How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning: The fate of different state immigration bills, Persian New Year, deportees in Haiti, skinheads in Claremont, more

Immigration reform: Glimpse of the future in Arizona and Utah? - Christian Science Monitor The fate of two very different sets of immigration bills last week, one in Arizona and one in Utah, suggest that the business community can play a critical role in shaping immigration legislation.

Celebration at City Hall -- for Nowruz, not budget prospects - Los Angeles Times The occasion was Nowruz, the Persian New Year. L.A.'s large Iranian American community marks the holiday every year with a party at City Hall.

Strangers in a Strange Land - The New York Times A video documents the experiences of deported Haitian Americans, some who came to the United States at a young age, surviving in post-earthquake Haiti. "This is hell," one says.

National Guard to leave Mexico border in June - WDAF More than a thousand National Guard troops brought in last year to assist with security on the U.S.-Mexico border are set to leave in June.

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Is revealing immigration status the new 'coming out?'

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A student's shirt at a coming-out event in Orange County, March 10, 2011

What began as a small number of undocumented college students going public with their immigration status in recent years, done as a political act, has developed into a growing movement that embraces a term once synonymous with the gay rights movement: coming out.

During the past week, a national campaign mounted by student immigrant advocacy groups has urged students and other young people to reveal their status. Advocacy sites have solicited coming-out stories via social media and posted them. Student groups around the country have held coming-out events, including one last week in Orange County.

The movement began as a strategy to attach names and faces to the young people affected by the Dream Act, proposed federal legislation that would have granted conditional legal status to undocumented youths brought to this country before age 16 if they went to college, or if they joined the military.

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A week’s worth of reactions to the House hearings on Islam

Photo by waltarrrrr/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A view of the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, CA, November 2009

The news of last Friday's earthquake in Japan all but obscured what had been some of the biggest news of the previous day, the first hearing of a planned series in the House Committee on Homeland Security on the “extent of radicalization” among American Muslims, led by committee chair and New York Republican Rep. Peter King.

Muslim groups and other minority organizations condemned the hearings as xenophobic; King defended them as “absolutely essential.” Prior to the first hearing March 10 (the next one has not been scheduled), KPCC’s Public Insight Network sent out a series of questions to members of its audience, inviting Muslims and people of all faiths to share their take on the hearings.

By last Friday morning, the House hearing had quickly fallen off the news radar, but people continued to respond. The majority were Muslim, though Christian and Jewish respondents answered the questions as well. Here are some excerpts from their responses.

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Giant Robot, others join Japan quake relief efforts

Photo by misocrazy/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Giant Robot store sign on Sawtelle Boulevard, September 2006

The Asian American pop culture emporium Giant Robot has added its name to a growing list of businesses and Japanese American groups in Los Angeles who are mounting efforts to raise money for earthquake relief in Japan.

The franchise, which owns galleries, a restaurant and shops in L.A. and San Francisco, has teamed up with UNICEF to raise funds via an art show at its GR2 store in West Los Angeles, which among other things sells Japanese toys, comic books, magazines and art.

The opening reception is Saturday night. The "Water Works" art show, planned prior to last Friday's devastating 9 magnitude quake in northeastern Japan, was to have promoted UNICEF’s mission to provide clean drinking water to children around the world. The event has now been re-engineered for quake and tsunami relief.

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