How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning: More Secure Communities resistance, hurdles for national Latino museum, the California Dream Act, more

Officials Resist Federal ‘Secure Communities’ Program - New York Times A program central to the Obama administration's immigration enforcement strategy faces growing resistance from state governments and police. The governor of Illinois has announced plans to pull the state out. There is resistance in other states, including California, where a bill seeks to make participation voluntary.

Many hurdles lie ahead for Latino museum - Sacramento Bee As envisioned by supporters, the National Museum of the American Latino would sit in Washington, D.C. and tell the story of the Latino experience in America, starting with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors. But there are financial and other obstacles.

Hispanic Caucus calls on Obama to freeze controversial immigration enforcement program - Los Angeles Times Resistance to the federal Secure Communities fingerprint sharing program is also coming from Latino political leaders. Yesterday the Congressional Hispanic Caucus asked President Obama to freeze the controversial enforcement program.

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In honor of Cinco de Mayo and the Battle of Puebla, a little mole poblano

The Cinco de Mayo holiday is tied closely to Puebla, the Mexican state and its capital city of the same name. It commemorates the unlikely defeat of French forces by outnumbered Mexican troops in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

And there's something else that Puebla is closely tied to: mole poblano, one of the most ambrosial of Mexican dishes. So in honor of the 1862 victory at Puebla, here's a little mole poblano cooking video. It's much easier just to order it somewhere, but it's fun to watch how it's made - not easily.

Non-Spanish speakers, grab a translator and enjoy. And happy Cinco de Mayo.

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What is the California Dream Act?

Photo by un.sospiro/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo by un.sospiro/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Although its name connotes proposed federal legislation that fell by the wayside late last year, the California bill approved today 51-21 in the state Assembly does not have anything to do with granting legal status to undocumented college students. It does, however, make it easier for them to pay for college.

The bill is AB 130, one of two related bills sponsored by Democratic Assembly member Gil Cedillo of Los Angeles. It allows for undocumented students who already meet the residency criteria for California in-state tuition to obtain scholarships that are not derived from state funds. From a synopsis of the bill:

Existing law requires that a person, other than a nonimmigrant alien, as defined, who has attended high school in California for 3 or more years, who has graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent thereof, who has registered at or attends an accredited institution of higher education in California not earlier than the fall semester or quarter of the 2001-02 academic year, and who, if he or she is an alien without lawful immigration status, has filed a prescribed affidavit, is exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges and the California State University.

This bill would enact the California Dream Act of 2011.

This bill would provide that, on and after January 1, 2012, a student attending the California State University, the California Community Colleges, or the University of California who is exempt from paying nonresident tuition under the provision described above would be eligible to receive a scholarship derived from nonstate funds received, for the purpose of scholarships, by the segment at which he or she is a student.

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U.S. Muslims hope for better days, but one report indicates these could still be far off

Photo by sadaqah/Flickr (Creative Commons)


In recent days, since the announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, Muslims around the country have expressed hope that the pall of suspicion they have lived under since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 will dissipate. But that day is a long way off, a new report alleges.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and New York University School of Law's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice has released a briefing paper alleging that since 9/11, Muslims continue to be targets of discriminatory immigration practices via the recently discontinued National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), the naturalization process, the immigrant detention system and racial profiling at U.S. borders. An excerpt:

The charges brought against Muslim immigrants are almost always ordinary immigration violations. Unlike ordinary immigration proceedings, however, the government often insinuates the immigrant’s involvement in some sort of terrorist activity, without providing either the basis or the evidence for its allegations. The low evidentiary standards of the immigration system permit the government to make these accusations without proof, which they would not be able to do in a criminal trial.

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In the news this morning: Cinco de Mayo, Secure Communities, 'sanctuary cities' bill, more

Illinois Drops Secure Communities as Fierce Opposition Mounts in Massachussetts, Other States - Fox News Latino Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has announced his intention to drop out of the federal Secure Communities immigration enforcement program. A pending California bill would make it voluntary here.

Cinco de Mayo: Six fun facts about the Fifth of May - What is Cinco de Mayo about? - Christian Science Monitor No, it is not Mexican independence day. Cinco de Mayo marks an outnumbered Mexican army’s victory over an invading French army on May 5, 1862, in Puebla, east of Mexico City.

TX Teacher Suspended After Telling Muslim Student 'I Bet You're Grieving' - Talking Points Memo The male teacher taunted a 9th-grade girl, who is Muslim, over the death of Osama bin Laden, referring to him as her "uncle."

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