How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Mitt Romney, the son of a chihuahuense?

Photo by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Buried at the bottom of an Associated Press story that ran in the El Paso Times today is a nugget that Latino tweeters have been seizing on: Mitt Romney's dad was from Chihuahua.

This isn't the first time the story of George Romney has come up, but it has surfaced again now that the younger Romney has announced his bid for the presidency in 2012. The elder Romney, former governor of Michigan, was born in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua in a community established in the 1880s by Mormons, who fled to Mexico from the United States to escape persecution.

There are still Romneys in Chihuahua today, distant relatives of the Republican former Massachusetts governor. And they, like other Mexicans, are dealing with the troubles affecting that part of the country. From the story in the El Paso Times:


California's latest private immigrant detention center

Photo by Jason Nahrung/Flickr (Creative Commons)

As California grapples with how to reduce its prison population, there is one group of inmates that keeps expanding: federal immigration detainees, a growing number of then held by private jailers.

The California high desert prison town of Adelanto, already home to federal and state facilities, will now be home to up to 1,300 immigrant detainees in a former city-owned prison that was sold last year to the GEO Group. The Florida-based company is one the nation's biggest private prison firms and holds a large number of contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Adelanto story is typical of how private immigration detention contracts are made. Last year, the cash-strapped city sold a city-owned prison, once used to house up to 650 low-level state offenders, to the Florida-based GEO Group. About 100 jail employees were laid off.


In the news this morning: Migrants missing off Tunisia, Georgia immigration law challenged, immigrant detention in Adelanto, CA and more

More than 200 immigrants missing off Tunisia coast - The Associated Press At least 200 are reported to be missing and two are dead after a fishing boat carrying hundreds of immigrants that set off from Libya sank off the coast of Tunisia in a storm.

Lawsuit to argue that new immigration law will criminalize acts of kindness - Atlanta Journal-Constitution An ACLU challenge to a new Georgia immigration law will argue, among other things, that people will be exposed to criminal prosecution for "acts of kindness" since the law prohibits transporting or harboring undocumented immigrants.

1,300 more beds for CA immigration detainees - The Orange County Register U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have announced an agreement with a private contractor to hold immigrant detainees in the small San Bernardino County city of Adelanto.


Latinos and population growth: Five interesting tidbits

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

News about the nation's growing Latino population has been rolling out almost continuously since the results of the 2010 Census were announced late last year.

First there was the speculation about who was driving population growth in some of the nation's most politically influential states. When ethnic and racial data was released earlier this year, it was revealed that Latinos in the United States now number more than 50 million.

The last few days have brought a fresh crop of Latino population growth headlines, these stemming from new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week. The gist: The Latino population in the U.S. rose by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010, growing four times faster than the nation's overall growth rate and accounting for half the nation's population increase of 27.3 million since 2000.


How to curb illegal hiring? Mimic some characteristics of illegal immigration

Photo by jphilipg/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A new report from the Migration Policy Institute that was funded by the European Union addresses the never-ending quandary over unauthorized workers, as much of an issue in Europe as it is in the United States.

Wherever unauthorized workers are hired, the draw of the underground economy is a leading driver of illegal immigration, the report notes.

These workers are not only cheaper to hire, but are also a boon to employers because they come with "no strings attached," providing employers with greater flexibility that makes running a business easier.

Now for the question that has stumped political leaders for decades: What, if anything, can be done about it? From the report:

First, in order to bring employers who would have otherwise hired illegally into legal hiring, legal systems would have to mimic at least some of the characteristics of illegal migration.