How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning: Local Salvadorans and Obama's visit, Muslim civil rights hearings, a 4-year-old U.S. citizen gets deported, more

Local Salvadorans hope Obama visit sign of immigration reform, help - San Gabriel Valley Tribune From the story: The visit was championed as an indication of the U.S. president's commitment to the small poverty-striken nation, whose economy, crime and emigration levels are inextricably tied to the United States.

Durbin to host hearings on protecting Muslim civil rights - The Hill Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) plans to hold hearings on protecting American Muslims' civil rights "in response to the spike in anti-Muslim bigotry in the last year," according to a statement.

U.S. citizen gets deported: L.I. tot, 4, sent to Guatemala after grandfather's detained - New York Daily News The federal government deported a 4-year-old Long Island girl, who is a U.S. citizen, after her grandfather was detained at the airport over an old immigration violation as they returned from a trip to Guatemala.


Ethnic food tastes worth acquiring: Durian

Photo by Florian/Flickr (Creative Commons)

This week, I’m featuring a post a day on those ethnic foods that may be an acquired taste, but are worth acquiring because in the end, they are unsung delicacies. And I've been taking suggestions, which is a good thing, because there are different delicacies for different people.

Which brings me to today’s item. The "food, booze and punk rock" blogger Javier Cabral, aka The Glutster, suggested one of his favorite acquired tastes, the durian. Yes, that durian.

The spiky, football-sized fruit is, for some, the closest thing to a culinary prank. I was once invited to a lovely home-cooked dinner by friends in Singapore only to have my hosts begin giggling as time for dessert approached. “Now,” one of them said, “you get to try durian!” As everyone began to laugh, I realized that I’d been set up as the evening’s entertainment in the role of foreigner-getting-her-first-taste-of-durian, or rather, my first whiff.


What killed Arizona's anti-illegal immigration bills?

Photo by midwinter/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Last week, Arizona's state senate voted down five major anti-illegal immigration bills, among them two bills seeking to deny automatic U.S. citizenship to babies born to undocumented immigrants, a bill requiring hospitals to check immigration status, and an "omnibus" bill that would bar undocumented immigrants from public services.

In a state whose name has become a synonym for getting tough on illegal immigration, it's a radical shift from a year ago, when Arizona legislators were considering the stringent SB 1070 sponsored by Sen. Russell Pearce, the Republican who is now state senate president.

What happened? Since the vote late last week, there has been a good amount of analysis that attempts to answer this. Arizona's business community, already suffering from a post-SB 1070 economic boycott of the state, played a substantial role.


Angelino, Angeleno, Angeleño: Who are we?

Photo by jwilly/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The skyline from the top of Runyon Canyon Park in Hollywood, January 2008

A couple of months ago, I featured an excerpt from a popular post on the KCET website by author D.J. Waldie on the disappearance of the Spanish consonant ñ, pronounced “enye,” from the word that we in Los Angeles use to describe ourselves.

Angeleños became Angelenos toward the end of the 19th century, as eastern and midwestern migrants came west, changing the region's Spanish-speaking identity. But over the course of the 20th century and into the 21st, that identity has continued to evolve as the cultural landscape is continuously reshaped by newcomers from Latin America and elsewhere around the globe.

What is an Angeleno today? How does the culture we were raised in, and the part of the L.A. area we call home, shape how we define ourselves?

I'll be taking up these and other questions next Tuesday night during a panel event at KPCC. My guests will include Waldie, who is one of my favorite local authors, and Eric Avila, an associate professor of Chicano studies, history and urban planning at UCLA.


In the news this morning: Check your own immigration status, Latino youths a majority in AZ, an Asian American citizenship effort, more

US To Allow Individuals To Check Their Immigration Status Online - Wall Street Journal The federal government will now allow workers to verify their immigration status online as part of an effort to improve the accuracy of the data employers use to confirm a person's legal ability to work in the United States.

Former U.S. immigration attorney sentenced for taking more than $400,000 in bribes to help illegal immigrants - Los Angeles Times Constantine Peer Kallas, a former federal immigration attorney from Rancho Cucamonga, was sentenced Monday to 17 years in prison for accepting bribes to help undocumented immigrants stay in the country.

Arizona Is Immigration Debate's Ground Zero With Hispanic Majority In View - Bloomberg The 2010 census found that 43.2 percent of Arizonans under 18 were Latino, and that white Arizonans were for the first time in a minority in that age group, 41.6 percent.