Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: surge in Latino healthcare sign-ups, protection from deportation, bilingual classrooms

A child attending a bilingual class at a Montessori school in Washington DC.
A child attending a bilingual class at a Montessori school in Washington DC.
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Immigration Policy Won't Make It Into the Defense Bill, for Now - National Journal  Some House Republicans led by California Rep. Jeff Denham came up with a plan to provide a path to resident status for young adults brought to the country illegally as children - if they join the US military. But the proposal appears to be dead for now because of opposition from some conservatives who say that no immigrants should be given preferential treatment. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala. argued that the plan, which would have been included in a defense bill, "ensures illegal aliens will be put on the same footing with American citizens who are competing for enlistment privileges in our national defense." 

Federal budget proposes decrease in immigrant detention beds - Southern California Public Radio Congress will decide whether to reduce the number of immigrant detention beds as a way to cut costs in the federal budget. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rents about 34,000 beds on a daily basis from both private contractors and local governments. Activists are hopeful the government will reduce the number of beds rented. Setting a quota of beds creates the impression "you have to find people to deport, people to fill these beds, whether or not there is a need," according to Silky Shah of the Detention Watch Network.
IMMIGRATION: Protesters take aim at deportations - The Press Enterprise As part of a series of demonstrations around the country, more than 75 people rallied outside the San Bernardino office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The group demanded a stop to deportations, and accused the office of San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon for violating the TRUST Act, which limits who law enforcement can hold for deportation on behalf of federal immigration agents.  About 20 counter-protesters were also at the rally brandishing signs that said “no amnesty."

LA city council calls for granting Filipinos protection from deportation - Southern California Public Radio This week, Los Angeles city council members joined leaders in San Francisco and New York in urging the US government to grant Filipino nationals Temporary Protected Status so they don't get deported to hurricane-stricken Philippines. Getting covered under TPS allows immigrants to live and work in the US for a pre-determined length of time. One local leader said that Filipino nationals can help their countries more by staying in the US and sending remittances home.

Latino healthcare sign-ups soar in California - Los Angeles Times After months of low enrollment, there's been a spike in the number of Latinos signing up to join the health care exchange. Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee "attributed the increased interest among Latinos to the fact that Covered California escalated its outreach in seven communities within the state that had low enrollment among Latino Californians," according to the story.  Lee said his agency focused "by region, and on in-person and in-language support."

For Latino Parents, Bilingual Classrooms Aren't Just About Language - NPR Latino parents are placing their children in bilingual classrooms to help them retain their family language and culture. Some data show that students actually learn English faster if there is also Spanish-language instruction. But there remains controversy over bilingual education as seen in California, where businessman Ron Unz led a successful fight for the passsage of Proposition 227, an initiative that aimed to replace bilingual instruction with intensive English instruction. Some school districts adopted the policy, but many others did not, and now Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara is trying to take 227 off the books.