How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

American snapshot: 'Educación'

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Another interpretation of the freeway sign, this one by artist Luis Genaro Garcia, photographed January 2011

Street artist Banksy was only the latest to take on the iconic running migrant family freeway sign. Here is the sign as reinterpreted by Southern California artist Luis Genaro Garcia, who has made a few versions of the image. In this one, the parents carry the tools of manual labor - a wrench and pliers, a feather duster - while the child wears a cap and gown.

I photographed the piece on a wall at the offices of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles while reporting on an event there last January.

Read More...

Will 'Blank-sy' contest inspire more immigration-themed art?

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A memorial where Banksy's "Caution," a parody of the migrant family freeway sign - flying a kite - was cut out of the wall at First and Soto Streets, February 28, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A memorial where Banksy's "Caution," a parody of the migrant family freeway sign - flying a kite - was cut out of the wall at First and Soto Streets, February 28, 2011


Will an online contest to "fill in" the space left on a Boyle Heights wall after street artist Banksy's version of the running-family migrant freeway sign draw more immigration-themed political art?

The culture blog Remezcla has launched a "Fill in the Blank-sy" art contest asking readers, "What would you put in this spot’s space now that Banksy’s work has been stolen?"

A Multi-American post yesterday explored the brief life of a stencil by the elusive British artist, in town for the Oscars as a best-documentary nominee, which depicted the familiar freeway sign showing a running family of three. Only in this case, the characters against the yellow background were depicted flying a kite.

The stencil at First and Soto Streets in Boyle Heights was defaced and later removed on Friday; at least two nearly identical stencils were documented around town, including one on a Boyle Heights bridge (also gone), although those weren't claimed officially on Banksy's website.

Read More...

Report: Native-born workers not harmed by legalizing unauthorized competition

Photo by jphilipg/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Construction signs, August 2008

According to a UC Riverside study out today, granting legal status to undocumented workers would help get them into jobs that are better suited to their skills and increase their wages, while not having an adverse effect on the wages of native-born workers.

From the executive summary:

We find that a legalization program would increase immigrant wages by more than 20 percent. We also find that most of this effect can be attributed to immigrants switching into higher paying occupations after legalization, rather than receiving higher wages in the jobs they previously held.

These results, combined with other studies, suggest that a path to legal status will likely: a) help immigrants by improving their earnings, b) increase U.S. economic productivity by allowing immigrants to find jobs better matched to their skills, and c) have a negligible impact on the wages of native-born workers.

Read More...

In the news this morning: Religious leaders oppose Muslim hearings in Congress, ICE detainee dies, drivers targeted in Bell, more

Religious leaders express concern over Muslim hearings in congress - 89.3 KPCC More than a hundred Southern California religious leaders have signed a letter urging Congress to cancel hearings on the “radicalization” of Muslims in the U.S. The letter is addressed to Rep. Peter King, the New York Republican who has called the hearings.

Lawsuit: Company sought to hire illegal immigrants - BusinessWeek Immigration agents detained about 600 unauthorized workers at Howard Industries' plant in Laurel, Miss., in 2008. The company pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to violate immigration laws, and was fined $2.5 million.

ICE detainee passes away at Lock Haven Hospital - Justice.gov Detainee Qi Gen Guo died of an apparent suicide Feb. 23. A Chinese national, he was being processed for deportation after being arrested Feb. 11. He is the sixth U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee to die in custody since last Oct. 1.

Read More...

American snapshot: Boyle Heights

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

The Velez Ice Cream truck, February 28, 2011

No, this is not a gourmet taco truck, just a striking rolling canvas that sells plain old ice cream. The truck was parking for the night in a lot shared with other ice cream vendors.

Read More...