How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

St. Patrick’s Day L.A.-style: Taco specials in Bell, Irish whiskey in Koreatown

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Yes, it's the Irish Nachos, that pinnacle of culinary fusion. A Guinness helps.

It's St. Patrick's Day, the religious feast day turned celebration of Irish culture that in the United States is, well, marketed to and celebrated by everybody. And in the Los Angeles area, it's celebrated in parts of town where Irish tradition isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

In Bell, the taqueria Tacos El Unico has posted green shamrock-studded coupons on its Facebook page for a "St. Patrick's Day Exclusive" special of street tacos and mini cheeseburgers.

In Boyle Heights (named for Irish immigrant and settler Andrew Boyle) the Chicano hipster bar Eastside Luv Wine Bar y QUEso is celebrating what it's calling “St. Pochi's Day,” a St. Patrick's Day party and a celebration of Eastside-bred pochismo rolled into one. “St. Pochi's is kind of tipping our hat to the Irish, and not so much being satirical but more of being a show of respect,” explained bartender Ed Castellon.

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In the news this morning: Landmark bills signed in Utah, Irish Americans' labor legacy, Japanese earthquake relief and memorial, more

Utah Governor Signs Landmark Immigration Bills - Fox News Latino One bill requires police to check the immigration status of people stopped on suspicion of a felony or serious misdemeanor. Another creates a guest worker program for unauthorized immigrants in the state. The others allow businesses to recruit Mexican workers and let U.S. citizens sponsor foreign residents wanting to work or study in Utah.

CEOs urge Arizona to forgo immigration measures - BusinessWeek Dozens of large Arizona employers are urging state lawmakers to not pass additional legislation targeting illegal immigration, saying it would damage the state's economy and tourism industry.

For Irish-Americans, labor threats carry poignancy - BusinessWeek From Patrick J. Lynch, head of the union that represents New York police: "...the faces may have changed. The countries they're coming from may have changed. But the ladder is the same."

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Reaction to the question, 'Was the shooting of Manuel Jamines justified?'

Photo by Neon Tommy/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Protesters at a rally last year after the police shooting of day laborer Manuel Jamines, September 10, 2010

The Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners ruled yesterday regarding last year's fatal police shooting of day laborer Manuel Jamines, backing the department's position that the officer's decision to shoot the Guatemalan immigrant was not out of line. The shooting in the Westlake district, which took place in September, triggered violent street protests in the days that followed.

Jamines, who was 37, was shot by department veteran Frank Hernandez, who fired two shots. Some witnesses described Jamines as intoxicated and waving a knife at passersby and later at police; other witnesses said that Jamines, who spoke a Mayan dialect, dropped the knife before the officer fired. Hernandez had been involved in previous shootings.

Since announced, the ruling has generated a small protest, a fair amount of media coverage, and various reactions online. A post on KPCC's Facebook page today asked the question, "Do you think officer Frank Hernandez was justified in shooting Guatemalan day laborer Manuel Jamines?"

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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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