a polling station in East Los Angeles. California is home the nation's largest populations of both Latinos and Asian Americans. While Latino population growth is now being riven by native births, Asian American population growth is still chiefly driven by immigration.

The nation's Asian American and Latino populations are both on the rise, but for different reasons, according to a new analysis of census data from the Pew Research Center.

Although their numbers are smaller, Asian Americans have surpassed Latinos as the fastest growing racial-ethnic group in the United States. This growth is mostly fueled by immigration: Seventy-four percent of Asian adults in the U.S. in 2012 were foreign-born. Just between 2012 and 2013, according to the report, international migration accounted for roughly 61 percent of the change in this group's population.

It's just the opposite with Latinos, whose foreign-born share has stalled as native-born Latinos predominate. From the Pew analysis:

U.S. births have been the primary driving force behind the increase in the Hispanic population since 2000 and that trend continued between 2012 and 2013. The Census Bureau estimates that natural increase (births minus deaths) accounted for 78% of the total change in the U.S. Hispanic population from 2012 to 2013.


In immigration news: Reform requiem, California AG urges compliance with TRUST Act, deportation rules, more

Activists Protest For Immigration Reform

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Protestors demonstrate calling for immigration reform in front of the Illinois GOP headquarters in Chicago on June 27, 2013, the day that the U.S. Senate approved a sweeping immigration reform bill. But after strong resistance from House Republicans, the bill has been stalled since.

Immigration reform effectively dead until after Obama leaves office, both sides say - Washington Post A year after the Senate approved a landmark immigration reform bill, many supporters of an immigration overhaul are by now accepting that such a plan won't happen in the near future. The failure of any reform legislation to make it through Congress after strong House GOP resistance "marks the end of an effort that both Democrats and Republicans have characterized as central to the future of their parties."

White House may delay easing deportation rules due to influx of minors - Los Angeles Times From the story: "An official familiar with the discussion says the administration has slowed plans to announce revisions to deportation policies, including one that would stop most deportations of foreigners with no criminal convictions other than immigration violations." The revisions had been forthcoming after a Homeland Security review of the administration's deportation practices.