How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Navy names ship for Cesar Chavez, but controversy hasn't died down yet

Photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The criticism lobbed at the U.S. Navy since last week by some politicians and pundits for its decision to name a ship after the late labor leader and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez didn't stop the Navy from moving forward.

Last week, the Navy formally announced that the latest ship in its Lewis and Clark class of cargo vessels would be named for Chavez, who served in the Navy between 1944 and 1946, to honor the many Latino shipbuilders responsible for the construction of these and other ships. But the firestorm that has surrounded the vessel's name has yet to completely die down.

Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, a Republican from East San Diego County and former Marine who set off the controversy after he complained about the Navy's decision, has now introduced legislation directing the Secretary of the Navy to name the next available ship after the late Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta.


In the news this morning: Georgia's farm labor crisis, Rubio's immigration stance, Muslim group seeks airport training investigation, more

Georgia Farmers Brace For New Immigration Law - NPR The growers of Georgia's famed sweet Vidalia onions fear that a new law cracking down on employers will leave them without workers.

Marco Rubio takes a hard line on immigration - Politico The freshman GOP senator from Florida has been mentioned as a presidential hopeful, but he has taken a hard right turn on immigration that could drive away the Latino voters that Republicans need to win in 2012.

Secure Communities Provision Added to House Bill — The Texas Tribune The bill would require that undocumented immigrants who are arrested be released to the custody of immigration authorities and leave the country as soon as possible.

Undocumented Immigrants Go Under the Knife to Erase Their Fingerprints - New America Media From La Opinión, a piece on what some federal agencies and humanitarian activists say is a growing trend in light of the advanced technology used to identify undocumented immigrants.


The amo and the atsay: Another perspective on the Schwarzenegger-Baena love child scandal

Photo by Bulent Yusef/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A detail from a mural in London, June 2006

Ever since the news broke last week about former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's love child by ex-maid/mistress Mildred Patricia Baena, the stories and headlines relating to ethnicity (she's Guatemalan) have ranged from the somewhat engaging (like a piece about Baena's MySpace page) to the groan-inducing, not to mention the inevitable SEO-friendly list.

But it was interesting, if sad, to see the scandal put in cultural perspective today by a Asian-Pacific Islander writer for the immigration blog Feet in 2 Worlds. Cristina Pastor, founder of a New York-based Filipino American magazine called the The FilAm, wrote:

In the Philippines, where I come from, it is not unusual for the head of the household to help himself to a servant. When the wife finds out, the maid is often kicked out of the house.

Sometimes, the amo (employer) and the atsay (maid) find true love, they both leave the household and stay together as man and wife. As there is no divorce in the Philippines, most certainly no alimony is expected by the family left behind. If the man has means, maybe he’s a lawyer or a company executive, he will support both of his families. But many middle-class machos just leave and see no need to provide for their wife and children.

Sometimes the employer gets to keep both the wife and the maid. To avoid gossip, especially concerning a couple enjoying an exalted position in the community, the wife will just learn to accept her husband’s brutish behavior. Sometimes, the teenage son may find the maid a convenient way to be initiated into sex; sometimes there is paternal incitement, sometimes not.


What California's prison downsizing might represent for private detention contractors

Photo by foreverdigital/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Now that California has been ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to reduce its prison population by tens of thousands of inmates, how might this affect the private prison companies that make money incarcerating not only criminals, but also immigrants awaiting deportation?

The state has two years to comply with the high court's order, intended to relieve a lack of adequate medical and mental health care for inmates in an overcrowded prison system.

Depending on how it's done, the downsizing could be a windfall for the private prison industry - or not. According to a story today in the New York Times, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy "emphasized that the reduction in population need not be achieved solely by releasing prisoners early." Other possibilities might include new prison construction - something that private jailers do quickly and cheaply - transferring more prisoners out of state, or using county facilities.


In the news this morning: Child farm labor, Latinos in Amish country, Secure Communities investigation to begin, more

Farm labor: Children in the fields - 60 Minutes - CBS News A report on Latino youths working alongside their parents in the agricultural industry. Children as young as 12 can be hired for farm work.

Latino Country: Hispanic population surpasses Amish in Lancaster County, U.S. Census data show - In recent years, the number of Latinos in the "Amish country" of Pennsylvania has surpassed that of the Amish.

The Associated Press: Man held in car bomb probe deported to Pakistan - Associated Press Aftab Ali Khan, 28, arrested in Massachusetts during the investigation of last year's failed New York Times Square car bombing, was deported to Pakistan on Sunday.

Government Starts Inquiry Into Program Leading to More Deportations - KPBS According to federal immigration authorities, about 28,000, or 35 percent, of those who have been deported so far under the immigration enforcement program have been convicted of serious felonies. The idea of the program was to find deportable immigrants with criminal records.