How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning: Immigration and same-sex couples, a review of the green card lottery, Latinos going to federal prison, more

Same-sex marriage: U.S. immigration policies cause some same-sex couples to live abroad - Los Angeles Times While straight American citizens can obtain green cards for their spouses and fiances, the Defense of Marriage Act has precluded same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits.

U.S. Green-Card Lottery Scrutinized After Blunder - Wall Street Journal The State Department's Inspector General is reviewing the government's green-card lottery after this year's results were scratched due a computer glitch.

Why an Arizona Immigration Law Could Mean Trouble for Big Banks - CNBC A decision by the Supreme Court last week upholding an Arizona law imposing harsh penalties on businesses that hire undocumented immigrants could foreshadow a serious regulatory headache for national banks.

AP Enterprise: More Hispanics go to federal prison - Associated Press Statistics released this week revealed that Latinos now comprise nearly half of all people sentenced for federal felony crimes, a number swollen by immigration offenses. In comparison, Latinos last year made up 16 percent of the total U.S. population.


LAPD chief on Secure Communities: 'It tends to cause a divide'

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Los Angeles' chief of police is less than gung-ho about a controversial immigration enforcement program known as Secure Communities, a federal fingerprint-sharing program that has drawn complaints from some law enforcement and state officials, while it is embraced by others.

During a radio interview yesterday with KPCC's Patt Morrison, the Los Angeles Police Department's Chief Charlie Beck expressed some of the same concerns that more vocal critics of the program have voiced, among them Sheriff Michael Hennessey of San Francisco. An excerpt from the Beck interview:

The thing that the San Francisco sheriff worries about, and that many people in Los Angeles worry about, is that it causes a huge divide between a large portion of our population. Because whether people agree with it or not, a large portion of L.A.'s population are immigrants, and many of them are undocumented.

So it tends to cause a divide there where there’s a lack of trust, a lack of reporting, a lack of cooperation with police. You know, I cannot prosecute crimes without witnesses...


In the news this morning: An Arizona-style bill in Alabama, the hip imam, Georgia seeks farm labor, the 'Emboricuate' beer scandal, more

Alabama passes Arizona-like immigration bill, intensifies hiring regulations for businesses - New York Daily News State legislators approved a state immigration bill Thursday that allows police officers to detain drivers who have committed a traffic violation if there is "reasonable suspicion" that they are in the state illegally, and requires that all businesses to verify the legal status of their employees.

American imam: He teaches Islam with a distinct U.S. style - Los Angeles Times Oklahoma-born convert Suhaib Webb sprinkles his public addresses with pop culture references and has a growing following, especially among young Muslims. Traditionalists are leery.

To address unemployment, Georgia governor proposes farm work - CNN The state's governor is looking for ways to fill a farm worker gap after some areas reportedly lost more than fifty percent of their laborers. Many are said to have left after the approval of an immigration law allowing local police to identify and detain undocumented immigrants.


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.