Alejandra Molina

Alejandra Molina


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.

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0518 nws rpe l deported 005 23850243 article
The Press-Enterprise

A Moreno Valley man went in for a green card, but was deported instead

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.

0312 nws ldn l sanctuary worship.tlpa  23483065 article
The Press-Enterprise

Riverside church says it will house immigrants at risk of deportation

First Congregational Church of Riverside, located downtown near the Mission Inn, is doing so even if the move puts the parish at odds with federal law as President Donald Trump ramps up deportation efforts.

For some churches, offering sanctuary is in line with their faith tradition of confronting what they see as unjust laws.

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The Press-Enterprise

Sen. Kevin de León, amid taunts from Trump supporters, tells Riverside to remain defiant

State Sen. Kevin de León struck a defiant tone Saturday, May 6, in Riverside, saying California will continue to be a world leader on social justice issues threatened by President Donald Trump.

“Our values, our vision, our economic progress is in direct conflict with the new administration’s vision for America,” said De León, D-Los Angeles. “And we’re going to have to fight like never before.”

“We’re not going to back down no matter what the president does,” De León added.

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The Press-Enterprise

Young immigrants rush to use travel loophole before Trump's inauguration

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.

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The Press-Enterprise

Southern California immigrants warned to prepare for possible deportation

Mexican and Guatemalan consuls are urging immigrants to be prepared and not panic in the wake of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation that resulted in 161 arrests in six Southern California counties.

In today’s immigration landscape, this means preparing for potential deportation.

“It’s as if you’re preparing for a hurricane or a natural emergency. Apply that idea,” said Mario Cuevas Zamora, the Mexican consul for Santa Ana.

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The Press-Enterprise

How pro-immigrant groups say people should prepare for Trump's presidency

The election of Republican Donald Trump has instilled so much fear in some immigrants that a number of them reportedly started packing their bags to move back to their native countries.

But immigrant rights organizers are saying, “Not so fast.”

In the wake of Trump’s election, dozens of “Know your Rights” forums are being held across Southern California to educate the immigrant community about their U.S. constitutional rights.

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The Press-Enterprise

He sings corridos like a Mexican

“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.”

Syrian article
The Press-Enterprise

How a Syrian family is adjusting to life as refugees in Southern California

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.

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The Press-Enterprise

How undocumented immigrants are becoming U.S. legal residents after traveling abroad

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.

Nr7162 b88425770z.120150708165429000gs2ads98.10 article
The Press-Enterprise

How racism can contribute to the high black infant mortality rate

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.

Tacomaria article
The Press-Enterprise

'Day Without Immigrants' hits restaurant industry hardest

A number of grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses across Southern California are participating in “A Day Without Immigrants” today, a national boycott in response to President Donald Trump’s actions to crack down on undocumented immigrants.

They’re either closing for business or donating their profits to organizations advocating for immigrant rights.

For many business owners, the decision was personal.

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The Press-Enterprise

Syrians who resettled in U.S. are fearful of their future under Trump's presidency

“We definitely realize there are tough times ahead for us as a community and for the country at large,” said Mahmoud Tarifi, with the Islamic Center of Claremont, who works with Syrian refugees across Southern California, from Glendale to San Diego. “We are willing to take that challenge because we will stand for diversity.”

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The Press-Enterprise

Undocumented college students find way to study abroad, return legally

For undocumented students who have largely lived in the shadows in their own communities, being able to leave the country and come back is a milestone, said Ana Coria, a program coordinator who assists undocumented students at UC Riverside.

“For a lot of students, it’s like a very new experience. To be undocumented, before DACA, they lived a very constricted life, both physically and psychologically,” Coria said.

“I think they’re excited to take that opportunity and experience something new and get a different perspective on life,” Coria added.

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The Press-Enterprise

How Chicano rap group Lighter Shade of Brown remains timeless decades later

With the recent death of Bobby Ramirez, who died earlier in July, scores of fans are remembering the group as advancing Latinos in musical history, as a soundtrack to their youth spent at family barbeques at the park and backyard parties in the San Gabriel Valley, and as a form of empowerment for Latinos who did not have much music reflecting their identity.

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The Press-Enterprise

Trump prompts rush to citizenship

Anti-immigrant rhetoric from the campaign trail is encouraging Latino immigrants to become U.S. citizens with one goal in mind: to vote against GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.