How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: Transnational gangs and the Central American migrant crisis, anatomy of a racial slur, more

An elite police officer arrests an alleg

JOSE CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images

An elite police officer arrests an alleged member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang in San Juan Opico, La Libertad, 40 km West of San Salvador, El Salvador on April 10, 2008. U.S. deportation policies in recent decades have resulted in large numbers of former U.S. gang members landing in El Salvador and other Central American countries; now, many families and children are fleeing gang violence there.

Transnational gangs: The Central American migrant crisis' LA connection - Southern California Public Radio Much of the gang violence that children and families in Central America are fleeing from lately, arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, isn't rooted in that region. It's in fact rooted in the United States, particularly in Los Angeles, part of a long and complicated history between this country and Central America in which U.S. deportation policies figure prominently.

Poll: Obama, Republicans face broad disapproval over handling of migrant crisis - Washington Post According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, "nearly 6 out of 10 Americans are not happy with Obama’s performance in dealing with the tens of thousands of minors who have arrived from Central America in recent months, overwhelming Border Patrol stations. All told, 58 percent disapprove of his management on the issue, including 54 percent of Latinos."

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Transnational gangs: The Central American migrant crisis' LA connection

Gang Crackdown

Michael Johnson/AP

A handout photo provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, taken June 23, 2008, shows an example of a tattoo used by the gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. It's one of the transnational gangs that got its start in Los Angeles, but now plays a role in the instability that Central American migrants say they are fleeing as they come in large numbers to the United States. U.S. deportation policies targeting criminals and gang members have played a major role.

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

File photo: Alex Sanchez, who now directs Homies Unidos, an organization that focuses on gang prevention and helping ex-gang members adjust to society.


As children, teens and families continue to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, many of these migrants and their advocates have cited gang and drug related violence as one of the main factors driving them north.

But much of that gang violence isn't rooted in Central America. It's rooted in the United States, particularly in Los Angeles. It's part of a long and complicated history between the U.S. and Central America, in which the deportation policies of recent decades figure prominently.

"Gang violence has increased steadily over the last decade or two, and one factor that has contributed to it is that the U.S. has deported a lot of convicted criminals back to Central America," said Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of the U.S. immigration program for the Migration Policy Institute in Washington. "All three of the countries in the northern triangle are pretty weak states, and so that’s given criminal organizations an opportunity to sort of establish themselves and flourish."

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In immigration news: Deportation flight to Honduras, activist Vargas detained in Texas, Arizona immigration protest, more

HONDURAS-MEXICO-US-MIGRATION-CHILDREN

ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images

A young boy looks out of a car window upon arriving to San Pedro Sula, 240 kms north of Tegucigalpa, on July 2, 2014, after being deported from the US. Thousands of unaccompanied children, most of them from Central America, have trekked to the United States in recent months and now face deportation in what the United States has called a humanitarian crisis.

Undocumented Women, Children Deported to Honduras - NBC News About 40 Honduran nationals, some of them children, were flown back to their country from New Mexico on Monday. More deportations of recently arrived Central American migrants are expected. From the story: "Homeland Security officials told NBC News the flight was just the 'initial wave' of deportations, with one saying, "We expect additional migrants will be returned to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in the coming days and weeks."

Journalist Jose Vargas, symbol of immigration debate, detained at airport - CNN The former Washington Post reporter turned activist and filmmaker has been detained at a Texas airport, en route to Los Angeles. Vargas, who in 2011 revealed that he's in the U.S. illegally, had traveled to southern Texas to document the mass migration of minors and families from Central America. He was detained at the McAllen-Miller International Airport as he tried to pass through security.

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In immigration news: Political lines drawn in border crisis, minors and immigration courts, activist gets stuck on border in Texas, more

Immigrant Children

Ross D. Franklin/AP

Young detainees being escorted to an area to make phone calls as hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, Ariz. President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 million to help house and process unaccompanied minors and families arriving from Central America at the border, and to modify a 2008 law in order to expedite deportations.

Political Chatter: Battle lines are drawn in immigration debate - CNN President Obama has asked Congress for emergency funding to help deal with the wave of unaccompanied minors and families arriving from Central America, and to modify a 2008 law that would allow them to be deported more quickly. But he may not get enough support for such a plan: "The path to a solution, however, doesn't appear easy. Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided on both the causes of the problem and the ways to solve it."

Backlogged Immigration Courts Brace For New Deluge Of Children - Associated Press From the story: "The court system is so overwhelmed that it can currently take three years to get a hearing, and many believe the delays will only get worse in the months ahead. For many immigrants, the delays in the court system work in their favor because they know they have so long before their cases are resolved."

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#Linsanity in LA: Local Asian-Americans cheer Lakers' trade for Lin

Rockets Celtics Basketball

Elise Amendola/AP

Point guard Jeremy Lin drives to the hoop, helping his old team the Houston Rockets beat the Boston Celtics.

Jeremy Lin trade

Josie Huang/KPCC

Huxley Pham of Arcadia said that he's proud that Asian-American point guard Jeremy Lin is going to the Lakers.

Jeremy Lin trade

Josie Huang/KPCC

Brothers Jonathan, 13 and Alex Xie, 10, of La Canada Flintridge both would like to be professional athletes, and look up to Jeremy Lin. Alex said that Lin will be an asset to the L.A. Lakers. "With Jeremy Lin, it should boost it up -- quite a bit."


In an Arcadia shopping center, word of Jeremy’s Lin trade to the L.A. Lakers had spread to Huxley Phan and his friends, even before the deal was made official Sunday morning.

None were big fans of the NBA. But everybody approved of Lin going to the Lakers and helping the team out of its slump.

“The Linsanity — bring it to L.A.,” said 21-year-old Phan. “Maybe it will all hype us up again.”

Phan, who was on break from bussing tables at a dumpling house, said that he was excited to see Lin, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, on a high-profile team. It would mean a lot in the San Gabriel Valley, he said. Arcadia, where he lives, is 61 percent Asian.

"We’re not known to be super athletic," Phan said. "So maybe his presence might encourage other Asian-Americans to pursue their dreams."

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