A screen shot from King Taco's Facebook page.
Long before fleets of food trucks selling ethnic-hybrid tacos, waffles, lobster, and what not were plying the streets of Los Angeles, there was Raul Martinez, Sr.
Southern California's iconic King Taco chain got its start in 1974 in a converted ice cream truck, out of which Martinez cooked and sold his tacos to hungry patrons before turning his business into bricks and mortar when he opened his first outlet in Cypress Park.
Martinez died at age 71 on Tuesday, according to the company. He leaves behind a thriving Mexican food empire - with 20 King Taco outlets - and a legacy that's pure L.A. as an immigrant whose enterprise ultimately became part of local culture.
Taco lovers will argue over who in town does the best tacos al pastor (spit-roasted pork "in the style of the shepherd"), but King Taco's are famous: meat steeped in a sauce that's a little smoky, a little sweet, and mouth-searingly hot in the very best of ways.
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U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) speaks to press during a September news conference in Washington, D.C. An NPR analysis of census data shows that House Republicans' districts are far less Latino than those of House Democrats, one explanation for House GOP members relative lack of interest so far on an immigration overhaul. But Boehner has hired a policy adviser with a strong immigration background, raising speculation about possible legislative action.
Is Boehner getting serious on immigration reform? New hire intrigues. - Christian Science Monitor More on House Speaker John Boehner's hiring of Rebecca Tallent as a policy adviser on immigration. Tallent has directed the immigration task force at the Bipartisan Policy Center and also worked as chief of staff for Sen. John McCain of Arizona, helping him draft immigration plans during the last reform effort in 2007.
Immigration advocates face hurdles in GOP House districts - NPR One likely reason why House Republicans have yet to budge on immigration reform: Their districts are whiter. An NPR analysis of census data shows that Latinos "live disproportionately in districts represented by Democrats. The average Democratic district is 23 percent Latino; the average Republican district, less than 12 percent."
Southern California participants last month in a nationwide "Fast for Families" to call attention to immigration reform, in hopes that Congress will act on legislation.
Supporters of new immigration law remain focused - NPR Although the legislative year is soon coming to a close, advocates of immigration reform have kept trying. Some have taken drastic measures to call attention to the issue, like the activists who began a hunger strike Nov. 12 on National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Immigrants less prone to violence, 'antisocial' behavior, study says - Los Angeles Times According to a recently published national study, immigrants are "less likely to shoplift, skip work or school, hurt people or engage in other 'antisocial' behaviors, despite being poorer, more urbanized and less educated than people born in the United States."
Bar exam passed, immigrant still can't practice law - New York Times The story of Cesar Vargas, a New York law school graduate who can't practice law because he's in the U.S. illegally, although he arrived in the country at age five. A similar case was resolved recently in California via the state legislature; a new California law was recently approved that allows certain unauthorized immigrants to practice law.
Immigrants take the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center. With no immigration reform deal yet in Congress, some unauthorized immigrants say they'd be satisfied even to have work permits and the ability to travel to see family. But immigrant advocates warn of such a solution, saying it could lead lawmakers to shelve a genuine overhaul and create a permanent underclass.
Citizenship vs. legal status: Some immigrants willing to take less, but advocates warn against it - Southern California Public Radio President Obama's recent comment about being willing to work on immigration reform piecemeal has raised questions about the compromises different sides could push. Some people who stand to be affected most - unauthorized immigrants - say they're willing to settle for less than a path to U.S. citizenship. But advocates say it's not a solution.
County: No more immigration holds for low-level offenders - Seattle Times Officials in Washington's King County, home to Seattle, have voted 5-4 not to comply with federal officials' requests to hold immigrants for deportation if a person's offense only involves a low-level crime: "Supporters of the new policy said it will build trust between local police and immigrants who don’t report crimes for fear they or a family member will be deported."
Immigrants take the U.S. oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony. Some immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally say they'd be satisfied with a work permit or some other form of legal status that allows them to work legally and avoid deportation. Advocates fear this could create a permanent underclass, and allow lawmakers to sidestep root problems in the immigration system.
As this year's congressional legislative calendar draws to an end, immigration reform remains in limbo. President Obama hinted recently that he's willing to consider a piecemeal approach to overhauling the nation's immigration laws, something many Republicans have favored all along.
If so, it could entail compromises. Many Republicans, especially in the House, are strongly opposed a path to U.S. citizenship for people in the country illegally, a cornerstone of the sweeping plan approved in June by the Senate.
Some GOP lawmakers have proposed limiting citizenship to smaller groups, like young people who arrived as minors. Others have talked about drawing the line at legal status, with no clear route to naturalization. On the left, some immigrant advocates have called for a temporary fix, hoping the White House will at least provide unauthorized immigrants with short-term work permits and protection from deportation.