How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Posts of the week: Deferred action, life as an American Sikh, Latino identity and the census, the plight of 'elder DREAMers,' more


Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A man holds a list of guidelines during a workshop on deferred action at the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles, Aug. 14, 2012

A historic change in U.S. immigration policy occurred this week as young undocumented immigrants began applying on Wednesday for deferred action, a form of temporary legal status that is part of a new Obama administration policy. Well over a million people could qualify, and could also be eligible for work permits if they meet the requirements.

Most of the reporting this week focused on this, with a few extras. In case you missed any of these, a few highlights from the week:


‘And what do you call yourself…?’: Readers on the census and ethnic identity The U.S. Census Bureau has proposed changing how Latinos self-identify on census forms, potentially making them an exclusive category regardless of race. A few reactions from readers.


'Dream' jobs: Deferred action begins Wednesday (Audio) No Multi-American posts for Tuesday, as I was on radio duty, but this report from the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles took in some of anticipation before the start of deferred action as hopeful applicants attended a workshop.


'A woman walked up to my car and accused me of being a terrorist': Life as an American Sikh

Wisconsin Community Pays Respects To Sikhs Killed In Shooting Rampage

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A man attends a memorial service for victims of the Aug. 5 shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Aug. 10, 2012

Two Sundays ago, a known white supremacist entered a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and opened fire, killing six temple members before killing himself.

In the public mourning that has followed the murders of Satwant Kaleka, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Suveg Singh Khattra, Prakash Singh, Paramjit Kaur, some seldom-heard voices have emerged. Several Americans Sikh writers have provided a glimpse of what life has been like for a little-understood minority in the United States, with roots in India, in the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

That tragedy that was soon followed by the tragic and sometimes fatal targeting of Sikhs, whose turbans make them stand out, along with Muslims. Sikhs are neither Hindu nor Muslim. But as blogger and English professor Amardeep Singh wrote in a widely circulated post that wound up in the New York Times, "I don't know if the shooter would have acted any differently if he had really known the difference between the turbans that many Sikh men wear and a much smaller number of Muslim clerics wear -- or for that matter, the difference between Shias, Sunnis, and Sufis, or any number of specificities that might have added nuance to his hatred."


Timeline lists several attacks against Sikhs since 9/11

Wisconsin Community Reels After Gunman Kills Six At Sikh Temple

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Mourners at the scene of Sunday's mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August, 6, 2012

In response to the tragic mass shooting yesterday at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin by a man believed to be a white supremacist, BuzzFeed has compiled a timeline of anti-Sikh violence in the United States since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Sikhs, members of a religion rooted in India who are neither Hindu nor Muslim, became targets of hate crimes almost immediately after 9/11, along with Muslims. The turbans worn by Sikh men make them stand out and, for those not familiar with the difference, have led anti-Muslim attackers to target them by mistake.

The list is incomplete. It does not, for example, include the fatal shooting of two elderly Sikh men, Gurmej Atwal and Surinder Singh, shot down last year by an unidentified attacker with no other apparent motive as they strolled through a suburban neighborhood of Sacramento. Still, the timeline is a sad memento to all of those who have been killed or harmed.