How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A new night market kicks off in Koreatown

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Artist Lydia Paek rehearses Friday afternoon ahead of the debut of the KTown Night Market, billed by organizers as "KTown Coachella" - but with lots of food.

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A worker chops charcoal for Korean barbecue ahead of the KTown Night Market in Koreatown.

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Evelyn Kim peers from inside her Korean barbecue booth before the night market begins.

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

K-Pop dancers stretch as they get ready to perform Friday night at the KTown Night Market, dubbed the "KTown Coachella" by organizers.


It’s been two years since the 626 Night Market started out in Pasadena, drawing regular crowds of foodie fans since. This weekend, Koreatown is getting in on the action with its own night market – one with a distinctly Koreatown vibe. 

The KTown Night Market debuts at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex starting Friday evening and runs through Saturday. Organizers say it’s inspired by the night markets that are a centuries-old tradition throughout Asia – and by the local success of the 626 Night Market, an unrelated event in the San Gabriel Valley that's done booming business since 2012.

RELATED: The 626 Night Market branches out beyond the San Gabriel Valley
 
Ben Kang, one of the organizers of the KTown market, hopes this event will draw similar crowds to Koreatown and its businesses. But in keeping with Koreatown’s status as a local pop culture epicenter, food will be just part of the draw.

“We're calling it the KTown Coachella," Kang said. "But also there's going to be a lot of great food, which I don't think Coachella has."
 
There will be lots of food: Some 40 booths and trucks, with offerings ranging from staples like Korean barbecue to foodie food items, like ramen burgers and hot sauce that's billed as the “Mexican Sriracha.”
 
But it’s the KTown-chella aspect that’s makes this night market distinctly Koreatown. Some 30 hip-hop and K-pop performers will take stage between Friday and Saturday nights, including rising stars like L.A.-raised Korean American rapper Dumbfoundead and K-pop artists Z.Hera and Lydia Paek.

Read More...

In immigration news: Obama urges House to pass reform bill, policy change weighed for detainees, vigil for Korean ferry victims, more

Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-LA)

Kitty Felde/KPCC

House Democrats, including Rep. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles, are hoping to force a vote on a House immigration reform bill using a procedural tactic known as a discharge petition. But with insufficient Republican signatures so far, the petition may not work. In a statement Wednesday, President Obama urged the GOP-led House to act on an immigration overhaul.

Obama urges GOP House to pass immigration bill - USA Today On Wednesday, President Obama urged the Republican-run House to act on immigration. From the story: "An overhaul of the immigration system 'would boost our economy, strengthen our security, and live up to our most closely-held values as a society,' Obama said in a written statement." House Democrats are pushing a petition that would force a vote on a House immigration reform bill.

Obama weighs bond hearings for detained immigrants - Los Angeles Times From the story: "Obama administration officials are considering allowing bond hearings for immigrants in prolonged detention, officials said, a shift that could slow the pace of deportations because immigration courts expedite cases of incarcerated immigrants." This could represent the release of several thousand immigrants from detention.

Read More...

In immigration news: Executive action not part of Obama's plan, NYPD drops Muslim spying unit, 'Border Guards,' more

US-POLITICS-IMMIGRATION-PROTEST

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Activists rally outside the White House on March 12, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Both the White House and faith leaders who met with President Obama on Wednesday are saying there are currently no plans for Obama to take executive action on immigration, something that many immigrant advocates have been pushing for as they wait for Congress to act.

No Executive Action on Immigration Overhaul for Now - ABC News Faith leaders who met with President Obama on Wednesday said they learned that taking executive action to reform immigration, as many activists have hoped, is not part of his plan. Obama has asked the director of Homeland Security to review deportation practices, but a White House spokesman says this "is different from implementing immigration overhaul on his own."

Jeb Bush Won't Be an Outlier on Immigration by 2016 - U.S. News & World Report Former Florida governor and possible 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush has not backed down from recent statements in which he expressed sympathy for immigrants who come illegally to the U.S. One possible reason why? From the story: "Part of his gamble is the assumption that the Republican primary of 2016 is not going to look like 2012. Bush might face a backlash early on, but he is hardly sunk if he decides to dive into the race."

Read More...

In immigration news: Latest on House discharge petition, tax scammers target immigrants, more

Proposals that would simplify the filing process for many Americans are under fire from tax-preparation company TurboTax. Here, a 2013 IRS Estimated Tax form.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

In time for tax day, the Internal Revenue Service is warning people to watch out for tax-related phone scams targeting consumers, especially those who are recent immigrants. Some scammers threaten their victims with deportation.

House Democrats need 27 signatures to force vote on comprehensive immigration reform bill - Washington Post The latest on House Democrats' discharge petition, a procedural effort to force a vote on a House immigration reform bill: "House Democrats say they currently have 191 signatures — all Democrats — on the petition, and that they will recommit to pressure Republican lawmakers who have said previously that they would support comprehensive immigration reform. The petition must get 218 signatures to force a vote on the legislation."

IRS sounds warning on aggressive scam - Dallas Morning News In time for tax day, the Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers "to guard against sophisticated and aggressive phone scams targeting consumers, particularly recent immigrants." Targeted individuals are told they are entitled to big refunds or that they owe money immediately, and are "threatened with deportation, arrest, having their utilities shut off or having their driver’s licenses revoked."

Read More...

In immigration news: Race and reform, immigration and the GOP in 2016, deportation ruling for Salvadoran ex-general, more

May Day March for Immigration Reform

Justin Valas/flickr Creative Commons

Is race a roadblock to immigration reform in Congress? Some critics in recent days have suggested that it is.

Is race holding up immigration reform? - CNN Candy Crowley interviews Rep. Steve Israel (D-New York) and Rep. Greg Walden  (R-Oregon) on topics that include the issue of race as a factor in the immigration reform stalemate. Says Israel: “To a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism. And that’s unfortunate.” Says Walden: "It's both wrong and unfortunate."

Will immigration undermine Republicans in 2016? - CBS News From the story: "A weekend cattle call of many of the party's prospective nominees showed that, like 2012, the GOP's base may still reward the candidate who seen as the biggest hard-liner on the issue, even though there may be a price to pay among Hispanic voters." This comes after former Florida governor Jeb Bush's recent comment about the decision to come to the U.S. illegally being an "act of love" for many families, which drew scorn from fellow conservatives.

Read More...