How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

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.


In the news this morning: Secure Communities in NY and SF, the 'Tequila Party,' a Latino majority in many cities, Russell Pearce recall, mor

Cuomo To Pull New York Out Of Secure Communities Program - NY1 Governor Andrew Cuomo will at least temporarily pull New York out of the federal Secure Communities immigration enforcement program pending a review. An announcement is expected this week.

'Tequila Party' aims to increase Latino voting bloc - CNN Tequila Party organizers describe their new movement as a nonpartisan group that has enlisted both Democrats and Republicans to get the more than 20 million eligible Latino voters to become "consistent primary and general election voters."

San Francisco sheriff's deputies allowed to assist ICE - San Francisco Examiner Sheriff Michael Hennessey will begin releasing undocumented immigrants suspected of low-level crimes instead of turning them over to federal authorities starting today, but individual deputies may be under no obligation to follow that policy.


Can chicharrones be at all good for you?

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

If you're on a low-carb diet, perhaps. I never thought I'd see chicharrones marketed as a diet-friendly, low-carb food, but indeed, fried hog skin turns out to be carbohydrate-free.

Health-related websites like My Fitness Pal, which lists the nutritional content of various brands of packaged chicharrones, and Livestrong both bear testament to the beloved Latin American snack as having zero carbohydrates per serving.

As for things like fat and sodium, well, that's a different story. Dieters, eat chicharrones at your own risk.

But advertising works. After coming across this package of spicy chicharrones stamped with the zero-carb label at a gas station today, I bought it out of curiosity. It's now half gone. Yikes.


Opting out of Secure Communities? Not so fast, ICE official says

Photo by Chad Miller/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo by Chad Miller/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The California Assembly voted last week to approve a bill that seeks to extricate the state from Secure Communities, a federal immigration enforcement program in which the fingerprints of people who land in local jails are checked against a database of immigration records.

The bill, which now moves to the state Senate, would allow California to renegotiate its contract with the Department of Homeland Security, letting local jurisdictions opt out of what is now a mandatory program or the state to opt out altogether.

But can this really happen? Not so fast, says a top Homeland Security official interviewed by KPCC's Kitty Felde. From a story today:

John Morton, director of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says local jurisdictions don’t have the power to pick and choose.

"An individual state can’t come to the federal government and say, 'We don’t want the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to share information or seek to prevent that information sharing.' That is between federal departments."

The bill still needs approval from the state Senate, and from Gov. Jerry Brown, who supported Secure Communities when he was California’s attorney general.


Four things to know about immigrants in the military

Photo by US Army Korea - IMCOM/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A post yesterday told the story of the late Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta, whose name has come up in recent weeks after one Southern California legislator suggested a U.S. Navy ship be named for him.

Peralta, a Marine who died in Fallujah, Iraq in November 2004, was a Mexican-born immigrant who enlisted upon receiving his green card. And there are many others like him serving today. As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here are a few things to know about the immigrants who serve in the U.S. military, who might serve in the future, and military service members of color in general.

1) Non-citizens in the military: Often referred to as “green card soldiers,” non-citizens join the military at a rate of about 8,000 per year, according to a recent Department of Defense video. Last year, the Associated Press reported there were close to 17,000 non-citizens on active duty.