How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning

Good morning. There are several interesting stories out there today, including some locally:


  • The Los Angeles Times has a follow-up to a story that recounted the memories of a 92-year-old child of Greek immigrants who grew up in South Los Angeles, when his neighbors were "German, Polish, all different nationalities." In an immigrant town, all that changes is where people come from.



  • Spot.us has a short piece with video about a group of East Los Angeles residents proposing that the unincorporated community incorporate as a city.



  • 89.3 KPCC reports that a coalition of union, education and Latino leaders is planning a nine-city bus tour as part of a statewide Latino voter registration drive.



  • A piece of staff commentary in The Atlantic asks a question that has also been asked about the legacy of SB 1070: "Will the 14th Amendment Talk Cost the GOP More Hispanic Votes?"

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In the news this morning

With Arizona and SB 1070 mostly off the radar for now, there's a little more variety this week in immigration-related news, and the debate over the 14th Amendment and birthright citizenship is at the top of the list.


  • Politico has several reports on the movement to revise the 14th Amendment as more GOP lawmakers join in. Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce, who introduced SB 1070, in quoted in one story as saying, "it doesn’t take a constitutional amendment. It just takes a clarification.” In another story, Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal finds himself getting dragged into the debate on account of his own background as the U.S.-born child of Indian parents.



  • On the good-news front, Latino and Asian L.A. County residents can make a toast to health and long life: The Los Angeles Times has a story on a new county health report's findings that despite high numbers of uninsured, fewer county residents are succumbing to chronic illnesses. Among ethnic groups, Asians had the lowest death rate. Latinos had a lower death rate than black and white residents. A "Latino paradox" - in which less smoking and healthier eating (for the first generation, at least) outweigh low income and lack of insurance - is cited as a possible explanation.

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In the news this morning

As the clocks ticks toward the implementation of Arizona's SB 1070 on Thursday - with no court decision yet - the national media is focused on Phoenix. A few stories from there and elsewhere:


  • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is seeking dismissal of the federal government's challenge to SB 1070 on constitutional grounds, reports the New York Daily News and other outlets.



  • In this USA Today story, an Arizona law professor predicts a court ruling before Thursday.



  • In the meantime, some Arizona cops are watching training videos and preparing to enforce the law, the Arizona Republic reports.



  • Yesterday, the Arizona Republic reported that concerns about racial profiling in the Grand Canyon State are not unfounded, as there have been previous documented cases.



  • Reuters has this analysis on the political implications of SB 1070 for the GOP. It also offers some background on Arizona Republican state Senator Russell Pearce, the man behind the measure.

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Report examines treatment of mentally ill in immigration court and detention system

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images


An undocumented immigrant waits to be processed at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility Arizona.


A report issued over the weekend that deals with the treatment of mentally disabled immigrant detainees caught my attention, in part because it made me recall a particularly troubling case in San Diego last year. Human Rights Watch's Deportation by Default examines the hand-wringingly complicated issue of handling the immigration cases of the mentally ill and disabled, and argues that the immigration courts and detention system are inadequately capacitated to do the job.

The nonprofit NGO co-authored the report with the American Civil Liberties Union. From the report: "The shortcomings include no right to appointed counsel; inflexible detention policies; lack of substantive or operative guidance for attorneys and judges as to how courts should achieve fair hearings for people with mental disabilities; and inadequately coordinated care and social services to aid detainees while in custody and upon release."

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ICE introduces online detainee locator tool

ICE Detention Facility Detains And Deports Undocumented Aliens

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

An undocumented immigrant waits to be processed at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility Arizona.

Families and attorneys searching for immigrants held in detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can now use an online search tool to seek out their location, the agency has announced. The Online Detainee Locator System is similar to the search tool used to locate federal prisoners, and can be found on the agency’s website.

I tried it out this morning, searching for a detainee who has been held long-term in San Diego, and it worked: The detainee, a man from Kenya, is shown as still being in ICE custody at the privately-run Corrections Corporation of America detention center there. ICE holds a daily population of more than 30,000 detainees in a patchwork of detention facilities scattered around the country, the vast majority of these under contract with the agency. Detainees are often transferred between facilities, which has made it difficult for those trying to locate them. One immigrant rights organization created this interactive map with contact information for detention facilities.

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