How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Immigration, deportations on Occupy L.A.'s list of grievances

Photo by DB's Travels/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A sign at the Occupy Los Angeles camp, October 2011

As Occupy L.A. protesters prepared last week to fight the city's planned eviction of their camp outside City Hall - still on hold as they take the eviction fight to court - a list of demands drafted by the protesters solidified their sympathy for the immigrant rights movement.

A few days ago, the Los Angeles protesters posted a list of "grievances not addressed" that ranged from a moratorium on foreclosures to seeking a better public transit system to student debt relief, and this request:

Los Angeles to be declared a sanctuary city for the undocumented, deportations to be discontinued and cooperation with immigration authorities be ended – including the turning in of arrestees’ names to immigration authorities.

It's a tall order in Los Angeles County, which has long had a partnership

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Scenes from a mini-'Occupy': Latino protesters in South Gate

Criticism of the "Occupy" protests that began last month in New York - which by now have spawned a widespread series of mini-Occupies - as being too white has never completely applied in Los Angeles, where Latinos and other minorities have played at least a small part since the start. And less so now with the spread of mini-protests like "Occupy South Gate," a campout that began last week in the 95 percent Latino southeast L.A. County city.

As with the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York and its big-city offspring, the central thread tying particiants together in these smaller protests is the economic crisis, with a variety of other issues thrown in. Interviews with late-night campers this weekend outside South Gate City Hall posted by TheBoxer93 (who peppered his questions with conspiracy theories and random non-sequiturs) reveal younger Latinos concerned with issues that are not Latino-specific, but which relate to general concerns like the economy, transparency in government, education and the real estate bust, which disproportionately affected the fortunes of Latino and black Americans.

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