How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A half-dozen ways in which 9/11 changed the immigration landscape

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Special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) search a vehicle heading into Mexico at the Hidalgo border crossing on May 28, 2010 in Hidalgo, Texas. T

Last May, after the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan, I published a short list of some of the most important ways in which the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that he masterminded radically altered the immigration landscape.

The legislative, policy and other changes that have occurred since are almost too numerous to list. Last month, the Migration Policy Institute released a report detailing some of the policy highlights, more than a dozen changes ranging from skyrocketing border and interior immigration enforcement costs to changes in the way we travel (for example, U.S. citizens must now present passports when returning by land, even if it's from a quick day trip to Tijuana).

Beyond immigration policy, there have been legislative changes such as the still-active Patriot Act, along with less direct but powerful shifts in the nation's immigration climate that have had led to enforcement-friendly policies and increasingly strict immigration measures at the state level. Less quantifiable, but important still, have been attitudinal changes, particularly toward Muslims, which continue to affect immigrants today.