High Expectations for Latino Vote

June 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Following the “disappointing” U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it was divided 4-4 and therefore a lower case decision blocking President Obama’s plan to expand the relief from deportation to the undocumented parents of U.S. born citizens and permanent residents will stand, activists say the future of immigration reform could now depend on the Latino vote.

If judges had overturned the Fifth Circuit’s decision in U.S, v. Texas, as many as 4 million undocumented immigrants would have been shielded from deportation and allowed to obtain work permits under Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs announced in November 2014.

Lea este artículo en Español: Hay Altas Expetativas en el Voto Latino

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has said she supports Obama’s immigration programs, while Donald Trump, the GOP’s presumptive nominee, says he will deport all undocumented immigrants if elected president.

Latinos are the second fastest growing group in the U.S. and according to political analysts, Trump needs to get 47% of the Latino vote if he hopes to win the White House in November.

In California, nearly one in every four registered voters (24%) is Latino. There are also 1.5 million legal permanent residents who are Latino and eligible to become citizens, but have not yet started the process, which among other benefits would give them the right to vote, something immigration rights activists are counting on.

Araceli Quijada, 54, has been a legal permanent resident for 36 years. The Boyle Heights resident says health issues and lack of time have kept her from applying for citizenship, but “I hope to do it this year,” she told EGP in Spanish.

Maria Montoya said she hasn't become a U.S. citizen out of fear. (Claudia Carrasco)

Maria Montoya said she hasn’t become a U.S. citizen out of fear. (Claudia Carrasco)

83-year old Maria Montoya has been a legal permanent resident for 15 years and says she fears the citizenship process. “At my age, it is difficult to learn the questionnaire in English,” she told EGP in Spanish.

Told twice —by nonprofit Hermandad Mexicana and a lawyer—that she had to take the written and oral tests in English, she decided not to apply, noting that it’s hard to find the right kind of help for someone of her age.

A recent analysis by the Willian C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) showed “anemic growth” of Spanish Surname voters in California.

The analysis, using information from Political Data, Inc, showed a 3.1% increase – from 4.11 million to 4.24 million – in Spanish Surname voters between April 2015 and June 2016.

The numbers show the trends in Latino participation, WCVI President Antonio Gonzalez told EGP, explaining the increase in “net new voters.”

“Many more new Spanish Surname voters are registered to vote but they are not in that ‘net total’ either because they moved and didn’t re-register, left the state or passed away, shrinking the number of California Spanish Surname registered voters prior to the June 7 Primary Election, he said.

However, NALEO Educational Fund Spokesperson, Paula Valle told EGP the number of new Latino voters may be higher, adding they expect more than 3,839,000 Latinos in California to vote in the November Presidential Election.

“This would mark a 22 percent increase in Latino turnout in the state from Election 2012, and a 12 percent increase in the Latino share of the vote in the state from Election 2012,” she said.
Both agree a bigger effort to mobilize the Latino vote in California is needed.

“… Scant resources have found their way to Latino registration groups early in the election cycle despite promises from national funding sources as well as parties and candidates,” opined Gonzalez. He said increases in overall voter registration “was likely among non-Latinos and/or reflected lots of re-registrations of those who had moved.”

Of the total projected number of eligible Latino voters in the U.S. in 2016, about 44% or 27.3 million are millennials, between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Eligible voting age unregistered Latinos will usually register to vote if they are directly contacted,” but they won’t register if they do not feel a connection to the political/electoral process, explained Gonzalez about the unmet voting potential.

Pro-immigrant activists hope that Latino Vote can change the future of immigration reform. (CHIRLA)

Pro-immigrant activists hope that Latino Vote can change the future of immigration reform. (CHIRLA)

Organizations are not focusing exclusively on Latinos and are spending more time on voter education than actual voter registration, Gonzalez told EGP, adding that they are exaggerating their success to please donors.

Research conducted by the National Immigration Forum found that 91% of legal permanent residents want to become U.S. citizens, but 61% have never received information about the process.

The New Americans Campaign—a coalition of several nonprofits that assist in the naturalization process—helps to bridge that information gap and show legal permanent residents that becoming a citizen isn’t as expensive or as difficult as they think, Communications Associate Meredith Brandt told EGP.

Becoming a U.S. citizen brings it’s own benefits, including the right to vote, she pointed out.

“This right gives immigrant communities the power to voice their priorities on all issues that affect their families and their communities,” she said.

32-year old Claudia Carrasco, a permanent resident for 14 years, told EGP she’s lately become more interested in becoming a citizen.

“I’m still shocked that even with [Trump’s] racist remarks and bigoted comments towards all minorities, he was chosen as the republican nominee” for president, she told EGP.

Carrasco won’t be able to vote in November but says she plans to campaign for the Democratic ticket. She agrees that Latinos who don’t speak English need more information about the importance of citizenship and voting.

Gonzalez says he hopes WCVI’s study will help give community leaders the information they need to address California’s problem of slow growth in Latino voter registration.

The number crunchers say Latinos are cynical about voting because they don’t see anything being done to counter attacks against them, said Gonzalez. “Maybe we are…but is the response to that really going to be nothing? We hope not, because between our size and the number of growing eligible voters, the power to change this is already ours.”

 

For more information about how to become a citizen visit:

The New Americans Campaign

NALEO or call its toll-free bilingual hotline (888) 839-8682

—-

Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

Supreme Court Deadlocks on DAPA and Extended DACA

June 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Local immigration-rights activists expressed disappointment today in the U.S. Supreme Court’s inability to reach a decision on President Barack Obama’s effort to expand deportation protection to millions of parents of U.S.-born children, but they vowed to continue fighting for change in immigration policy.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision blocking President Obama’s executive action on immigration means that the estimated 1 million undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles County, one in every 10 Los Angeles residents, will be denied the ability to work with the safety of legal authorization and protection from deportation”, said Rusty Hicks, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

“We in the Los Angeles labor movement will not let this legal setback deter our work on the ground”, Hicks said. “We stand in support of all workers exercising their rights on the job and in the community. We will continue to support immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, in seeking a better wage, better workplace conditions and protection from wage theft that is running rampant throughout our country”.

Immigrants and activists said to be disappointed for SCOTUS decision on DACA and DAPA. (CHIRLA)

Immigrants and activists said to be disappointed for SCOTUS decision on DACA and DAPA. (CHIRLA)

Obama’s executive action, announced two years ago, would have allowed immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents to request relief from deportation and authorization to work for three years. To qualify, they must have been in the country for more than five years, pass a criminal background check, pay fees and show that their child was born prior to the issuance of the executive order.

Once qualified, they would have also had to pay taxes.

The order also would have expanded the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, by removing the upper age limit of 30. The DACA program would have been amended to offer three years of protection from deportation, up from the previous two years.

The actions were challenged in court by officials in several states, and a lower court judge issued an order blocking the actions, leading to the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation’s highest court — still short one member—split today 4-4, meaning the lower court ruling remains in effect.

“Justice turned its back to millions today and the politics of obstruction and xenophobia have triumphed instead,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

“A dark sunset approaches our land when justice, compassion and respect for history are ignored by a divided court.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was disappointed in the court’s inability to reach a decision, saying it will create uncertainty for immigrant families that could be split up by deportation.

“That’s not what America stands for,” he said. “No matter what happens in Washington, the city of Los Angeles remains committed to supporting all families.”

El Gobierno Favorece Deportaciones de Indocumentados

May 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

El Gobierno se mantiene firme en sus políticas de deportaciones de indocumentados y está centrando sus esfuerzos en expulsar a los inmigrantes que hayan cruzado la frontera en el último año y medio, indicó recientemente a Efe la portavoz del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS), Marsha Catron.

La vocera del DHS explicó que los individuos que se encuentran bajo el ojo de las autoridades migratorias son aquellos que cruzaron la frontera después del 1 de enero de 2014, han recibido una orden final de deportación de una corte de inmigración y no tienen pendiente ninguna petición de asilo humanitario.

Entre esos indocumentados que llegaron a EEUU en el último año y medio, se encuentran los miles de niños que cruzaron sin acompañante la frontera durante el verano de 2014 intentado huir de la violencia y la falta de oportunidades económicas de sus países de origen, en su mayoría El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras.

La gran llegada de niños a EEUU en el verano de 2014 desató una crisis migratoria sin precedentes en la frontera suroeste.

“Como hemos dicho en repetidas ocasiones, el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional debe hacer cumplir la ley en consonancia con nuestras prioridades. Nuestra máxima prioridad es la seguridad pública y la seguridad fronteriza”, resaltó Catron.
De esta forma, el Gobierno reaccionó a unas informaciones periodísticas que apuntan a un nuevo plan de las autoridades migratorias para deportar en mayo y junio a una gran cantidad de madres y niños indocumentados, que han entrado en EEUU de forma ilegal y proceden en su mayoría de Centroamérica.

Esas informaciones provocaron el rechazo de tres congresistas demócratas del Congreso de EEUU, Bernie Sanders, aspirante presidencial demócrata, y varias organizaciones pro inmigrantes como la Coalición pro Derechos del Inmigrante en Los Ángeles (CHIRLA) y el Movimiento para una Reforma Migratoria Justa (FIRM, en inglés).

“Me opongo a la acción dolorosa e inhumana de encerrar a las familias que han huido de la violencia terrible de Centroamérica y de otros países. Enviar a esa gente de vuelta al dolor está mal”, resaltó Sanders en un comunicado.
El senador por Vermont urgió a Obama a que extienda a todos los inmigrantes de Centroamérica el Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS, en inglés), unos permisos que el Gobierno concede de forma extraordinaria a los nacionales de países afectados por conflictos bélicos o desastres naturales.

Por su parte, tres legisladores demócratas, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Zoe Lofgren y Luis Gutiérrez, informaron en un comunicado de que han pedido más información a la Casa Blanca y al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional para saber si las deportaciones tienen como objetivo a mujeres y niños.

“Llevar a cabo este tipo de acciones contra mujeres y niños que han huido de la violencia y que se enfrentarán a la violencia si vuelven, no solo es hipócrita, sino que es claramente cruel”, consideraron los congresistas en un comunicado.

Por su parte, la portavoz de FIRM, Kica Matos, una de las organizaciones más combativas contra las deportaciones, calificó el plan de Obama de “indignante, horrible e inaceptable”.
Las autoridades migratorias ya apresaron en enero de este año a 121 inmigrantes indocumentados en diferentes operaciones en los estados de Georgia, Texas y Carolina del Norte, según informó entonces un portavoz de la Oficina de Inmigración y Aduanas.

Advocates Gather to Support Obama’s Immigration Orders

April 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

On the day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the issue, Southland immigration advocates rallied Monday in support of President Barack Obama’s executive orders extending deportation protection to an estimated 4 million people.

Dozens of activists gathered in front of the federal building in downtown Los Angeles, waving signs and chanting slogans such as “We are America.”

“We are waiting on this decision,” Polo Morales of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles told the crowd.”

Morales said the immigration issue should be on the minds of politicians, and their position on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is already in place to protect children who were brought to the country by their parents from deportation, will factor heavily among immigrant voters.

A pro-immigrant group gathered Monday morning to support DACA and DAPA (Courtesy of Catherine Lyons)

A pro-immigrant group gathered Monday morning to support DACA and DAPA (Courtesy of Catherine Lyons)

“This is what we’re talking about—the folks that are here that are benefiting from this program have citizen children that are eligible to vote,” he said. “So if you’re talking about getting rid of this program you’re also talking about the future of the next election. So how you talk about this program and how you support immigrants is going to (determine) whether you take that seat in the White House or not.”

In May 2015, a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel in New Orleans upheld an injunction issued in February by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas. That injunction was issued in response to lawsuits filed by 26 states seeking to halt Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

Those states argued that Obama overstepped his legal authority when he took the executive actions, insisting he does not have the ability to unilaterally set immigration policy.

The legal wrangling has suspended implementation of a program that would extend work permits and protection against deportation to parents of U.S.-born children and expand the existing program for immigrants who arrived illegally as children. The programs—often referred to by their acronyms, DAPA and DACA—would affect an estimated half-million Angelenos.

The three-justice panel ruled that the states had sufficient legal ground to bring suit and that the administration failed to show it would be harmed by further delays.

Los Angeles and nearly 120 other cities and counties across the country signed on to legal pleadings in support of Obama’s programs.

“Without the guidance, millions of families in our cities and counties face the threat of deportation, destabilizing our communities and jeopardizing the welfare of families and children,” according to the brief, which was co-drafted by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and New York City counterparts.

The brief also points to the potential “economic harm” of not allowing taxpaying immigrants to work and stay in the country. Obama’s executive policies are expected to inject as much as $800 million in “economic benefits” to state and local governments, according to the brief.

Local elected officials raised their voices in support of Obama’s actions.

“The Supreme Court decision that will stem from today’s oral arguments will affect millions of aspiring Americans who have already put down roots in our communities and are contributing to our economy,” said Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena. “Tearing those families apart would be costly and contrary to our nation’s values. That is why members of Congress, governors, mayors and legal scholars from across the country have spoken out in support of these actions.”

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, called Obama’s actions local and humane.

“If these actions take effect, more qualified immigrants will be able to come out of the shadows and contribute to our nation,” she said. “More families will be able to live in peace, free from fears of being torn apart.”

The executive actions have been met with opposition from Republicans, who insist that Congress is responsible for crafting immigration laws.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich said earlier this year the Supreme Court should find the president “clearly lacks statutory authority to change the law without Congressional action.”

While Antonovich said he supports legal immigration as “vital to our nation’s economy and culture,” he added that “illegal immigration costs county taxpayers nearly $2 billion dollars a year and siphons resources away from services for legal immigrants and county residents.”

Alertan a Personas Acerca de Sofisticadas Estafas de Inmigración e Impuestos

February 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Las estafas en casos de inmigración e impuestos son cada vez más sofisticadas con el fin de engañar a la comunidad inmigrante, se informó la semana pasada en una reunión para advertir sobre las más recientes tendencias de engaños.

La Coalición por los Derechos Humanos de los Inmigrantes de Los Ángeles (CHIRLA) celebró la sesión de advertencia con la participación del jefe de investigación del Departamento de Asuntos del Consumidor del condado de Los Ángeles, Rigoberto Reyes, y el testimonio de dos inmigrantes.

“Hay que poner mucho ojo a cualquier oferta que pareciera muy jugosa como para ser verdad”, declaró a Efe Jorge Mario Cabrera, director de comunicaciones de CHIRLA.

Reyes recordó que todas las personas tienen derechos y ofreció los recursos que tiene su departamento para presentar quejas o denunciar este tipo de fraudes.

Igualmente insistió en que solamente los abogados titulados con licencia pueden realizar trámites de legalización de inmigrantes en contraposición con los notarios que, en Estados Unidos, no tienen esa función.

“Los errores migratorios no solamente cuestan dinero sino que pueden dar fin al Sueño Americano”, comentó Reyes.

María, una inmigrante indocumentada de Albuquerque, Nuevo México, presentó su testimonio telefónicamente explicando que luego de haber dado su información para recibir un curso gratuito de inglés fue víctima de un intento de estafa.

La inmigrante recibió una llamada donde le decían que debía dinero al estado y que si no pagaba la iban a deportar, pero que si mandaba el dinero en una orden de pago la iba a defender la conocida abogada Jessica Domínguez.

“Se trata de un fraude complicado porque tienen el teléfono de alguien que pidió un servicio para mejorar y están usando el nombre de una abogada reconocida”, comentó Cabrera.

María contactó a las autoridades y a la abogada de Los Ángeles y comprobó que la amenaza no era cierta.

Por su parte, Reina, una mujer salvadoreña recibió una carta con el logotipo del departamento de inmigración informándole que tenía 30 días para salir del país.

No obstante, la comunicación llegó en un sobre no oficial y con una estampilla de correo, que las agencias federales no tienen necesidad de utilizar.

Cabrera anotó que con el “aumento de las redadas enfocadas en los centroamericanos y el hecho de que la Corte Suprema pronto va a fallar el caso de la DAPA y la extensión de DACA”, tanto la comunidad centroamericana como los posibles beneficiarios de las medidas administrativas pueden ser más vulnerables a las ofertas fraudulentas.

El activista recomendó que “antes de procesar cualquier documento se acerquen a una organización comunitaria de confianza o a un abogado, que aunque haya que pagar una consulta es mejor pagar una cantidad pequeña y no entregar miles de dólares a alguien que los va a defraudar”.

“Ya que hemos venido a este país para mejorar nuestras vidas y para tener un mejor futuro, no caigamos presa de estos traficantes de dinero y de esperanzas”, concluyó el representante de CHIRLA.

 

Miles Esperan Decisión de la Corte Suprema Sobre Alivio Migratorio

January 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

El Tribunal Supremo tiene en sus manos el futuro migratorio del país y el de más de cinco millones de indocumentados que podrían evitar la deportación si la máxima corte acepta este viernes considerar el caso de las acciones ejecutivas del presidente Barack Obama y falla a su favor.

Ya durante su campaña presidencial de 2008, Obama se comprometió a solucionar los problemas derivados de un sistema migratorio que todo el espectro político coincide en que está “roto”, sin embargo, los republicanos en el Congreso no han permitido que en sus siete años de mandato se aprobara una reforma integral del mismo.

Así pues, el mandatario demócrata decidió hacer uso de su poder ejecutivo para al menos evitar la deportación de varios millones de indocumentados, una postura que, según los conservadores, ha cruzado los límites constitucionales.

Primero, favoreció a los jóvenes inmigrantes llegados al país cuando eran niños en 2012 con la llamada acción diferida o DACA, para ampliar dichas exenciones en 2014 a los padres inmigrantes de ciudadanos o residentes (DAPA), unas medidas que pretenden, en palabras de la Casa Blanca, “dar prioridad a la deportación de criminales, y no a las familias”.

Liderados por Texas, un total de 26 estados -la mayoría gobernados por republicanos- presentaron una demanda contra las acciones ejecutivas del presidente que provocó el bloqueo de su puesta en marcha en febrero del año pasado.

El Departamento de Justicia anunció en noviembre que llevaría el caso al Alto Tribunal por estar en desacuerdo con la decisión de la Corte del Quinto Circuito de Apelaciones, con sede en Nueva Orleans, que decidió mantener la suspensión de las medidas tras meses de deliberación.

“El Departamento de Justicia mantiene su compromiso de tomar medidas que resuelvan el litigio sobre inmigración lo antes posible (…), dando prioridad a la deportación de los peores delincuentes, y no a las personas que tienen vínculos de larga duración con EEUU y que están criando niños estadounidenses”, aseguró el portavoz del Departamento, Patrick Rodenbush.

La decisión del Gobierno de plantear el caso ante el Supremo era muy esperada por activistas e inmigrantes, y alienta una batalla potencial sobre las políticas de inmigración del presidente en medio de un año electoral que desembocará en los comicios presidenciales del próximo 8 de noviembre.

Varios grupos de activistas proinmigrantes, como Casa de Maryland, se reunirán frente a la sede del Tribunal Supremo en Washington a la misma hora en la que los jueces deberán hacer público si toman o no a consideración el asunto, con el objetivo de subrayar su impacto social.

La llamada Acción Diferida (DACA) ha protegido de la deportación desde 2012 a más de medio millón de jóvenes que entraron al país siendo niños y el plan DAPA, anunciado por el presidente a finales del año pasado y que aún no se ha puesto en marcha, beneficiaría a padres de ciudadanos estadounidenses o de residentes legales.

Cada año, la máxima instancia judicial del país recibe aproximadamente 10.000 peticiones, pero solo admite a trámite entre 75 y 80 casos, según datos oficiales de la corte.

Consciente de ello, en su recurso, el Gobierno pidió al Supremo que “encarecidamente” garantice “la inmediata revisión” del caso por su “enorme importancia” y “el irreparable daño” que el retraso de la implementación de las medidas causará a sus posibles beneficiarios, cinco de los 11 millones de indocumentados que hay en el país.

Si el Alto Tribunal admite la consideración de las acciones ejecutivas, el fallo sobre las mismas tendría lugar antes de que acabe el mes de junio, coincidiendo con el comienzo de la recta final de las elecciones presidenciales.

Groups to Offer Sanctuary to Central American Families Facing Deportation

December 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Local religious leaders and activists said Tuesday they will offer sanctuary to Central American families in the country illegally if President Barack Obama’s administration moves forward with plans to deport them.

During a news conference at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles headquarters, activists vowed to form a “circle of protection” around immigrants, who say their lives would be in danger if they are returned to their native countries.

Noel Andersen, a reverend with Church World Service, said he and other clergy officials have been building a “sanctuary movement” to assist Central Americans seeking refuge in the United States.

A network of congregations are “preparing themselves as we speak to open their doors for sanctuary if the administration moves forward with their plan,” Andersen said.

Raids targeting Central Americans who received deportation orders are set to begin in January, the Washington Post reported.

Members of CHIRLA called on President Obama to drop the deportation plans, which have not yet gotten final approval from the Department of Homeland Security.

Xiomara Corteno, director of community education for CHIRLA, said the group and others formed a “large and wide coalition … to say no to this heinous plan by the Obama Administration.”

Activists said that El Salvador is likely to have the world’s highest homicide rates this year, due in part to gang violence. Honduras had the highest murder rate, with 90 homicides for every 100,000 residents.

David Farley, the director of Justice and Compassion Ministries in Pasadena, said the group will “join that circle of protection and we, along with just about every denomination, every faith community in this nation, are outraged, and we will not stand by to allow this to happen.”

Meredith Brown, an immigration attorney, said that volunteer lawyers are ready to help those at risk of being deported.

Undocumented Urged to Get Ready for Programs to Avoid Deportation

May 21, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

Tuesday was a bittersweet day for East Los Angeles resident Isabel Medina. It was the day she was supposed to become eligible to apply for a program protecting her temporarily from deportation.

At a roundtable discussion Tuesday at the county’s Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, Medina instead spoke of the disappointment she feels that her dream has been put on hold by a federal judge’s injunction halting President Obama’s executive order on immigration announced last fall, but pledged to continue preparing for the day when she might be able to apply.

Director of CHIRLA Angelica Salas (center) announces the launch of ‘Ready California’ along with a coalition of supporters, including non-profits and politicians. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Director of CHIRLA Angelica Salas (center) announces the launch of ‘Ready California’ along with a coalition of supporters, including non-profits and politicians. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

A coalition of community, faith-based, unions, legal services, civil rights and nonprofit groups participated in the discussion and the press conference following to announce the launch of Ready California, a statewide campaign to help undocumented immigrants like Medina prepare to apply for temporary relief from deportation under programs outlined in the president’s executive order they believe will eventually be implemented.

The programs would allow about 5 million of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to temporarily avoid deportation and receive a work permit good for three years if they meet certain criteria. Texas and 25 other states, however, filed a federal lawsuit to stop the programs, prompting the judge’s injunction halting implementation as the case winds its way through the courts.

Lea este artículo en Español: Campaña Anima Indocumentados a Prepararse para la Acción Ejecutiva

The application process was originally scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 19.

The Ready California initiative will help make sure as many undocumented immigrants living in California as possible are ready to apply when the time comes, said members of the coalition.

“We have to facilitate individuals’ ability to prove that they qualify for these programs,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA) during the roundtable discussion hosted by New American Media before the rally.

According to Salas, many of the individuals who qualify for the original DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or its expansion, which allows people who were brought to the country illegally as children to temporarily avoid deportation, or the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, DAPA — which would allow some parents of U.S. born children and permanent residents the same temporary reprieve — also qualify for other existing immigration pathways.

Individuals can have their cases reviewed through Ready California and may find they have other options to legalize their immigration status, Salas said.

Sally Kinoshita, deputy director for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said undocumented immigrants should start working now to gather the documents they will need to apply, such as a Mexican passport, Consular Matriculas and copies of any criminal or misdemeanor court records.

According to CHIRLA, Los Angeles County has the highest number of undocumented immigrants: 500,000 with more than 50% from Mexico.

Ready California is also working to sign up lenders willing to provide low-interest loans to people who need help paying the $465 application fee.

“Our goal is to help change the future of ten thousand families in California,” Diana Cervantes, director of Community Trust Prospera, a division of Self-Help FCU in the San Gabriel Valley told EGP. “Currently, we have $5 million put aside for the loans, but if we can get more through donations we will help more people,” she said.

Alvaro Huerta, a staff attorney with the National Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said the courts move slowly and it could still be weeks, months or longer before the injunction is lifted. He said the worst-case scenario is it will not be “decided until the next term of the Supreme Court, which can go as late as June of next year.”

In the meantime, Ready California is working to bring more allies to the table. According to Salas, they need more nonprofit groups and legal service providers to get involved. She estimated in L.A. County alone, at the current participation rate, each legal partner would have to process 5,000 cases a year to meet the demand.

At a press conference following the roundtable discussion, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said it’s “not a matter of if, but a matter of when” the president’s programs will take effect.

“And for any of the doubters that are out there…for anyone who claims to be for family values — we hear that term all the time in politics — then you have no choice but to be for DACA and DAPA because it’s not just justice to immigrant families but a pivotal point to keep families together,” Padilla said.

In California alone, more than 1.35 million undocumented individuals are eligible for the administrative relief programs outlined by the president, according to Ready California.

For more information, visit: www.ready-california.org.

—-

Twitter @jackieguzman

jgarcia@egpnews.com

Campaña Anima a Indocumentados a Prepararse para la Acción Ejecutiva

May 21, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

El martes fue un día agridulce para la residente del Este de Los Ángeles Isabel Medina, debido a que en esta fecha ella solicitaría un programa de protección temporal contra la deportación.

Durante una reunión en el edificio Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration del condado, Medina habló sobre la desilusión que sintió cuando su sueño fue aplazado debido a la decisión de un juez federal de detener la orden ejecutiva del presidente Obama que había anunciado en noviembre pasado. Sin embargo, dijo estar preparándose para el día cuando pueda solicitar.

Una coalición de organizaciones comunitarias y basadas en la fe, sindicatos, servicios jurídicos y de derechos civiles y grupos sin fines de lucro participaron en la discusión y conferencia de prensa posterior al anunciar el lanzamiento de ‘Ready California’ (California Lista), una campaña en todo el estado para ayudar a los inmigrantes indocumentados como Medina a que se preparen para solicitar el alivio temporal contra la deportación bajo los programas señalados en la orden ejecutiva del presidente, que creen eventualmente serán implementados.

Read this article in English: Undocumented Urged to Get Ready For Programs to Avoid Deportation

Los programas permitirán a cerca de 5 millones de inmigrantes indocumentados en EE.UU. evitar temporalmente la deportación y recibir un permiso de trabajo por tres años si cumplen con ciertos criterios.

Sin embargo, Texas y otros 25 estados, presentaron una demanda federal para detener los programas, lo que provocó la ejecución del bloqueo de las medidas por el juez federal mientras el caso se abre paso en los tribunales.

El proceso de solicitud fue originalmente programado para comenzar el martes 19 de mayo.

La iniciativa Ready California ayudará a asegurarse de que muchos inmigrantes indocumentados que viven en California estén listos para aplicar cuando llegue el momento, dijeron los miembros de la coalición.

“Tenemos que facilitar la capacidad de los individuos para demostrar que califican para estos programas”, dijo Angélica Salas, directora ejecutiva de la Coalición Pro Derechos Humanos de los Inmigrantes en Los Ángeles (CHIRLA), durante la reunión organizada por New American Media antes del mitin.

Según Salas, muchas de las personas que califican para la Acción Diferida de Llegados en la Infancia (DACA) original o expandido o la nueva Acción Diferida para la Responsabilidad Parental (DAPA)—que permitiría a algunos padres de ciudadanos estadounidenses o residentes permanentes el alivio temporal—también son elegibles para otras vías migratorias vigentes.

Las personas pueden tener sus casos revisados a través de Ready California y pueden encontrar que tienen otras opciones para legalizar su estatus migratorio, dijo Salas.

Angelica Salas (centro) anuncia la campaña 'Ready California' junto a organizaciones y aliados afuera del edificio Kenneth Hahn Hall. (EGP foto por Jacqueline García)

Angelica Salas (centro) anuncia la campaña ‘Ready California’ junto a organizaciones y aliados afuera del edificio Kenneth Hahn Hall. (EGP foto por Jacqueline García)

Sally Kinoshita, directora adjunta del Centro de Recursos Legales de Inmigrantes, dijo que los beneficiados deben comenzar a conseguir sus documentos necesarios para solicitar, tales como el pasaporte mexicano, las matriculas consulares y copias de cualquier delito menor o grave archivado en las cortes.

De acuerdo a CHIRLA, el Condado de Los Ángeles tiene el más alto número de inmigrantes indocumentados; 500,000 con más del 50% de origen mexicano.

Ready California también esta trabajando con uniones financieras que proveerán prestamos de bajo interés a personas que necesiten los $465 de la solicitud.

“Nuestro objetivo es ayudar a cambiar el futuro de diez mil familias en California”, Diana Cervantes, directora de Community Trust Prospera, una división de Self Help Financial Credit Union, en el Valle de San Gabriel le dijo a EGP.

“En la actualidad, contamos con $5 millones apartados para los préstamos, pero si podemos conseguir más a través de donaciones vamos a ayudar a más personas”, dijo.

Álvaro Huerta, abogado del Centro Nacional de Recursos Legales para Inmigrantes, dijo que los tribunales se mueven lentamente y podrían pasar semanas, meses o más tiempo antes de que se levante el bloqueo de las ordenes migratorias. Dijo que en el peor de los casos puede que no se “decida hasta el próximo mandato de la Corte Suprema, que podría ir hasta junio del próximo año”.

Mientras tanto, Ready California está trabajando para traer a más aliados a la coalición. Según Salas, se necesitan más organizaciones no lucrativas y proveedores de servicios legales para participar. Ella estima que en Condado de Los Ángeles solamente, con la tasa de participación actual, cada representante legal tendría que procesar 5.000 casos al año para satisfacer la demanda.

En una conferencia de prensa posterior a la mesa redonda, el secretario del Estado, Alex Padilla dijo que es “no es una cuestión de ‘sí’, sino una cuestión de ‘cuando’” los programas del presidente surtirán efecto.

“Y para cualquiera de los escépticos que están ahí fuera … para cualquier persona que dice favorecer los valores familiares –este término se escucha todo el tiempo en la política—entonces no tienen más remedio que apoyar a DACA y DAPA, porque no se trata solo de justicia para las familias inmigrantes, pero un punto crucial para mantener a las familias unidas”, dijo Padilla.

En California solamente, más de 1.35 millones de indocumentados son elegibles para los programas de alivio administrativos señalados por el presidente, de acuerdo con Ready California.

Para obtener más información, visite www.ready-california.org.

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Twitter @jackieguzman

jgarcia@egpnews.com

May Day Rallies to Focus on Worker and Immigrant Rights

April 30, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of downtown Los Angeles tomorrow for annual May Day marches supporting rights for workers and immigrants, with an emphasis on pushing for a $15 minimum wage and implementation of President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration.

The rallies and marches are expected to make life difficult for afternoon commuters in downtown Los Angeles, with street closures planned throughout the area to accommodate what are expected to be massive crowds. In an annual theme, police are urging motorists to avoid the area if at all possible and plan alternate routes.

A pair of marches are planned downtown, with participants expected to begin rallying at 3 p.m. and marching at 4 p.m.:

— Participants in the International Workers March will gather at Olympic Boulevard and Broadway, then march north on Broadway to Grand Park at Broadway and First Street.

— Participants in the Full Rights March will gather at Cesar Chavez Avenue and Broadway, march east on Cesar Chavez, south on Main Street, east on Aliso Street, south on Alameda Street then west on Temple Street, again ending at Grand Park.

The theme of the Full Rights March is “On May Day, No Justice Delayed,” pushing for an increased minimum wage, implementation of Obama’s orders to protect millions of immigrants from deportation and an end to police violence.

“It is our duty as a labor movement to fight for a living wage and enforcement so that working families have a chance to thrive,” said Rusty Hicks, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “The time is now to raise the wage for hundreds of thousands of working Angelenos.”

Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, added that “justice has been denied to millions who await their chance at the American Dream.”

“Justice has been denied to millions who work hard and earn barely enough to survive,” she said. “Justice has been denied to millions whose dignity and respect have been trampled by law enforcement agencies. Enough is enough and our presence on May Day is the exclamation point in our demands.”

The Los Angeles City Council is debating a proposal to raise the minimum wage from $9 an hour to $13.25 an hour by 2017, to $15.25 an hour by 2019, and higher levels in subsequent years based on the Consumer Price Index.

Supporters of the wage hike proposal say it will lift hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers out of poverty and that businesses are capable of absorbing the increased costs, while critics of the plan say it would drive businesses out of the city and slow job growth.

Los Angeles County officials are also conducting studies on a possible hike in the minimum wage.

On the immigration front, millions of immigrants are awaiting the outcome of federal litigation over Obama’s “deferred action” orders, which have been put on hold by a judge in Texas. Opponents of the orders — most notably Republicans in Congress — contend Obama overstepped his authority in issuing the orders.

Martha Arevalo, executive director of the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles, said her organization is working to help immigrants take advantage of the programs, if they are implemented.

“On May 1, we will come together with our partners to give the community reliable, up-to-date information on what the programs do and don’t do, and our legal and organizing staff will be there to answer questions from the public,” Arevalo said.

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