How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning: Dream Act vote still in the works, deported mothers, the Fox-Cruz 'anchor baby' debacle and more

Reid Still Planning to Hold a Vote on the DREAM Act - Fox News Latino Just when is still unclear, but the Senate Majority Leader has promised a Senate vote. It's now possible that the vote could occur next week.

Deportation Pushes Mothers Into Endless Cycle of Illegal Crossings -KPBS When mothers with young children are deported, many feel they have no choice but to come back.

Dumpling-throwing, Purse-snatching San Gabriel Ex-Mayor Won't Face Charges Since Victim Fled the Country - LAist Former San Gabriel mayor Albert Y.M. Huang will not be facing domestic violence and robbery charges now that the alleged victim, Lu Chen, has left the country.

Fox News: ‘Penélope Cruz is Having an Anchor Baby’ - ColorLines The immigration debate reached a new low when a headline screamed that the wealthy Spanish actress, who plans to deliver in Los Angeles, is having an "anchor baby." A Latino Republican group has complained to the network.

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Video: Boyle Heights' Wyvernwood apartments

The Los Angeles Conservancy has produced a video that tells the story of Boyle Heights' historic and unusual Wyvernwood Garden Apartments, a sprawling 70-acre complex built in the late 1930s where generations of immigrants have raised generations of Angelenos.

The complex, which I visited a while back, is unique in that its buildings are set among vast grassy fields, giving the place a sense of space and breathability while housing about 6,000 residents. It's an anomaly in Los Angeles, especially in this dense part of the city.

Regrettably, the complex faces the wrecking ball. The Florida-based investment company that owns it announced plans in 2008 for a $2 billion redevelopment in that would replace its 1,187 existing units with 4,400 condominiums and apartments, including high-rises, and retail space. The developer has said that demolition is not imminent, but residents have mounted a resistance.

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Laptop art: Dream Act students' computers

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC


Spending time with college students while they call legislators in support of the Dream Act has also meant spending time with their laptops, as many juggle school work with their activism on a bill that would grant conditional legal status to undocumented students – including some of those making the calls – and military hopefuls. A Senate vote could take place as early as this week.

While working near several students last week at a makeshift phone bank in downtown Los Angeles, the sticker art on several of their laptops caught my eye. Here are a few snapshots:

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Q&A: Catching up with Arthur Mkoyan, now in college, but still in immigration limbo

Last week, when college students invested in the Dream Act gathered around the country to anxiously watch the results of voting in the House and Senate, one of those on the edge of his seat was Arthur Mkoyan. The Armenian-American former high school valedictorian from Fresno made national headlines two summers ago when, as he prepared to graduate, he and his parents were arrested by immigration authorities. A deportation date was set for shortly after his graduation.

In June 2008, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a private bill that granted them a temporary reprieve. Mkoyan is now 20 and in college. But his immigration status remains in limbo, since private bills rarely succeed. The family arrived on temporary visas when he was four years old. Mkoyan's father, a government worker in his native country, felt threatened after exposing corruption where he worked, and they applied for asylum. But the application was denied several years ago. Without further intervention, Mkoyan and his parents could again find themselves in deportation proceedings in the future.

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