How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Get-out-the-vote, LA style: Phone bank operators work in 17 Asian languages

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Volunteers at a phone bank organized by Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles are trying to reach voters in 17 different languages.

In an office building near downtown Los Angeles, a couple dozen volunteers recently worked their way through lists of Asian American registered voters – young voters, newly registered voters, and voters who have a poor track record of participation. They wanted to know if people on the list planned to vote in November and took the opportunity to urge them to get to the polls.

In one corner of the room, a volunteer spoke Mandarin, in another, a young woman offered to speak Urdu to the voter on the line. From a room down the hall, Vietnamese and Tagalog could be heard. 

“We’re actually doing one of the largest phone bank operations, not necessarily in voter numbers, but in language numbers,” said Tanzila Ahmed, one of the organizers and voter engagement manager for Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a local civil rights and civic engagement group that’s coordinating the effort.


In immigration news: Fewer immigration holds, new detention center for families, more

ICE Holds Immigrants At Adelanto Detention Facility

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A growing number of police agencies are denying federal requests for immigration holds on immigrants in their custody; immigration officials say some agencies have released people with previous criminal convictions.

Thousands Released After Immigration Holds Denied - Associated Press From the story: "Immigration officials say local authorities across the U.S. released thousands of immigrants from jails this year despite efforts to take them into federal custody, including more than 3,000 with previous felony charges or convictions. The numbers are the first time federal immigration authorities have publicly detailed how many times local agencies have refused to comply with their requests." A growing number of local agencies are denying requests for federal immigration holds on immigrants in their custody.

Texas Center Part Of New Effort To Detain Illegal Immigrants - NPR On the new 2,400-bed detention center for immigrant families being built in Dilley, Texas: "It's actually a detention camp. But it's going to be family-friendly because they're going to obviously be detaining the children, too. So they're will be playrooms and snacks and drinks, basketball court, soccer field. But it's surrounded by a fence and locked gates, so they can't leave."


In immigration news: Haitian family reunification, Kansas election battle, unaccompanied minors, more

Mercer 2566

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Haitian earthquake victims swarm around a relief truck to collect food in Leogan in 2010 after a massive quake shattered the country.

Obama administration to allow thousands of Haitians to legally enter United States - Miami Herald The Department of Homeland Security is allowing thousands of Haitians to reunite with family in the US up to two years sooner than many expected. The announcement applies to Haitians who already have been approved for family-based immigrant visas, and is timed to the upcoming fifth anniversary of the massive Jan. 2010 earthquake that devastated the country. But some advocates said the Obama administration could do more. The new initiative doesn't "immediately the approximately 100,000 Haitians whose I-130 visas have already been approved for a potential green card." 

Democrats target an immigration warrior in Kansas - Politico Democrats, with the help of some moderate Republicans are trying to take back Kansas, and may have GOP Sec. of State Kris Kobach in their cross-hairs. Kobach is a hero of the right on immigration, having helped craft the "the highly contentious Arizona immigration law, urged Mitt Romney to advocate for “self-deportation” and has been the driving force behind Kansas’ far-reaching voter ID law, which requires not just identification but also proof of citizenship." A recent poll put Kobach ahead of his Democratic rival by six percentage points. 


In immigration news: Honduran deportees, Latino voters and the midterms, tech company pushes immigration 'TurboTax,' more

Hondurans flee violence, then are deported by U.S. to face more, rights group charges - Washington Post A report from the advocacy group Human Rights Watch charges that people being deported to Honduras from the U.S. face serious harm, and that "adults who flee gang violence in Honduras and reach the U.S. border illegally are being swiftly screened and deported back to dangerous conditions without adequate opportunity to explain why they fear being sent home."

Another Ariz. immigration law shot down by 9th Circuit - Arizona Republic The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled unconstitutional a 2006 Arizona state law known as Proposition 100, which denied bond to immigrants in the U.S. illegally who were charged with "serious" crimes. The law had previously been upheld by a district court judge in Phoenix.


In immigration news: Ebola as political border threat, the complexity of 287(g), a binational family, more

Health Care Worker In Dallas Tests Positive For Ebola Virus

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A hazmat worker prepares to enter an apartment where a second person diagnosed with the Ebola virus resides on October 13, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. Meanwhile in politics, some have been invoking Ebola as as the latest border threat.

Scott Brown: Anyone with Ebola can ‘walk across’ our ‘porous’ border - Washington Post The latest political border threat may be moving from ISIS terrorists to disease in the wake of Ebola virus. From the piece: "Case in point: Scott Brown, who is running against Senator Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire. In an interview with WGIR radio...Brown was asked whether he favored travel restrictions on some passengers in and out of West Africa. He replied: '...For example, we have people coming into our country by legal means bringing in diseases and other potential challenges. Yet we have a border that’s so porous that anyone can walk across it.'"

Complex rules govern LA Sheriff's Dept. partnership with ICE, triggering criticism - Southern California Public Radio  Now that the Los Angeles County board of supervisors has voted to renew a controversial federal-local partnership known as 287(g), Sheriff's Department officials say they'll focus on identifying and detaining only immigrant jail inmates convicted of felonies and serious crimes. But who gets identified and turned over to to immigration agents hasn't always been well defined; some critics say the rules still aren't specific enough, and misconceptions abound.