How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Star-crossed: Love in a cross-status relationship

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A contributor to the Being Latino blog recently published a candid first-person essay about her relationship with her partner and the father of her child, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who was deported two years ago.

Nancy Sepulveda wrote:

That was two years and a thousand tears ago. Hours spent scavenging the Internet for immigration information. Wrestling with the idea of moving my children to a third-world country (Guatemala) and sacrificing reliable education and health-care systems, my own fledgling career, and the comparative safety of American life, to reunify our family. The heartache of knowing a separation of thousands of miles and a vicious border meant other romantic interests would inevitably be pursued. Our official breakup, and inability even now to stop the desperate I still love you’s whispered across endless coils of phone line.

I admit we played a role in creating our own tragedy. He chose to come here paperless and I “chose” to love him, and at every subsequent fork in the road we went the wrong way. Why didn’t we get married before he was picked up? I was a college student dependent on financial aid and didn’t want to jeopardize it by including his spousal income. I graduated two months before he was detained.

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Japanese American groups, businesses step up quake relief efforts

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A sign at the entrance to the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance, March 15, 2011

As northeastern Japan struggles to recover from last Friday's magnitude 9 earthquake and the deadly tsunami flooding that followed, Japanese American groups and businesses in Southern California have continued expanding efforts to raise money for earthquake relief, with donation boxes at businesses and additional relief funds set up.

UPDATED: On Thursday, the Japanese daily newspaper Rafu Shimpo and the Asian-language television station LA 18 are co-sponsoring a drive-through fundraiser downtown with the American Red Cross and Los Angeles City Council members Jan Perry and Bernard Parks. Between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., people who wish to donate funds can drive north on Main Street and hand donations to volunteers; sidewalk lanes between First and Temple Streets will be closed off for drivers participating. Those wishing to volunteer may call Perry's office at (213) 473-2308.

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In the news this morning: New Mexico the most Latino state, cops defend L.A. day laborer's shooting, students tweet immigration status, more

New Mexico, the Most Latino State in the Union, Gets Even More Latino - Fox News Latino The state grew by more than 240,000 people over the last decade. Seventy-eight percent of that increase was due to Latinos, who now make up 46 percent of the state's population, up from 42 percent in 2000.

LA Police Commission supports officer shooting of Guatemalan day laborer - 89.3 KPCC The Los Angeles Police Commission said yesterday that an officer was justified in killing Guatemalan day laborer Manuel Jamines in Westlake last September. The shooting prompted violent protests.

Japanese New Yorkers Desire to Meld Into Mainstream - New York Times From the story: "...among Japanese residents of New York, the response to the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami back home has so far been small, scattered and often private — a reflection of the population itself."

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UCLA student in anti-Asian rant video claims threats, apologizes - and inspires more parodies

The LA Weekly has posted a list of other angry/funny parody videos.

UCLA's Daily Bruin reports that the student who posted a video of herself ranting against "hordes" of Asian students on YouTube last Friday has sought the assistance of campus police after claiming to receive threats, and that she's issued an apology.

Alexandra Wallace's statement was sent yesterday to the campus newspaper, which posted this:

“Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate,” she said in the statement. “I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did, and if I could undo it, I would. I’d like to offer my apology to the entire UCLA campus. For those who cannot find it within them to accept my apology, I understand.”

The Bruin story described Wallace as a third-year political science student. The video, in which Wallace complains about Asian students in the library annoying her, complains about their relatives coming over, makes "ching chong" sounds while pretending to talk into a cell phone and ridicules them for checking on their families "for the tsunami thing" was condemned as "repugnant" by campus administration.

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He's glad immigration agents didn't ask 'how to get to Sesame Street'

Photo by EvelynGiggles/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Poor Big Bird. You can't even get a birdseed milkshake without bumping into the underground economy.

I don't usually resort to Spanish in this blog, but I had to after reading this story. ¡Dios mío! Actor and playwright Carlo Alban has written a confessional essay that, um, redefines the concept of hiding in plain sight. One might call it hiding behind Big Bird's feathers.

In his essay for Fox News Latino, Alban writes that in 1993, when he was 14, he landed a role on Sesame Street that lasted five years. His character, also named Carlo, worked at Mr. Hooper’s store, where he whipped up a birdseed milkshake for Big Bird. Alban writes:

But the whole time, I had a secret: I was an undocumented immigrant. The papers I’d used to get hired were fake.

My family had come from Ecuador when I was seven and my older brother Angelo was nine. We came on a tourist visa, and the moment my parents had gotten it, we knew we were not coming back. They sold all our furniture before we left.

My mother had a sister living legally in the United States, and my parents planned to have her sponsor us for residency. Soon after landing in New York, my parents saw a lawyer. But we were told the process would take four or five years.

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