How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: Preparations for executive action, a looming political battle, legal providers brace themselves, more

Immigrants And Activists Protest Obama Response To Child Immigration Crisis

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Young children join immigration reform protesters while marching in front of the White House on July 7, 2014 in Washington, D.C. It's still not clear just what sort of executive action President Obama will announce on immigration as early as this week, but the most controversial aspect stands to be protection from deportation for a larger group of immigrants.

What We Know -- And Don't Know -- About Obama's Imminent Immigration Action - ABC News It's still not clear just what President Obama will announce on immigration, but the most controversial aspect stands to be protection from deportation for more immigrants. It's expected that the president "is prepared to expand a 2012 program – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – that has so far shielded more than half a million young immigrants from deportation." But like with deferred action, an expansion that includes more immigrants isn't expected to lead to U.S. citizenship.

Executive order on immigration would ignite a political firestorm - Washington Post Republicans, who gained seats in the House and Senate in this month's elections, are preparing for a bitter fight over executive action on immigration. From the story: "At a news conference held the day after the midterm elections, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the incoming Senate majority leader, compared Obama’s signing of an executive order on immigration to 'waving a red flag in front of a bull.' ”


Legal service providers brace for an Obama immigration plan



This August 15, 2012 file photo shows young people waiting in line to enter the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) office, on the first day of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Legal service providers who handle immigration cases for little or no cost are bracing themselves for the workload if President Obama extends protection from deportation to more immigrants.

Legal service providers who handle immigration cases for little or no cost are bracing themselves for the workload if President Obama takes action to curb deportations.

An announcement from the White House on immigration is expected as early as this week. It's still not clear just who would benefit from a legalization plan: The Pew Research Center has calculated that if protection is extended to the parents of U.S.-born children who have lived in the country for 10 years or more, for example, some 2.8 million adults could be eligible. If the plan extends to children under 18 who are in the U.S. illegally, eligible minors could number as many as 650,000.

In any case, local pro-bono and low-cost legal providers are preparing themselves for what could turn into a rush of applicants.


US introduces new policy on Central American child refugees

Central Americans Freed By Border Patrol Depart For Destinations Around The U.S.

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The US will accept more Central American children as refugees under a new plan announced by Vice President Joe Biden.

Starting next month, some Central American immigrants will be allowed to petition to bring their children as refugees, as part of a new State Department program intended to help stem the tide of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

But immigration advocates question whether the new program will help many people. It stipulates that any parent seeking refugee status for a child must be a legal resident in the U.S., and the child must be under 21 and still living in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras.

"It’s a good measure for those who might benefit from it,"  said Tessie Borden of the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles. "But in the end, we’re not sure it’s going to make a big difference in terms of big numbers."

The migrant children will be considered for refugee status along with Columbians and Cubans. Currently, 4,000 spots are available each fiscal year.


In immigration news: Executive action, legislative blowback, planned GOP border bill, CA driver's licenses, more

President Obama speaks about the Ebola epidemic Thursday at United Nations headquarters in New York.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

As the Obama administration prepares to announce plans for executive action on immigration, perhaps as early as next week, GOP leaders are considering ways to block it. There's been talk of a border bill, as well as a possible government shutdown.

Obama Said to Plan Moves to Shield 5 Million Immigrants - New York Times According to administration officials, President Obama's plan to act on immigration without Congress could "order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away."

Could immigration cause another government shutdown? - CNN GOP leaders warn there could be another government shutdown if President Obama takes executive action on immigration. From the story: "The House and Senate need to pass a measure during the lame duck session to fund federal agencies, which will run out of money in mid-December. House conservatives are pressing Speaker John Boehner to attach language to the spending bill that would block any money for federal agencies to give out any new visas or green cards."


MTA postpones vote on Mariachi Plaza development until early next year

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Mariachi Plaza's "kiosko," with the historic Boyle Hotel in the background.

A plan to build new retail and office space at the iconic Mariachi Plaza in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights has been put on hold until February. The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board opted on Thursday to postpone a planned vote on the contract approval for developers to build roughly 120,000 square feet of retail and medical office space surrounding the plaza at First and Boyle, which since 2009 has been a Metro Gold Line stop.

MTA spokesman Mark Littman said the motion to postpone was introduced by County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who sits on the MTA board.

"People expressed concerns that they needed more time," Littman said. He added that waiting until early next year would allow additional time for community input on the planned development. The board also held off on approving development contracts for planned affordable housing at two nearby Metro Gold Line stations, Littman said.