How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Bird dogs, feral hogs, dangerous waters, toxic waste: The metaphors we use for immigrants

Photo by sarah .../Flickr (Creative Commons)

You might say that Rep. Steve King of Iowa has a penchant for mentioning immigrants and animals together in the same speech. This week, the Republican congressman has come under fire for talking about the United States drawing the "cream of the crop" in terms of immigrants, not a bad thing in itself, but in the context of breeding bird dogs.

How King was quoted in the New York Daily News, which took it from this video:

“You want a good bird dog? You want one that’s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest, the one that’s engaged the most and not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner."

In 2008, King invoked another four-footed mammal when demonstrating to lawmakers how to build a border fence with non-lethal electricity. "We do that with livestock all the time," he said. In another fence-related speech from King some time ago, there was also a


Quote of the moment: On why pilgrims are crossing the border fence in The New Yorker

Screen shot from

If you haven't read about it or seen it yet (mine has yet to arrive in the mail), the Nov. 28 issue of The New Yorker features cartoon Mayflower pilgrims running the border gauntlet in the desert, one of them crawling through a hole in the fence. It's not the first time that images of pilgrims and illegal immigration intersect, of course, but it's getting a fair bit of attention.

On the magazine's website, German-born artist Christoph Niemann explains the rationale behind his "Promised Land" cartoon:

“Too often in politics, very complex subjects are being turned into sound bites, so it’s easy to take them apart...I draw a parallel between current immigrants and early settlers—the hope is that it will provide context, to help keep things in perspective. Cartoonists, not politicians, should be the ones who condense political discussions into simple images.”


Video: Climbing the border fence in less than 18 seconds

This comes via The Atlantic's Daily Dish.

I probably couldn't do this myself, at least not nearly as fast. But obviously, many people can.

Embedded into the video near the end is a link to a trailer for filmmaker Roy Germano's award-winning documentary "The Other Side of Immigration," which tells the immigration story from the perspective of small-town residents in Mexico and explores why so many people leave to work in the United States.

The fence video is a clever attention-grabber for the film, but it gets its own point across in no time.