How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: Children of immigrants speak out, California can move ahead on licenses, Afro-Latinos and the census, more

Report Places Los Angeles At Top Of List For City With Worst Traffic And Smog

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Homeland Security officials have tentatively signed off on a design prototype for California driver's licenses that will be available to immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. The California DMV is to start taking applications in January.

Children of immigrants - New York Times A photo essay on young adult children of immigrants, who share their thoughts on identity. From Akshai Ajit, 21, who is Indian American: "Something that I haven’t been able to call my own lately is my last name, just because I feel like I haven’t earned it. I feel like religion was lost on me because I ate meat and could never speak my parents’ native language, and that was always hard growing up with. I was kind of the black sheep of the family."

California DMV to 'move forward' with immigrant driver's licenses - Southern California Public Radio Homeland Security officials have tentatively signed off on a design prototype for California driver's licenses that will be available to immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. The federal government has rejected a previous design because it was not sufficiently different from standard licenses and didn't comply with federal law. The California DMV is to start taking applications in January.

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California DMV to 'move forward' with immigrant driver's licenses

AB 60 approved design

Courtesy of California DMV


The California Department of Motor Vehicles has finalized the look of its immigrant driver's licenses after some tweaks to the design were met with federal approval. 

"We’re on track to move forward with the design, so we can go to a company who makes the licenses for us," DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez said Friday.

The DMV plans to start taking license applications from immigrants in the country illegally next January.

The Department of Homeland Security had said an earlier version of immigrant driver's licenses did not have enough markings to distinguish it from 'compliant' licenses.  The proposed design included “DP” as in “driving privilege" on the front of the card instead of the typical "DL" for "driver's license."

On Aug. 20, the DMV presented a revised design to DHS, which included the phrase "federal limits apply." The back of the card also made it clear that the card is not to be used for "official federal purposes."

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In immigration news: Budget bill doesn't include courts, LA County cops stick with federal-local enforcement program, more

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Photo by Michael Dorausch via Flickr Creative Commons

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. hopes to a renew its contract for a federal-local enforcement partnership known as 287(g), which the federal government has scaled back in recent years.

Spending Bill Leaves out Immigration Courts - Associated Press From the story: "Congress' must-pass budget bill ignores the Obama administration's request to accelerate spending on immigration courts to handle the flood of unaccompanied minors at the border — even as it boosts spending flexibility for Border Patrol agents and detention centers." The nation's already backlogged immigration court system has been under additional strain as the cases of recently arrived child migrants are prioritized.

County cops seek to renew federal-local immigration enforcement partnership - Southern California Public Radio The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is seeking to renew a voluntary federal-local partnership that deputizes county authorities to screen inmates for immigration status - and possible deportation. L.A. County is one of relatively few counties nationwide to continue participating in the program known as 287(g), scaled back in recent years by the federal government.

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County cops seek to renew federal-local immigration enforcement partnership

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The sign at a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department substation. The agency seeks to renew a federal-local immigration enforcement partnership, which deputizes county authorities to screen inmates for immigration status and possible deportation.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is seeking to renew a federal-local immigration enforcement partnership that deputizes county authorities to screen inmates for immigration status - and possible deportation.

Los Angeles is one of two remaining counties in the state, along with Orange County, to continue participating in the program known as 287(g). The federal government has scaled back the voluntary program in recent years as it's expanded the broader Secure Communities, which 287(g) predates.

If approved by county supervisors, the new federal-local agreement would replace an earlier agreement that's set to expire at the end of September, according to a draft memo. Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida confirmed the department's request to renew its 287(g) contract; she said the Board of Supervisors may vote on it Sept. 23.

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Not just for adults: 80 kids take citizenship oath

Kids naturalization

Josie Huang/KPCC

Luis Litez, a 10-year-old originally from Mexico, takes the oath of citizenship at a special kids' naturalization ceremony in downtown Los Angeles.

Kids Naturalization

Josie Huang/KPCC

Brothers Tim and PJ Parawan pose with their parents and their new citizenship certificates.

Kids naturalization

Josie Huang/KPCC

Eighty children from countries ranging from Iran to El Salvador took citizenship oaths at LA's Central Library.

Kids naturalization

Josie Huang/KPCC

Families could forego a group ceremony, but those attending the event at the Mark Taper Forum at the library wanted a communal experience.


Luis Litez, a 10-year-old from Mexico, lifted his right hand, as he murmured the oath of allegiance to the United States:

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty...."

The oath may have felt like a string of big words, but Litez said afterward it changed him.

"I was not American but I am now," said Litez, who lives in LA. "I'm part of California now."

Eighty children from greater Los Angeles took part in a special "Constitution Week" ceremony at Central Library downtown. They ranged in age from 6 to 17, and come from countries such as Iran, Cambodia, China, Armenia and El Salvador.

Children are eligible for naturalization if their foreign-born parents become citizens, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Orphans can also attain citizenship if they're adopted by Americans.

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