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Making sense of Alabama's new immigration law: Three good reads

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Nearly a year after Arizona's SB 1070 took effect last July, the immigration spotlight has shifted to Alabama, where yesterday the governor signed an anti-illegal immigration law that is being described as the nation's most stringent yet.

Like SB 1070, the Alabama law would allow local police to check the immigration status of people they detain. But there are other elements - including a business component patterned after an earlier Arizona measure - that make the law particularly contentious, and lawsuits challenging it are already in the works.

Among the many news reports today, a few good ones have helped explain the law and put it in perspective.  An Associated Press story today broke down its key elements:

Among other things, the law makes it a crime for landlords to knowingly rent to an illegal immigrant.

Another provision makes it a crime to transport a known illegal immigrant. Arizona's law appears narrower: It includes language against human smuggling and makes it illegal to pick up laborers for work if doing so impedes traffic.

Alabama's law also goes further in requiring schools to check the immigration status of their students. The measure does not prohibit illegal immigrants from attending public schools; lawmakers said the purpose instead is to gather data on how many are enrolled and how the much the state is spending to educate them.


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Immigration issues hit home for Latino voters

Source: impreMedia-Latino Decisions Tracking Poll, June 9, 2011

Since early this year, the polling firm Latino Decisions has been working with impreMedia, parent company of the Spanish-language Los Angeles newspaper La Opinión, to produce a series of tracking polls measuring Latinos voters' attitudes.

A recent poll this spring ranked the importance of various federal policy issues, with immigration topping the list. Now, the latest poll digs more deeply into the immigration topic. Its results illustrate just how personal of an issue immigration is for these voters, and provide a glimpse into the prevalence of mixed status in family and community circles.

Out of a sample of 500 registered voters in 21 states who identified as Latino, 53 percent said they knew someone who is undocumented. One-fourth said they knew a person or family who has faced immigrant detention or deportation.


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In the news this morning: Alabama immigration law is nation's strictest, an immigration scam crackdown, immigrants and the economy, more

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Alabama Illegal Immigration Law Tougher Than Arizona's - Fox News Latino Among other things, schools will have to check if students are in the country legally, and people stopped for any reason could be arrested on suspicion of immigration violations.

Gang member sentenced to life in racially motivated killing of bowling alley worker - Los Angeles Times A Latino gang member convicted in the racially motivated murder of a black Canoga Park bowling alley employee has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

US reps want Calif out of fingerprint program - San Francisco Chronicle Several congressional members now are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to suspend the state's participation in the federal Secure Communities immigration enforcement program.

Authorities crack down on immigration scams - Los Angeles Times Federal, state and local law enforcement and immigration agencies on Thursday announced a nationwide effort to crack down on immigration-related scams that prey on immigrants in desperate need of legal help.


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Second-generation restaurateurs, back in the kitchen

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For the children of immigrants, the traditional food one was raised on provided more than sustenance. Into adulthood, it remains a connection to our parents and grandparents. Its familiar tastes and smells take us back to homes that were a piece of the old country in the new.

But for the children of some immigrant restaurateurs, it represents much more.

In a great piece this week, the New York Times spoke with adult children of immigrant restaurant owners who have turned an upbringing spent in the mom-and-pop ethnic kitchens run by their parents into food industry careers of their own. Some returned to the kitchen after college or other careers, expanding and modernizing their parents' businesses, or starting their own.

Among those profiled is Diep Tran, chef and owner of Highland Park's Good Girl Dinette, where the comfort-food menu is inspired by Tran's upbringing. From the piece:


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Immigrants with college degrees outnumber those without high school diplomas

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A new report out today from the Brookings Institution notes what for many might be a surprising revelation: In the United States, immigrants with college degrees now outnumber those who didn't complete high school. From a summary of the report:
The share of working-age immigrants in the United States who have a bachelor’s degree has risen considerably since 1980, and now exceeds the share without a high school diploma. In 1980, just 19 percent of immigrants aged 25 to 64 held a bachelor’s degree, and nearly 40 percent had not completed high school.

By 2010, 30 percent of working-age immigrants had at least a college degree and 28 percent lacked a high school diploma.

Culled from census data, the report details immigrants' educational and skill levels in the country's 100 largest metropolitan areas. Among other things, the research found that educational and skill levels vary greatly by geography, for a number of reasons.


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