How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: Dems' Latino support slips, activists push executive action, tapping Asian American voters, more

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Photo by Nathan Gibbs via Flickr Creative Commons

A new poll shows Latino voters disappointed over President Obama's handling of immigration, with Democrats also taking a hit.

Few Latinos 'angry' over Obama immigration policy, but support slips - Los Angeles Times According to a new Pew Research Center poll, "only a small minority of Latino voters report that they are 'angry' over President Obama’s decision this year to delay executive action on immigration reform." But there is disappointment among Latino voters over his handing of immigration, and the poll also shows Democrats taking a hit.

U.S. Immigration Laws Face New Scrutiny After Killings - New York Times Critics are protesting Obama administration plans that could protect more immigrants from deportation after the shooting deaths of two Northern California law enforcement officers. The accused killer is a man who was twice deported to Mexico after drug- and weapon-related arrests, but returned to the U.S. each time. 


Old con resurfaces in LA; how the 'Chinese blessing' scam targets the elderly


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Police say con artists are targeting elderly women in Chinese neighborhoods like LA's Chinatown.

Police say Chinese con artists who target elderly women with superstitious beliefs have returned to the Los Angeles area, using the same scam that duped dozens of residents out of their money a couple of years ago.

On Oct. 18, a resident of L.A.’s Chinatown lost $75,000 in cash and jewelry, Det. Ken Yueng of the LAPD's Asian Crime Unit told KPCC.

Yueng said the woman fell prey to a "Chinese blessing" scam, which typically works like this: Two women approach their target on the street. They casually introduce the target to a third woman who purports to have spiritual gifts. This third person says she can protect people from evil spirits if they bring her valuables to pray over.

Yueng said victims return to the scammers with the requested items in a bag. Then the conspirators swap it for one filled with crumpled newspapers and water bottles. Yeung said a typical line they tell their mark is, "Don’t handle the bag within, let’s say, anywhere between three days to two weeks, or else this spell won’t work."


In immigration news: Ariz. town works for ICE, church sanctuaries, TV's families of color, more


Associated Press

Cristela Alonzo stars in the new ABC sitcom, "Cristela" as an aspiring Latina lawyer, and the daughter of immigrants. Is the show part of a diversity renaissance on TV?

House Democrats urge pause in migrant family deportations - Reuters Representatives Zoe Lofgren of California and John Conyers of Michigan lead 30 other House Democrats in asking Pres. Obama to stop deportations of Central American families pending a resolution of problems at detention centers. From the letter the Congress members wrote: "We believe it is critical that no detained families be removed (deported) until we can ensure that we are not returning such families to face persecution and torture abroad."

How Will A Small Town In Arizona Manage An ICE Facility In Texas? - NPR The federal government is in the midst of building its largest immigrant detention facility in south Texas. What's unusual is that the contract "will go to the town of Eloy, Ariz., two states — about 931 miles — away." The town already operates a jail for ICE in Arizona, which one prison watchdog group noted has had more deaths than any other detention facility in the country.


In immigration news: Napolitano backs executive action, Latino voters and the midterms, LA's Thai Town, more

Janet Napolitano

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Former Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano told the Washington Post in an interview that she supports the idea of President Obama taking executive action on immigration. Napolitano is now president of the University of California system.

Janet Napolitano throws her support behind executive action on immigration - Washington Post The former Department of Homeland Security chief, now president of the University of California system, told the Post in an interview: “If Congress refuses to act and perform its duties, then I think it’s appropriate for the executive to step in and use his authorities based on law . . . to take action in the immigration arena.’’ President Obama has indicated he'll act on immigration after the November midterm elections.

Ahead of 2016, Immigration Activists Want Answers From Clinton - New York Times Some young Latino activists are urging peers "not to automatically support" Hillary Clinton if she runs for president in 2016. From the story: "The targeting of Mrs. Clinton comes amid growing disillusionment about Mr. Obama’s failure to enact immigration change and his handling of the arrival of thousands of Central American children on the United States border."


LA’s Thai Town, only one in US, turns 15

Thai Town turns 15

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Ruen Pair servers Champ Jansaeng (l.) Aeumporn Klunkruwat (r.) ready for the dinner crowd.

Thai Town turns 15

Josie Huang/KPCC

Chancee Martorell, executive director of the Thai Community Development Center, first pushed for the Thai Town designation as a planning graduate student.

Thai Town turns 15

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Wannuwat Phiansuhap dishes up a plate of Ruen Pair's specialty, papaya salad — which is spiced to order.

Thai Town turns 15

Josie Huang/KPCC

Thai Town spans six blocks of East Hollywood. It's mostly comprised of restaurants and businesses, but is also a hub for social services and a port of entry for new immigrants.

Thai Town turns 15

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Cook Som Cha Kanthama in between orders.

Thai Town Turns 15

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Performers at the Los Angeles Songkran Festival in Thai Town, a New Year's celebration that takes place in April.

Thai Town turns 15

Josie Huang/KPCC

The Thai Town birthday celebration will take place at the Thailand Plaza.

Ruen Pair opened about 20 years ago, a small mom-and-pop restaurant in East Hollywood that spiced its papaya salad to order.

There were half a dozen tables at the outset. Then the city named the neighborhood the country’s first — and only – Thai Town 15 years ago: Oct. 27, 1999.

Business picked up and several years ago the restaurant expanded to 14 tables, said Champ Jansaeng, whose family runs Ruen Pair, something he credits to the Thai Town designation.

"It really did open it up for people to know about Thai Town and Thai culture, so people started taking an interest and becoming more adventurous in their food adventures," Jansaeng said.

Today, Thai Town is comprised of about 60 businesses — restaurants, markets, bakeries, spas and mechanic shops centered over six city blocks on Hollywood Boulevard between Western and Normandie avenues.