Trump Rescinds DACA: 800,000 Recipients at Risk

September 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Southland Democratic leaders and immigrant advocates lashed out harshly today at the Trump Administration decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected an estimated 800,000 people – including more than 242,000 in California – who were brought to the country as children from deportation.

Activists immediately planned to take to the streets to protest the move, which was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on behalf of President Donald Trump.

Trump Terminates DACA: Protesters begin to gather at L.A. City Hall for march to federal building. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

Trump Terminates DACA: Protesters begin to gather at L.A. City Hall for march to federal building. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, called the president’s decision to rescind the program “outrageous.” This is a “heartbreaking day for the US and the bright young DACA recipients who know no home but America,” she said on Twitter.

Under the action by the Trump Administration, Congress will be given six months to attempt to pass legislation addressing DACA before the program is phased out.

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, D-El Monte, also on Twitter, urged all her “Republican colleagues to join us & take action to #ProtectDreamers! #DefendDACA!”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “President Trump’s action on DACA is cruel — it threatens to tear families apart, put our economy at risk, and will do nothing to unify America or make us more secure.”

“Today’s decision is a giant setback for America, because all our children should feel safe and accepted in a country that belongs to them,” Garcetti said. “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has allowed close to 800,000 ambitious, patriotic young people to start careers, stay in school, and
give back to our communities without fear of being torn from the people they love.”

The mayor also urged congress to act quickly on legislation: “… They belong here. And we’ll fight for them to stay.”

In defending the decision, Trump said President Barack Obama over-stepped his authority in creating the DACA program.

“In June of 2012, President Obama bypassed Congress to give work permits, Social Security numbers and federal benefits to approximately 800,000 illegal immigrants currently between the ages of 15 and 36,” Trump said. “The typical recipients of this executive amnesty, known as DACA, are in their 20s. Legislation offering these same benefits had been introduced in Congress on numerous occasions and rejected each time.”

Trump added: “Only by the reliable enforcement of immigration law can we produce safe communities, a robust middle class and economic fairness for all Americans.”

He noted that officials from 10 states are suing over the program, and his legal advisers have determined that it is “unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.”

Those arguments did little to appease Democratic lawmakers.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, said DACA recipients “make our nation strong and represent the best of America” and rescinding the program “undermines our nation’s values and is a cruel betrayal” of DREAMers. Rep.Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, criticized the “cruel and arbitrary attack” on them.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, urged Congress to move forward with legislation known as the DREAM Act that would provide a path to citizenship for DREAMers — the term used for DACA recipients.

“Failure to protect young people who have come out of the shadows would constitute an abject moral failure,” Feinstein said.

Officials with the Service Employees International Union decried what it called a “shameful attack” against DACA beneficiaries.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said members were ready to gather at the offices of Republican legislators, including Rep. Steven Knight in Santa Clarita and Rep. Mimi Walters in Irvine, as well as Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield.

Additionally, scores of workers and community members planned a midday march through downtown L.A. from the steps of City Hall to the federal building on the 200 block of east Temple Street.

Introduced by Obama in 2012, DACA allows people who were brought into the United States illegally as children to work and study in the country without fear of being deported. DACA has been available to immigrants without criminal records who were brought to the country when they were younger than 16 years old. Work permits issued under DACA must be renewed every two years.

Trump has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration, but until recently had not given a strong indication of whether he would keep DACA in place.

Asked over the weekend whether DACA recipients should be worried, Trump responded, “We love the DREAMers. We love everybody. … We think the DREAMers are terrific.”

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, is one of many elected officials of both parties who have criticized the president’s plans.

“Trump’s cowardly decision to end DACA goes against the very forces that have made America an exceptional country,” Lieu said. “Deporting hundreds of thousands of Asians and Latinos — nearly half of whom were brought to the U.S. before the age of 7 — is not only cruel, it will hurt our economy.”

EGP staff writers contributed to this report.

Southeast Student Artists Recognized

May 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard once again recognized student artist in her district, announcing the winners of her annual art competition.

Rebeka Martinez, a senior at Paramount High School, was the first place winner of the 24th Annual Lucille Roybal-Allard Student Art Competition for her piece “Light That Never Goes Out.” She will receive a $1,000 scholarship, $200 for art supplies, and a trip with a parent to Washington, DC to attend the national art exhibit opening.

First Place winner Rebeka Martinez (fifth from left), a senior at Paramount High School, poses with her acrylic, graphite, and charcoal art piece titled “Light That Never Goes Out” with Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (third from right). Rebeka is joined by members of her family, as well as White Memorial Medical Center representative Yuri Casco (far left), Paramount High School Acting Principal Dr. Damon Dragos (second from left) and Rebeka’s instructor Juan R. Navarro (far right).(Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)

First Place winner Rebeka Martinez (fifth from left), a senior at Paramount High School, poses with her acrylic, graphite, and charcoal art piece titled “Light That Never Goes Out” with Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (third from right). Rebeka is joined by members of her family, as well as White Memorial Medical Center representative Yuri Casco (far left), Paramount High School Acting Principal Dr. Damon Dragos (second from left) and Rebeka’s instructor Juan R. Navarro (far right).(Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)

Noah Endo, a junior at Paramount High School, won second place for “The Monster of Many Forms”; Kimberly Peña, a Downey High School senior, won third place for her photograph “A Night”; Léana Perez, a Paramount High School senior, won honorable mention for “Behind the Art”; and Adamarys Estrada, a Dr. Maya Angelou High School sophomore won the people’s choice award for “Light in the Depths of Darkness.”

Rebeka will have her entry displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year, while the remaining winning students each received a scholarship, money for art supplies and will have their artwork displayed in Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s District Office in Commerce.

“Once again, the students in this competition have displayed their great artistic talents by producing a range of striking and memorable works,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard.


Activists Challenge ICE Claim that Raids Targeted Criminals

February 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Federal immigration authorities confirmed today they arrested about 160 foreign nationals in a series of Southland raids carried out over the past week targeting “criminal aliens” and others in the country illegally, but activists and some elected officials criticized the actions and questioned ICE’s assertion that the raids have been months in the planning and are business as usual.

“For ICE, the arrest, detention, and deportation of more than 160 members of our community is business as usual. It is not for us and we will fight tooth and nail to stop them,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the raids were carried out in six Southern California counties beginning Monday and ending around noon Friday. The operations targeted “at-large criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives.”

The raids prompted an outcry that began Thursday afternoon from local immigrant-rights activists, who suggested the actions were a result of a stepped-up enforcement effort under the Donald Trump presidential administration, which has vowed to crack down on illegal immigrations and people living in the United States without authorization.

CHIRLA created a toll-free hotline — (888) 624-4752 — for affected immigrants to call for assistance and obtain access to attorneys. The group also began offering hourly training sessions to inform illegal immigrants about their legal rights.

One woman, Marlene Mosqueda, told reporters Friday morning her father was taken away Thursday by authorities who weren’t wearing clothing identifying them as ICE officers, and he was deported.

“They took my parents away,” she said. “They took my family away.”

ICE officials initially insisted, however, “The rash of recent reports about purported ICE checkpoints and random sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible.

“These reports create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Individuals who falsely report such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support,” according to ICE officials.

While the raids represented an enforcement “surge,” they were “no different than the routing, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams on a daily basis,” they said, saying Friday that the raids had been in the planning for months and were in compliance with enforcement objectives set by the Obama Administration.

ICE officials said about 150 of the people arrested had criminal histories, while five others had “final orders of removal or had been previously deported.” They noted that many of those arrested had prior felony convictions for violent offenses including sex crimes, weapons charges and assault, and some will be referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution for re-entering the country illegally.

Details were not provided on the remaining people arrested, but ICE noted that during some raids, officers “frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of the federal immigration laws. Those persons will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.”

CHIRLA and others rebuffed ICE’s label of “criminal” applied to 150 out of more than 160 undocumented immigrants it finally admitted Friday to have detained in their most recent sweep in Southern California.

“There is a deficit of trust on DHS officials who insisted for hours on hours that nothing out of the ordinary had taken place in Southern California during the past few days,” said Salas. “ICE has not been forthright with the community, attorneys, and organizations about their actions this week. They have only offered half-truths thus far. Forgive us then, if we must take their word with a grain of salt.”

Some elected officials also criticized the immigration actions, and pledged to provide support to immigrants, and ensure they are aware of their rights.

“President Trump has already ignited widespread fear and confusion in our immigrant communities with his executive order and divisive campaign rhetoric,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “If the reports are accurate, these raids only add to the anxiety about what’s to come from this administration.”

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, said she was “outraged” at news of the recent raids and suggested that some people who were targeted had no violent or criminal history.

“I am working with my constituents and the immigrant community to ensure they know their rights,” she said. “As this process moves forward, I will also ensure my constituents know what the next steps are, where applicable.”

ICE officials said the five-day operation included:
— the Huntington Park arrest of a Salvadoran national gang member
wanted in his home country for aggravated extortion;
— the Los Angeles arrest of a Brazilian national wanted in Brazil for
cocaine trafficking; and
— the West Hollywood arrest of an Australian national previously
convicted of lewd acts with a child.

“We demand ICE stop these sweeps which cause terror and instability in the community,” Salas said. “Furthermore, we demand ICE explain exactly what crime did the other 147 immigrants commit to merit the label “criminal.” Providing three examples does not a whole group of people a criminal make.

Article includes information from City News Service.

Feb. 5th Deadline Looms for Student Art Competition

February 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Students wanting to take part in Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard’s 23rd Annual Student Art Competition must submit their entries by the Feb. 5 deadline.

The competition is open to all students in grades 9-12 who reside in the 40th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Downey, Huntington Park, Maywood, Paramount, Vernon, and parts of Bellflower, East Los Angeles, Florence-Graham, South Los Angeles, and Walnut Park.

“This art competition is always a highlight of the year for me,” said Roybal-Allard. “It gives our local students a fantastic platform to share their creative gifts,” said the congresswoman.

As in years past, the winning entry will be on display in the U.S. Capitol for one year as part of the Artistic Discovery Congressional Art Competition for high school students, with winning entries coming from all over the country.

In addition, the winning student will receive a $1,000 scholarship, a gift certificate for art supplies, and travel arrangements for two to attend the opening of the national exhibit in Washington, DC, according to Roybal-Allard’s office.

In addition to the first-place winner, awards will also be presented to other top entries.

Contest guidelines require that all entries be two-dimensional, no larger than 24 inches by 24 inches, and no smaller than 8 inches by 10 inches. Submissions must be of an original concept, not a reproduction of, or inspired by an existing photo, painting, graphic, advertisement or any work by another person, or infringe upon the rights of a third party.  Mediums that can be used individually or in combination are paintings, drawings, prints, film or digital photography, and computer-generated art.

To be considered, entries, along with completed entry forms and statements of compliance and understanding, must be received in the congresswoman’s office in Commerce by Friday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m.:

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard: 500 Citadel Drive, Suite 320, Citadel Outlet Shopping Mall, Commerce, CA 90040.

Complete guidelines and entry forms are available by calling Kim Tachiki-Chin at (323) 721-8790.

Winning entries will be announced on Wednesday, May 4, at the Citadel, during an awards program held in conjunction with the closing ceremony for a month-long local exhibit of the competition entries.

“There has been so much wonderful art produced in this competition throughout the years, and I am excited to see the amazing work that 40th District students will enter in this year’s competition,” Roybal-Allard said.


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