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Biden's Immigration Bill Includes An Eight-Year Path To Citizenship

The US-Mexico border fencing is seen from Playas de Tijuana, Mexico on January 16, 2021. President Joe Biden introduced a new immigration bill today. (Photo by Guillermo Arias / AFP)

Democratic lawmakers formally introduced President Biden's sweeping immigration bill today.

The U.S. Immigration Act of 2021 would provide an eight-year path to U.S. citizenship for immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status.

If the bill passes, the following groups would become immediately eligible for green cards and could apply for citizenship after three years:

Others would need to wait five years under a provisional status to apply for a green card, then three more years to become eligible for citizenship.

The last time comprehensive immigration reform was introduced in Congress was 2013 -- it passed in the Senate, but the Republican majority refused to take it up in the House.

Now, Democrats have the House majority, but would need at least 10 Republican supporters in the Senate for the legislation to pass.

Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier) addressed that in a virtual press conference today:

"We all know that when you introduce a bill, oftentimes the end result is not exactly the starting result. So there will be opportunities for us to talk with our Republican colleagues and educate them about what is in the bill, address concerns and modify, but we are confident that we can get this done."

Sanchez says the bill also seeks to address some of the root causes that lead many people to flee their home countries. It includes a four-year plan to reduce violence, corruption and poverty in Central America.



In Los Angeles the news was met with hopeful optimism by people like Jungwoo Kim, a DACA recipient who was born in South Korea. DACA recipients have endured a rollercoaster of emotions in recent years, ever since the Trump administration tried to end the Obama-era program in 2017.

"Honestly I’m not sure," Kim said. "This is the third or fourth try to pass the bill."

If a path to citizenship does happen "You still have to file taxes, you still have to find a job, you still have to pay for your insurance,” Kim said. “What the citizenship really gives is peace of mind…they can just focus on what they can do to contribute to their community.”

Los Angeles also has a large community of immigrants with Temporary Protected Status, in particular immigrants from El Salvador and Honduras. TPS, as it is known, shields certain immigrants who fled crises like natural disaster or war in their native countries from deportation and allows them to work here legally. Many TPS holders have lived in the U.S. for decades.

LA Postpones Some Vaccine Appointments After Winter Storms Delay Shipments

Dodger Stadium is one of the city's large scale vaccination sites. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

The city of L.A. is postponing all appointments tomorrow (Feb. 19) at their large-scale vaccination sites because of delivery delays caused by winter storms around the country.

City officials say 26,000 doses that were set to arrive Tuesday are got stuck in Kentucky... and another 37,000 that were supposed to arrive next week are held up in Tennessee. Both shipments are grounded by canceled flights and icy roads.

The city estimates about 12,500 people are affected by Friday's cancellations – they'll get a text, email, or phone call notifying them of the postponement, and they'll be prioritized to reschedule when doses arrive.

City officials are also monitoring whether or not they'll need to postpone Saturday's appointments as well.

“We are collaborating closely with the City of Los Angeles to ensure the vaccination distribution process is as smooth as possible," said, Dr. Sujal Mandavia, Chief Medical Officer of Carbon Health, in a press release. "Second dose appointments will be prioritized, and it is our intent to administer those second doses within the CDC-recommended timeframe of 42 days after the first dose."

Vaccinations from the city's mobile clinics will continue uninterrupted, officials say. The shipment delays only affect the large city vaccination sites.

Orange County is also experiencing delays; officials there are closing Disneyland's vaccination site until Tuesday of next week.


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Disneyland Vaccination Site Closed Until Next Week

People wait in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in a parking lot for Disneyland Resort on January 13, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Orange County officials this afternoon announced they'll have to close the Disneyland Super POD vaccine site today through Monday Feb. 22, because bad weather across the country has delayed delivery of doses.

The county says it didn't get its expected Moderna delivery on Tuesday, so Moderna inventory is very low (the Disneyland site primarily dispenses Moderna shots).

The county says the delivery delays will also affect the opening of another Super POD site at the Anaheim Convention Center, which was planned for next week.

Orange County's third super POD site is at Soka University in Aliso Viejo.

Those with appointments will be notified, officials say.

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PHOTOS: Manhattan Beach Just Got A Little More Accessible, Thanks To A Mat

The access mat installed on Manhattan Beach provides a firmer surface for people who use mobility devices then the sand alone. (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)

As we know, the beach is a big part of life for Southern Californians, but getting to the ocean can be hard for people who use wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or other mobility devices.

Some good news: as of yesterday, beach access just got a little bit easier.

On Wednesday, officials installed a new nylon mesh mat across the sand in El Porto. The mat extends the concrete "Pathway to the Sea" walkway by 60 feet and then runs parallel to the ocean for another 100 feet.

Carol Baker with the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors says the mat also benefits other beachgoers, like families with strollers or anyone trying to lug a giant ice cooler across the sand (we've all been there):

"It was just a pleasant surprise that by trying to create more access for one group, we're actually benefiting many other beachgoers."

The new access mat is located off of 42nd street in Manhattan Beach.

The concrete pathway to the sea there opened in 2014. It was a project championed by Manhattan Beach resident Evelyn Frey to make the beach more accessible for seniors and people with disabilities.

For some background on Manhattan Beach — the beach itself is owned by L.A. County. But the Department of Beaches and Harbors is responsible for maintaining and operating the beach on behalf of the county; they were the ones who rolled out and staked down the mat Wednesday morning.


Crews from the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors prepare to anchor a new access mat with stakes. The mat, made by Mobi-Mat, is made of a fine nylon mesh that allows sand to fall through. It provides a firmer surface for people who may have difficulty crossing the sand. (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents Manhattan Beach as part of the Fourth District, speaks with Director Gary Jones of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors. (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)
Hahn and Jones test out the mat. (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)
The Manhattan Beach access mat is an extension of the concrete "Pathway to the Sea," which opened in 2014 after a years-long campaign by a longtime resident. The mat adds about 60 feet to the concrete path, with another 130 feet of mat running perpendicular to the other end, creating a lopsided "T." (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)
The Department of Beaches and Harbors maintains six access mats on beaches it manages across Los Angeles County. These access mats are located on Torrance Beach, Manhattan Beach, Dockweiler State Beach, Will Rogers State Beach, Topanga Beach and Zuma Beach. While most of the mats stay on the beach year-round, the mat at Zuma Beach is seasonal to accommodate the annual sand berms constructed to protect against erosion and flooding. (LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors)

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This Documentary Series Gave 4 Hours Of Television To 1 Trans Woman's Story

Elizabeth Carmichael with her family. (Courtesy HBO)

HBO documentary series The Lady and The Dale was co-directed by Nick Cammilleri and Zackary Drucker. Drucker, a trans artist and activist, told Cammilleri that she thought this was the first time four hours of television were devoted to a single trans person in this way.

The series covers the life of Elizabeth Carmichael, who spent decades on the run from the law after counterfeiting in the early 1960s, taking on multiple identities. Along the way, she started a car company during the 1970s oil crisis and grabbed attention by promising a new vehicle that would get 70 miles to the gallon: the Dale.

Cammilleri spent a decade trying to unearth the full story of her life. From interviews and trial transcripts to blueprints of the Dale car, that story gets told through a modern lens in the new series.

Drucker worked with Cammilleri to bring her experience as a trans woman to the way the story was told, while Cammilleri said he wanted to tell what he called "a Liz story," bringing Carmichael to life. She was a complicated figure — a con artist always looking for another way to get rich, a trans mother with 10 children between four different women, and possibly an entrepreneur seeking redemption.


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Watch NASA's Perseverance Rover Landing On Mars

This illustration depicts NASA's Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet's Jezero Crater a little after 3:40 p.m. EST (12:40 p.m. PST) on Feb. 18, 2021. NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Perseverance rover is set to land on Mars today.

The vehicle launched last July. Its mission includes looking for signs of ancient life and collecting rock samples to one day send them back to Earth.

The car-size rover was built at JPL in Pasadena.

Matt Smith, an engineer with NASA, says the moments before touchdown are nerve-wrecking and there's a lot to do before the rover can even move.

"Once it's on the surface, we'll do a bunch of check outs of the instruments, we have to do some activities are called deployments, there's a mast that pops up, it kind of looks like a little like WALL-E head on top of the rover. So we need to deploy that, we need to deploy some antennas, and so it probably won't be until a few days after landing that we would ever start our first drive."

The Perseverance rover is scheduled to land at 12:55 p.m. PST. You can explore the rover in 3-D at NASA's site.

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LAUSD Will Replace Some School Cops With ‘Climate Coaches.’ What Does That Mean?

(Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

The L.A. Unified School Board has voted to cut one-third of the school police force and use the money saved to hire an array of counselors, social workers and “climate coaches.”

So what is a "climate coach?"

They would prevent fights — and de-escalate fights that do break out, according to Joseph Williams, director of operations and campaigns for Students Deserve, the group that proposed the climate coach position.

"We don't need police and handcuffs," he said. "I speak from personal experience as somebody who was criminalized at 13 years old and spent time in a juvenile detention center and was charged with assault and battery for getting in a fight with another kid."


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LAist TV Pilot Club: Watch As We Explore The 'Friends' Pilot With Our Panel

Central Perk at the Warner Brothers Lot (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Friends premiered in 1994 and went on to become one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Iconic hairstyles, inescapable catchphrases, and an abiding love of vests are just a few of the show’s contributions to pop culture. But it wasn’t all lattes and laughs as we take a look back at the show through the lens of 2021.

Tonight, come together with your fellow Friends fanatics to dish on what has held up since the show’s debut and what decidedly has not. LAist’s Mike Roe and guests Guy Branum, Erin Mallory Long and Katie Willert want to hear your hot takes on all things Friends.

Watch the pilot before the event, then grab a spot on our virtual couch Thursday night at 6:30!


Here’s How You Can Help The CDC Track COVID-19 Vaccine Safety In Real Time

(Photo by Chava Sánchez. V-Safe logo courtesy of CDC)

As the battle to defeat COVID-19 with vaccinations rolls on, one key part of the fight is tracking the immunizations’ safety -- and that’s where all of us can play a role. Once you get vaccinated, you can sign up for v-safe, an online tool you use to let the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention know how you’re doing.

It’s not an app -- and you need a smartphone to sign up and start using it. Here's how to register.

Since we’re still in the era of having only two-shot vaccines, here’s how it works:

After you get your first shot, v-safe will send you a text each day for a week asking whether you’re experiencing any side effects. The CDC says it takes less than five minutes to answer the questions in the survey. Then v-safe will check in once a week for up to five weeks.

Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you.

After your second shot, v-safe will create another check-in process that will last six weeks. Then you’ll receive check-ins three, six, and 12 months after your final dose.

Getting a lot of people to participate in this process is important, because the more data the CDC collects, the clearer picture it can develop of a vaccine’s safety.

Have more questions? Here’s a CDC FAQ.

People experiencing side effects from a vaccination who don’t have a smartphone can submit a report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which is managed by the CDC and the FDA. If you need additional help submitting a report, you can call the VAERS toll-free information line at 1-800-822-7967 or send an email to


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Morning Brief: Save The Child Care, Save The World

Play areas divided by plastic barriers. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 18.

A lot of ink has been spilled in the past year about parents — mothers, mostly — hoping that the pandemic will have a silver lining: That policy-makers will finally understand how crucial child care is for society to function.

It’s not clear whether that lesson has been learned just yet, but as my colleague Mariana Dale reports, what is clear is that child care providers haven’t gotten the assistance they need — and many are shuttering facilities because of it.

Early childhood educators were struggling before the pandemic. Many who work in the industry make below minimum wage, and turnover is extremely high. But when COVID-19 hit, families with young children found themselves in incredibly unstable times. Would they keep their jobs? Could they even leave the house? And when families are unsure about their next steps, those who care for their children become unsure as well.

Between the beginning of the pandemic and the end of January, more than 3,000 California childcare providers shut down. Thousands more closed temporarily, and many that remain open are at limited capacity. That means financial stress for their owners and employees, which trickles down to the kids they care for.

Some help has come in the form of state and federal funds, but in California, $1 billion in federal relief is still tied up in bureaucratic red tape, even as providers are forced to close their doors. And across the country, early childhood education providers aren’t being included in the first rounds of vaccinations.

All the while, parents who are stuck at home with their children, trying to operate as caregivers and teachers and, sometimes, hold down jobs as well, are far past their breaking point.

“I often feel trapped,” one local mother told us last month. “There are no places to go on field trips or little adventures. We don't have play dates or birthday parties or soccer practices. I'm even skeptical about grocery runs with all three of my kids — which makes this job all the more complicated.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go … Long Beach Is The Soft, Doughy Nexus Of LA's Bread Renaissance

The Nixtamal Queen, the panaderia's take on a kouign amman, from Gusto Bread. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

If you had told Kristin Colazas-Rodriguez five years ago that she would one day become a major player in the Long Beach bread scene, she probably would've rolled her eyes and shrugged it off.

After earning a bachelor's degree in history and economics from Cal State Long Beach, she spent three years working as a pastry cook, sous chef and bread baker, first in Los Angeles then in the San Francisco fine-dining world. The experiences were a crash course in the highs and lows of the restaurant business.

Colazas-Rodriguez loved the accessibility of breakfast pastries, so she began making danishes and croissants in borrowed kitchen spaces and selling them at local farmers' markets. She developed such a strong following for her France-meets-California creations that in the summer of 2019, she opened up a tiny cafe in San Pedro.

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More Than 500 LA Child Care Providers Have Shut Down For Good Since The Pandemic Started

Stowed toys in the backyard of a Southern California child care provider. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Since last March, 536 Los Angeles County licensed child care centers and home-based facilities reported permanent shutdowns to the state’s Department of Social Services. Thousands more closed temporarily.

“I honestly don't think we'll realize or feel the real impact until we're safely out of the pandemic,” said Keisha Nzewi, public policy director for the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network.

Even programs that remain open are losing money. Take St. Mary’s Richard Tufenkian Preschool in Glendale, for example.

The non-profit program closed at the beginning of the pandemic, reopened, shut down again during the most recent surge of coronavirus cases and just this week re-opened for about 110 children.

It’s running at half-capacity to comply with public health guidelines that limit the number of kids in a classroom.

School director Arsine Aghazarian predicts thheir savings will last maybe another six months operating this way.

“There's no support for us,” Aghazarian said. “Everyone is on your own, basically, trying to survive as much as you can.”



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