How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Asian-American voter engagement on the upswing in California


Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

Voter registration and sample pamphlets in multiple languages, made available after a recent U.S. citizenship ceremony at the L.A. Convention Center. A new report suggests civic engagement among Asian Americans, the nation's fastest growing racial group, is steadily improving. But younger Asian American voters and those who are immigrants still lag behind.

Getting Asian-American voters to the polls has long been a challenge for civic engagement organizers, but a new report suggests engagement among the nation's fastest growing racial group is improving — at least in California.

According to the report released Thursday in Los Angeles by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a civil rights and civic engagement organization, more Asian-Americans are voting than ever before.

The report dissects voter participation in California during the 2012 general election, in which Asian-American voters made up just 9 percent of registered voters statewide.

But the numbers have been improving: Between 2002 and 2012, the number of Asian-Americans registered to vote in the state went up by nearly 60 percent. It's estimated that by the 2016 election, Asian-Americans will make up nearly 11 percent of voters statewide.


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

Yo Voté

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


Mae Ryan/KPCC

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."