I write about immigration, race, and religion. My work has appeared in news sites across the Southern California News Group. I have also written about reproductive issues for Rewire News.
Ramon Ruiz Ortiz's case is one that Southern California immigration advocates signaled as a shift in enforcement. He was an undocumented immigrant with no criminal record who was deported when his application to adjust his legal status was denied. Previously, people who did not qualify were just denied, not deported.
“If you don’t want to bring home deported veterans, at least take care of them,” said Hector Barajas, who lived in Compton and had served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division before being honorably discharged in 2001. “Make sure they get what they rightly deserve. There’s no law that says we can’t get VA benefits.”
Barajas, 40, founded the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana in 2013, three years after he was deported.
The law — known as “Criminal procedure: postconviction relief” — allows people who have claims of innocence, or people whose attorneys failed to warn them about the immigration consequences of a plea deal, a way of challenging those convictions.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Rose Cahn, an attorney with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, who specializes in post-conviction relief and helped draft the bill.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi smiled as she stood at a podium in San Francisco last week and described young, undocumented immigrants as “our VIPs.”
But the House Democratic leader wasn’t even finished speaking when dozens of very loud young people walked in. They shouted demands and took over the press conference.
Her smile gone, Pelosi appeared shaken.
“For a long time, we’ve been fighting the fight for the Dreamers,” she tried to interject.
“We are not Dreamers!” some shouted back.
Young and undocumented, yes. Just don’t call them "Dreamers."
Immigrants can end up in Adelanto after seeking asylum at the San Diego and Tijuana border or after they’re arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents in enforcement operations across Southern California.
They are there solely for administrative purposes, pending decisions in their immigration cases or while awaiting deportation.
The facility, though, has drawn criticism over the number of detainees who have died at the facility. There also have been complaints of sexual assaults
“My parents have always told (us) opportunities are anywhere. They brought us to this country because it was supposedly the land of opportunity,” said Karla Estrada, 26, of Los Angeles. “But if we find opportunity in another place, our country is wherever our feet take us,” she said.
"While immigrant advocates have voiced concern about recent enforcement operations, ICE says it could be taking a higher number of convicted criminals into custody — and more easily — if not for internal law enforcement agency policies and state laws."
Ramon Ruiz Ortiz of Moreno Valley went to San Bernardino’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office at 10 a.m. May 11 to interview for a green card giving him permanent residency. By 7 p.m., he’d been deported to Tijuana.
Now, his family and an attorney representing the Mexican Consulate in San Bernardino are trying to figure out what happened to the man they describe as a hard-working husband and father with no criminal record. They contend he should not have been deported.
“When I first started singing this type of music, many African-Americans would laugh at me and there were many times when I didn’t want to go to school,” Lowery said in Spanish.
“They would call me a ‘wanna-be Mexican,’” added Lowery. “I don’t want to be Mexican. I can never be Mexican, but I have my respects for Mexican people and for the music.”
It’s been 20 years since Mitzie Perez has last seen her native Guatemala and now she’s aiming to make the trek before it’s too late.
This could be her last chance to see her ailing and remaining grandparents, not just for her sake, but for her parents, who are undocumented. Her dad already missed out on seeing his mother before she passed. And, her mom, did not get a chance to see her father before he died.
“It might be my only and last chance to go. And I’m doing it for them,” said Perez, 25.
The Ezzeddins — who include Mahmoud and his wife, their three adult children and their spouses, and nine grandchildren — are Syrian Muslim refugees who were vetted in Egypt for about two and a half years before immigrating to the United States.
They’re a family of artists who embellished furniture in Syria. Now, they’re trying to make the best of life in Riverside at a time when immigrants and refugees, particularly those who are Muslim, are being targeted as threats to national security.
From gentrification to 'Calle Cuatro': Downtown Santa Ana merchants want Fourth Street to bank on Latino culture
Just like Garden Grove has Little Saigon and Los Angeles has Little Tokyo, Santa Ana should claim its Latino identity, merchants say.
A California law that took effect January could help undocumented immigrants with previous crimes.
In immigration cases, it allows people who are no longer in jail or prison to file a motion to vacate their criminal convictions.
For example, a conviction or sentence can be legally invalid if, due to poor legal representation, a defendant did not fully understand the immigration consequences of accepting a guilty plea.
Italia Garcia, 26, of Riverside, was largely unaware about advance parole when she was first granted DACA in 2013. Now, after traveling to Mexico for work purposes, she has returned legally to the United States.
Entering legally, makes her eligible to be sponsored for permanent residency by an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen.
She also recently took advantage of a Supreme Court ruling permitting same-sex marriage. Now, Garcia is planning on having her wife, Denisse Lopez, sponsor her for permanent residency.
The disparity has been well documented over the years, and researchers and public health advocates say the cause goes deeper than whether African American women are accessing prenatal care early enough or how other health factors come into play.