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

In immigration news: Border drones, GOP immigration strategy, H-4 visa holders hoping to work, more

Maintenence personel check a Predator drone operated by the federal government before its surveillance flight near the Mexican border on March 7, 2013 from Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
Maintenence personel check a Predator drone operated by the federal government before its surveillance flight near the Mexican border on March 7, 2013 from Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
John Moore/Getty Images

House GOP plots immigration strategy - Politico House Republican leaders are planning "to move as early as next week on legislation to override Obama’s actions that could protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportations." This strategy will also involve Department of Homeland Security funding; the department was only funded short-term last month. GOP lawmakers chose to put off challenging President Obama's executive order on immigration until this year, when they control both the House and Senate.

'No evidence' costly drones help secure border, Inspector General says - Southern California Public Radio According to the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General, the expensive aerial drones used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border don't do much: "Drone surveillance was credited with assisting just 2 percent of illegal border crossers. In an audit of the apprehensions near Tucson, the drones assisted in just 2,000 of the 120,000 crossers captured by DHS." And they cost lots of money: "When pilot salaries and equipment costs were included the cost was $12,000 an hour."

Spouses of high skilled visa holders look forward to getting their own jobs - Southern California Public Radio Dependent spouses of H-1B high-skilled work visa holders have until now been unable to work in the United States; their visa, called the H-4, doesn't allow it. But many of these spouses, the majority women, are as well-educated and skilled as their partners. Included in President Obama's new immigration plan is a provision that could give as many as 100,000 of these dependent spouses permission to work.

Paris Killings Seen Fueling Europe’s Anti-Islam Movements - Bloomberg The mass shooting that killed at least 12 people at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday "adds to an already tense environment, with an anti-immigrant party dominating in France, mosque burnings in Sweden and thousands marching in Germany decrying the 'Islamization' of the west." Large anti-immigrant protests have taken place recently in Germany, in spite of government pleas for the protests to stop.

Illegal Immigrants Rush to Get Driver’s Licenses in California - Wall Street Journal A recap of the first few days of AB 60 in action. The new California law allows immigrants without legal status to apply for a special driver's license, and lines have been out the door at DMV offices as people rush to apply: "On Jan. 2, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles began tackling a surge of such applicants, complying with a new law allowing those who prove they reside here to qualify for a driver’s license regardless of immigration status. In the first three days, 46,200 people applied."

Used car dealers hope for a sales boost from newly licensed immigrant drivers - Southern California Public Radio As immigrants line up to apply for California driver's under AB 60, used car dealers in immigrant neighborhoods are hoping this will soon translate into brisk sales. Until recently, the threat of having one's vehicle impounded kept many unlicensed drivers from investing in anything beyond a fairly disposable vehicle; now dealers are hoping they'll invest in better wheels. Some dealers say they've already had hopeful licensees browsing their lots.

Attempts to dupe immigration agents on the rise - Texas Tribune On a reported uptick in people presenting fake documents to gain entry to the U.S. along parts of the southern border: "The number of people turned away or detained at Texas ports  — what the Department of Homeland Security calls 'inadmissibles' — increased by about 25 percent during the government’s 2014 fiscal year, according to statistics. Most were denied entry after presenting false or stolen documents."