How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

From KPCC's Madeleine Brand Show: Will the U.S. see more Middle East refugees?

Photo by Internews Network/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A refugee camp on the Libya-Tunisia border, March 2011. Photo by Internews Network/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A post last week examined the potential for refugees coming to the United States from the Middle East and North Africa, where ongoing political upheaval has turned violent in some countries, especially in Libya.

Officials from both the U.S. State Department and the United Nations agency that handles refugees said they had not seen a notable increase in nationals of the countries affected by what has become known as the “Arab Spring” seeking to come to the U.S. However, they have been seeing demand among displaced people who had already taken refuge in a second country, particularly Libya, where conflict is displacing these refugees yet again.

A few hundred foreign nationals in Libya, among them Eritreans, Sudanese and some Iraqis who took shelter there during the U.S.-led war, have already been referred to the State Department for resettlement, with more referrals expected in the coming weeks and months.


How hunger affects Latinos in the U.S.

Photo by LadyDucayne/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Multi-American's sister blog DCentric at WAMU in Washington, D.C. has put together a list of five ways in which Latinos are affected by the food insecurity crisis affecting families throughout the United States.

The list was compiled in light of an anti-hunger conference recently held in the nation's capital titled No Mas Hambre, organized by Latino magazine. While hunger touches American families across racial and ethnic lines, Latino families are affected in particular ways. One of the more troubling highlights from the post:

Latino children are more likely to go hungry than their peers. While one in four American children is hungry, according to Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America, “child hunger is even more prevalent among Latino households — one in three Latino children is food insecure. ”


In the news this morning: Misconduct admitted in WWII Japanese internment, GPS devices at border, immigrant entrepreneurs leaving, more

World War II internment: U.S. top lawyer admits misconduct in Japanese American internment cases - Los Angeles Times Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal has made an admission that one of his predecessors, Charles Fahy, deliberately hid from the Supreme Court a military report that Japanese Americans were not a threat during World War II.

Wash. woman finds anti-Muslim note on car - Seattle Times A woman found a note reading "We don't Muslims in America" placed on her car while she and her daughter were in a coffee shop.

Fingerprint database could get $10 million upgrade - The Washington Post The IDENT national electronic database of fingerprints, which includes immigrant fingerprint data and is missing prints taken before 2005, could receive a $10 million infusion of funds to digitize the old prints now sitting in card files across the country.


Spam rocks? Much, much love for Spam musubi

Photo by klyphord/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Spam musubi to go, October 2006. Photo by klyphord/Flickr (Creative Commons)

One of a series of posts last week that explored unsung ethnic delicacies highlighted Spam musubi, a popular snack made with Spam and sushi rice that is popular in Hawaii.

The series focused on those dishes or items that may not look or sound good, but are in fact delicious. I knew that Spam musubi was well-loved on the islands, and at least by one person in Washington, D.C., that being our Hawaii-raised president. But judging by the flood of comments that came in to KPCC's Facebook page, there is a great deal of Spam musubi love out there.

"This is one of my favorite foods!" Joanne Kakuda wrote.

"Hot dogs are worse than spam so I don't understand the prejudice against it," Tracy Munar-Ramos wrote. "Spam rocks!"

Okay, not entirely sure about that. Vanessa Lee put it in perspective:


Economics vs. enforcement: The long-running Vidalia onion saga

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Yesterday, NPR's All Things Considered examined the looming crisis in the Vidalia onion industry in Georgia, where growers of the prized sweet onions could be left without sufficient workers because of a new anti-illegal immigration law that tightens regulations for hiring labor.

But like a twice-deported immigrant, this is not the first time that Vidalia onions, grown exclusively in a small region within Georgia, have had a run-in with immigration enforcement.

The story didn't mention the political firestorm that ensued more than a dozen years ago, when immigration agents famously targeted Georgia's Vidalia onion growers. That story in the end illustrated how difficult it is for agriculture to subsist without cheap unauthorized labor - and how economics can trump the political will to enforce immigration laws when push comes to shove.