How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

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.


In the news this morning: Calif. Secure Communities bill advances, Latinos and gay marriage, refugees continue to flee Libya, more

Immigration legislation: California lawmakers weigh opting out of federal immigration enforcement program - Los Angeles Times A bill that would allow California and local jurisdictions to opt out of the controversial Secure Communities immigration enforcement program passed the Assembly late last week, and moves forward to the Senate.

First Read - High court voids civil rights suit against Ashcroft - The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that former attorney general John Ashcroft cannot be sued by a American-born Muslim man who claimed that he was improperly detained in the early days of the war on terror.

The Gay Marriage Latino Divide; Told Through the Family of a NY Politician - Fox News Latino The divide as told through the family story of New York state senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, whose granddaughter was discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2008 because of her sexual orientation.


Marine, hero, immigrant: Remembering Sgt. Rafael Peralta

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

During a recent controversy over the naming of a U.S. Navy ship for labor leader and civil rights hero Cesar Chavez, the name of a lesser-known hero was brought up, that of Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta.

Peralta's story, better known in military circles, came up earlier this month when Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, a Republican from East San Diego County and a former Marine, objected to the Navy's decision to name a new cargo ship for Chavez, who served in the Navy between 1944 and 1946. Hunter suggested naming the ship after Peralta instead; after the Navy moved forward with its original decision, Hunter responded by introducing legislation last week seeking to name the next Navy vessel after the late Marine.

Who was Rafael Peralta? His story is as inspiring as it is tragic. Peralta was a Mexican-born Marine whose family moved from Mexico City to Tijuana. Like many kids growing up on the border, he attended school in San Diego. He eventually received permanent legal resident status in the United States and, upon receiving his green card, according to news reports, he joined the Marines. A piece on the site described his early ambitions: