How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The nation's immigrant population, illustrated

Source: Immigration Policy Center

As far as interactive maps and graphics charting the nation's immigrant population go, the Immigration Policy Center has released the granddaddy of them all this week. Based on census, economic and other data, a 50-state interactive map on the IPC homepage gives way to detailed state-by-state compilations of demographic, economic, educational, entrepreneurial, political and other information on the foreign-born, Latino and Asian populations of each state.

Each state page is accompanied by a downloadable infographic, like the one above for California, and a state fact sheet. Just a few highlights from the California fact sheet:



  • Immigrants comprised 34.6% of the state’s workforce in 2010 (or 6.5 million workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • 45.6% of immigrants (or 4.6 million people) in California were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2010 (up from 31.2% in 1990)—meaning that they are eligible to vote.

  • Immigrants in California pay roughly $30 billion in federal taxes, $5.2 billion in state income taxes, and $4.6 billion in sales taxes each year. In California, “the average immigrant-headed household contributes a net $2,679 annually to Social Security, which is $539 more than the average US-born household.”

  • Together, businesses owned by Latinos and Asians comprised more than one-quarter of all businesses in the state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners.

  • The number of immigrants in California with a college degree increased by 42.8% between 2000 and 2009, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute.


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Controversial 'anchor baby' dictionary entry redefined as 'disparaging'

Photo by jollyville/Flickr (Creative Commons)


The term "anchor baby," used by some in reference to children of undocumented immigrants, is almost exclusively used in a negative light. Media pundits often use it when discussing or making their case against U.S. birthright citizenship, as in this exchange between Fox's Megyn Kelly ("...and I'm not talking about my son Yates") and Lou Dobbs, or this monologue by Glenn Beck.

But the American Heritage Dictionary recently added "anchor baby" as an entry that read as a neutral term, provoking enough criticism that the publishers agreed to modify it, with the change made online yesterday. Here's the original entry as posted on the Immigration Impact site, a project of the American Immigration Council:

anchor baby n. A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family.

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DREAM Act: Spin and counter-spin as another vote nears

Photo by DreamActivist/Flickr (Creative Commons)

DREAM Act supporters outside L.A. City Hall, June 2009

As a vote on the DREAM Act nears, what is political spin and what isn't? Now that a white paper listing GOP talking points in opposition to the proposed legislation is making the rounds, the Immigration Policy Center has issued a document countering some of the claims being made.

The white paper is being circulated to legislators and conservative groups by the office of Alabama's Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions. It presents an opponent's take on the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, which would allow a path to legal status for undocumented college students and military hopefuls. A vote is planned for after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The largely Republican opposition to the measure has criticized it as an amnesty, among other things. A sample talking point from the white paper:

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