How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Goodbye Encarnación, hello Estefany

Photo by David Herholz/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The website for Telemundo's Mun2 channel recently posted an amusing slideshow on the evolution of baby names in Spanish, from old-fashioned traditional names with a religious bent like Encarnación and Guadalupe to English names filtered through Spanish, à la Estefany, Yenifer and Jhonatan.

The slideshow is unscientific fun, but it's true: While there are still plenty of kids with traditional Spanish names being welcomed into the world in Latin America and the United States, they have been joined by a growing contingent of boys with names like Jhonny (with that spelling, like the Detroit Tigers' Jhonny Peralta) and girls named Yenifer and Yasmin (as opposed to Jasmine or the Spanish word for the flower, jazmín).

It's one of those cultural phenomenons that occurs when one culture mirrors another and the reflection turns out not as a mirror image, but rather one shaped by the tastes, colors, and sounds of those doing the mirroring.


Digging into the new Dream Act

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

The latest version of the federal Dream Act that Senate Democrats plan to introduce is, at least for now, fairly similar to the version approved by the House last December.

As have its predecessors, the most recent Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would grant conditional legal status to qualifying young people who are in the United States illegally but were brought here as minors under 16, provided they attend college or join the military.

The eligibility requirements for applicants, if the bill were to become law, remain much the same, However, there are a few key differences:

  • The age cap for applicants, which was reduced to age 29 last year, has been bumped back up to 35 years of age or younger

  • The length of conditional legal status before applicants may obtain permanent legal resident status has been reduced to six years, as in an earlier version, from 10 years

  • This version would, as did an earlier version (but not the House-approved one), seek to repeal a ban on in-state tuition rates for beneficiaries


Report: U.S. population growth almost exclusively minority-driven

Art by Eric Fischer/Flickr (Creative Commons)

We already know that Latinos accounted for more than half the nation's population growth in the last decade.

Today the Pew Research Center broadened the minority growth picture in its Daily Number feature, distilling this nugget from the 2010 Census: The U.S. population growth between 2000 and 2010 was driven almost exclusively by racial and ethnic minorities.

From the post:

Overall, racial and ethnic minorities accounted for 91.7% of the nation's population growth over the past 10 years.

The non-Hispanic white population has accounted for only the remaining 8.3% of the nation's growth. Hispanics were responsible for 56% of the nation's population growth over the past decade. There are now 50.5 million Latinos living in the U.S. according to the 2010 Census, up from 35.3 million in 2000, making Latinos the nation's largest minority group and 16.3% of the total population. There are 196.8 million whites in the U.S. (accounting for 63.7% of the total population), 37.7 million blacks (12.2%) and 14.5 million Asians (4.7%). Six million non-Hispanics, or 1.9% of the U.S. population, checked more than one race.


In the news this morning: Federal Dream Act, Secure Communities controversy, more

Senate’s top Democrat sees path for DREAM Act in possible immigration enforcement legislation - The Washington Post Senate Democrats announced yesterday that they will reintroduce a bill that would grant conditional legal status to some undocumented youths brought here at minors, but it faces long odds; Sen. Harry Reid said one possibility could be to tie it to a worksite enforcement bill.

Isaura Garcia, Battered Woman Facing Deportation, Embodies Problems with ICE Program - OC Weekly One of the complaints that has arisen from opponents of the federal fingerprint-sharing program, intended to net immigrants with criminal records, is that women who call police to report abuse have landed in deportation proceedings as well.

Carolina school district accused of anti-Hispanic bias - Fox News Latino A civil rights group has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education alleging that Latino students do not "feel welcome" in the Durham Public Schools system in North Carolina.


American snapshot: Glendale

Photo by Lory Tatoulian

A crosswalk at Glendale Avenue and Broadway Boulevard next to Glendale City Hall, April 2011

Is Glendale helping preserve a language? There are different but similar versions of Armenian spoken by the Armenian diaspora. Western Armenian, which is spoken by many immigrants who came to the United States, is considered by UNESCO to be in danger of extinction.

But it's common to see Armenian script in Glendale, where it's found not only in commercial signage, but on public property such as crosswalks and government buildings.