Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

American snapshot: Phoenix

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Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC


Maria Villalpando, a U.S. citizen raised in Mexico, outside the Arizona state capitol Wednesday night.


Hundreds of SB 1070 opponents were still gathered on a lawn outside the capitol building Wednesday night, attending a late-night Catholic Mass.

Maria Villalpando of Phoenix, 59, had an interesting story to tell about why she was there. She was born in the United States, she said, but her family returned to Mexico shortly after her birth because her father was deported. She grew up in Mexico, not returning until her teens when her family moved to Los Angeles, where she attended high school as a U.S.-born English learner.

"I was lucky that I was born in the United States," she said. "But I know how it feels to be an immigrant."

Some of those at the evening service planned to camp out by the capitol overnight; others said they would return early in the morning for a procession to an interfaith service at a downtown cathedral.

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