How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Highlights from today's SB 1070 decision

Photo by Kitty Felde/KPCC

The crowd outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. as the court heard arguments on Arizona's SB 1070 April 25, 2012

It's been a very big news day with the U.S. Supreme Court announcing its decision on Arizona's SB 1070 this morning, and I've been posting updates directly to the KPCC website instead of here on Multi-American.

But I'd like to share what my colleagues and I have put together on the decision by now, which is quite a bit. In a nutshell, the justices decided to uphold the most controversial section of the law, while striking down three other provisions in question. There's more to come, but here are some highlights from our reporting and talk shows today so far:

Supreme Court upholds key provision of SB 1070, strikes down the rest Initial reporting on the court's decision, with a breakdown of which provisions of the law were struck down and upheld. The provision the justices upheld was Section 2(B), which empowers local police to check for immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" that someone is here illegally.

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'John and Ken' complaints prompt Latino groups to picket Clear Channel

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A protester's sign outside the Clear Channel offices in Burbank, Calif., Oct. 13, 2011

Several Latino organizations took their complaint against KFI-640 AM's "John and Ken" talk show to the street today, picketing outside the offices of Clear Channel Communications in Burbank to call for the firing of hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou.

The conservative talk radio duo came under fire recently after giving out the phone number of an immigrant advocacy group's spokesman on air, resulting in the man being subjected to hundreds of hate calls.  Today, representatives from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), the League of Latino American Citizens, the National Hispanic Media Coalition and other groups staged a rally outside the media company's offices at 3400 W. Olive Ave., attended by few dozen protesters.

"We call on KFI to fire them immediately," said Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, a Pasadena-based media and civil rights advocacy group.

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The federal Dream Act prepares for a comeback

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC


Details are scarce, but a spokesman for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) confirmed this morning that Durbin has plans to reintroduce the proposed immigration legislation at an event in Washington, D.C. tomorrow.

Immigrant rights advocates had been speculating yesterday on the possible re-introduction this week of the federal Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would allow certain undocumented youths to obtain conditional legal status. In its most recent version, which passed the House but failed to clear the Senate last December, conditional legal status would have been granted to young people brought here as minors before age 16 who either went to college or joined the military.

Durbin, a longtime champion of the bill, had promised earlier this year that he would bring it back. There are no details yet on what the reintroduced bill would look like. The bill voted on last December was pared down from earlier versions, with a lowered age threshold for those eligible and other tightened provisions.

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American snapshot: 'Educación'

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Another interpretation of the freeway sign, this one by artist Luis Genaro Garcia, photographed January 2011

Street artist Banksy was only the latest to take on the iconic running migrant family freeway sign. Here is the sign as reinterpreted by Southern California artist Luis Genaro Garcia, who has made a few versions of the image. In this one, the parents carry the tools of manual labor - a wrench and pliers, a feather duster - while the child wears a cap and gown.

I photographed the piece on a wall at the offices of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles while reporting on an event there last January.

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At a SOTU viewing party in L.A., little hope for immigration reform

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC


Even before tonight's State of the Union address, expectations that President Obama would address immigration issues weren't high. Still, a small crowd of mostly Latino activists, students, blue-collar workers and others gathered to watch it at the downtown office of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, which held a "viewing party" showing the address on a large screen with a simultaneous Spanish translation.

Some were simply curious to hear what Obama might say about immigration; others, including some who were in the same room at the immigrant advocacy office last month watching the Senate vote on the Dream Act, wondered if he might offer them a specific nugget of hope.

Here's the portion of the address that dealt with immigration, from a draft copy of the speech obtained and published by the National Journal (and subsequently by the Huffington Post):

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