How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

California DMV to 'move forward' with immigrant driver's licenses

AB 60 approved design

Courtesy of California DMV


The California Department of Motor Vehicles has finalized the look of its immigrant driver's licenses after some tweaks to the design were met with federal approval. 

"We’re on track to move forward with the design, so we can go to a company who makes the licenses for us," said DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez.

The DMV plans to start taking license applications from immigrants in the country illegally next January.

The Department of Homeland Security had said an earlier version of immigrant driver's licenses did not have enough markings to distinguish it from 'compliant' licenses.  The proposed design included “DP” as in “driving privilege" on the front of the card instead of the typical "DL" for "driver's license."

On Aug. 20, the DMV presented a revised design to DHS, which included the phrase "federal limits apply." The back of the card also made it clear that the card is not to be used for "official federal purposes."

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In immigration news: Budget bill doesn't include courts, LA County cops stick with federal-local enforcement program, more

sheriff neon sign badge

Photo by Michael Dorausch via Flickr Creative Commons

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. hopes to a renew its contract for a federal-local enforcement partnership known as 287(g), which the federal government has scaled back in recent years.

Spending Bill Leaves out Immigration Courts - Associated Press From the story: "Congress' must-pass budget bill ignores the Obama administration's request to accelerate spending on immigration courts to handle the flood of unaccompanied minors at the border — even as it boosts spending flexibility for Border Patrol agents and detention centers." The nation's already backlogged immigration court system has been under additional strain as the cases of recently arrived child migrants are prioritized.

County cops seek to renew federal-local immigration enforcement partnership - Southern California Public Radio The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is seeking to renew a voluntary federal-local partnership that deputizes county authorities to screen inmates for immigration status - and possible deportation. L.A. County is one of relatively few counties nationwide to continue participating in the program known as 287(g), scaled back in recent years by the federal government.

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County cops seek to renew federal-local immigration enforcement partnership

Pyrat Wesly/Flickr

The sign at a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department substation. The agency seeks to renew a federal-local immigration enforcement partnership, which deputizes county authorities to screen inmates for immigration status and possible deportation.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is seeking to renew a federal-local immigration enforcement partnership that deputizes county authorities to screen inmates for immigration status - and possible deportation.

Los Angeles is one of two remaining counties in the state, along with Orange County, to continue participating in the program known as 287(g). The federal government has scaled back the voluntary program in recent years as it's expanded the broader Secure Communities, which 287(g) predates.

If approved by county supervisors, the new federal-local agreement would replace an earlier agreement that's set to expire at the end of September, according to a draft memo. Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida confirmed the department's request to renew its 287(g) contract; she said the Board of Supervisors may vote on it Sept. 23.

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Not just for adults: 80 kids take citizenship oath

Kids naturalization

Josie Huang/KPCC

Luis Litez, a 10-year-old originally from Mexico, takes the oath of citizenship at a special kids' naturalization ceremony in downtown Los Angeles.

Kids Naturalization

Josie Huang/KPCC

Brothers Tim and PJ Parawan pose with their parents and their new citizenship certificates.

Kids naturalization

Josie Huang/KPCC

Eighty children from countries ranging from Iran to El Salvador took citizenship oaths at LA's Central Library.

Kids naturalization

Josie Huang/KPCC

Families could forego a group ceremony, but those attending the event at the Mark Taper Forum at the library wanted a communal experience.


Luis Litez, a 10-year-old from Mexico, lifted his right hand, as he murmured the oath of allegiance to the United States:

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty...."

The oath may have felt like a string of big words, but Litez said afterward it changed him.

"I was not American but I am now," said Litez, who lives in LA. "I'm part of California now."

Eighty children from greater Los Angeles took part in a special "Constitution Week" ceremony at Central Library downtown. They ranged in age from 6 to 17, and come from countries such as Iran, Cambodia, China, Armenia and El Salvador.

Children are eligible for naturalization if their foreign-born parents become citizens, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Orphans can also attain citizenship if they're adopted by Americans.

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In immigration news: LA joins citizenship initiative, Border Patrol body cameras, an ISIS fact check, more

Naturalization Ceremony Held At Chicago Cultural Center

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Vishaun Lawrence of Jamaica, a new U.S. citizen, holds an American flag along with her citizenship papers as she participates in a naturalization ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center on July 3, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Los Angeles has joined Chicago and New York in a new “Cities for Citizenship" project, funded by $1.1 billion from corporate partner Citigroup. Funds will go toward support services for legal residents who hope to become naturalized citizens.

LA joins NYC, Chicago in push to naturalize permanent residents - Southern California Public Radio The “Cities for Citizenship" project is funded by $1.1 billion from corporate partner Citigroup. In Los Angeles, a quarter-million dollars is to go toward introducing financial literacy in citizenship classes at city libraries; the money will also help fund community citizenship drives, and outreach to employers in sectors that employ large numbers of legal-resident workers.

Border Patrol to test body cameras - USA Today The agency reportedly plans to begin testing body cameras for agents next month "as part of the agency's continuing response to criticism about use of force incidents." A federal official said the technology will be tested at an agency training center in New Mexico, and that it's a "first step" toward broader deployment.

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