How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

For some Egyptian Americans, the revolution will be Facebooked

Photo by Asim Bharwani/Flickr (Creative Commons)

An Egypt solidarity rally, partly organized on Facebook, outside the federal building in West Los Angeles Saturday, January 29, 2011

Social media has played a remarkable role not only in how Egyptians used it to coordinate the anti-government protests that are now in their ninth day, but in how the world has witnessed, relayed information, and organized around the crisis.

Stories have ranged from the ways in which Egyptians finagled ways around a government shutdown of Internet and cellular access to continue using Twitter and Facebook to how a UCLA graduate student, employing a network of acquaintances in Egypt and old-fashioned telephone land lines, relayed eyewitness updates via Twitter @Jan25Voices.

Among Egyptian Americans, Facebook has played a big role in communicating, commiserating and organizing around the protests, as many have done in recent days to stage solidarity rallies in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities. Many of the Facebook pages dedicated to the Egypt crisis are administered out of the United States (where they tend to be pro-demonstrator).

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In the news this morning: Birthright citizenship, immigration prosecutions, support for Muslim UCI students, deportee and detainee deaths, m

The end of birthright citizenship: Could it happen here? - MULTI-AMERICAN Part of a series exploring the battle over the 14th Amendment as legislators opposed to birthright citizenship push proposals that would deny automatic citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants.

Study finds jump in immigration prosecutions - The Associated Press An analysis of government data shows a sharp jump in immigration prosecutions under the Obama administration, along with an increase in prosecutions for white-collar crime, drug violations, organized crime and corruption.

Attorney: Calif. man suspected of planning attack on Mich. mosque says he meant no harm - Los Angeles Times Roger Stockham, 63, of San Diego County was arrested Jan. 24 in Dearborn, Michigan outside the Islamic Center of America mosque. Police said he was wearing a ski mask and had powerful illegal fireworks in his car.

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The end of birthright citizenship: Could it happen here?

Photo by Victoria Bernal/Flickr (Creative Commons)


In September, a report from the Migration Policy Institute took a shot at predicting what the unauthorized population of the United States might look like in 2050 if birthright citizenship were repealed.

It estimated that depending on the rules established, the total unauthorized population - now estimated at around 11 million - would grow over the next four decades to anywhere between 16 million and 24 million. Not because more people would necessarily be entering illegally, but because these immigrants would be having U.S. born second-generation undocumented children. And because these children, without legal status, would eventually have third-generation undocumented children of their own.

Even if all new illegal immigration into the United States were to stop, the report concluded, the biggest drop in the unauthorized population would occur among foreign-born immigrants, with slower but still-steady growth of an undocumented second and possibly future generations.

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'Narco novias' and the drug war art of Carolyn Castaño

Photo by Julio Cruz/KPCC

A nude figure reclines among marijuana leaves in one of Castaño's paintings, January 2011

The ugliness of the drug war has inspired some hauntingly beautiful paintings from a Los Angeles artist, the daughter of immigrant parents from Colombia. KPCC's Alfredo Guzman-Lopez interviewed Carolyn Castaño, who has created a series of paintings based on real-life "narco novias," women drawn into the netherworld of drug cartels through romantic entanglements.

From the piece:

Three years ago, Carolyn Castaño created a portrait of Pablo Escobar and other drug cartel leaders in Colombia and Mexico, paired with the women who became the drug dealers’ lovers, girlfriends or wives.

"What I found is that there’s a high degree of beauty queens and very, models, actresses and journalists who get involved with these kind of dark personas," she said.

She scoured the Web for pictures of what she calls "narco novias" and "muñecas de la mafia" – narco-girlfriends, mafia dolls. The images she found are spread out on her work desk in her second-floor artist’s loft just east of downtown L.A.

The women’s perfect skin and hair makes the pictures look like head shots for a telenovela casting call. Such as Angie Sanclemente, who was the "Reina del Café" – Coffee Queen – and became a model, actress and allegedly the leader of a drug ring that lured attractive young women.

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On the emergence of a mixed race nation

Photo by 24oranges.nl/Flickr (Creative Commons)

One of the most e-mailed and tweeted stories yesterday involved students from the University of Maryland, but it involved a subject very close to the heart of Southern California. The New York Times piece explored the emergence of a mixed race America created by immigration and intermarriage through the members of the university's Multiracial and Biracial Student Association, a group of students of mixed racial and ethnic heritage ranging from black-white to Japanese-Irish who are proud to identify as such.

According to the story, one in every seven new marriages in this country is between people of different ethnicities or races (there's a nifty graphic). Mixed race Americans are "one of the country’s fastest-growing demographic groups," and racial statistics from the 2010 census, which will soon be released, will likely reveal more along the lines of this trend.

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