How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning: Arizona hospital bill, Tunisian migrants, birthright bill hearing postponed, a conviction in border murders, more

Arizona bill brings hospitals into immigration fray - Politico The state bill would require hospitals to check on whether a patient is in the country illegally. It's the first of its kind on the country, and has drawn heavy criticism from doctors.

BBC News - Tunisia influx problem 'serious' for Europe says Italy - BBC The big immigration story in Europe right now comes after the fall of Tunisia's dictator, with thousands of migrants leaving the country on boats headed for Italy.

Birthright bills won’t be heard this week - Arizona Capitol Times A state  senate hearing on a bill proposing to deny birthright citizenship to children born to undocumented immigrants has been tabled until next week as a tax-related bill takes top billing.

Vigilante Member Found Guilty of Murder in Arizona; Could Face Death Penalty - New America Media Jurors begin deliberation today on whether or not to impose the death penalty on Shawna Forde, the leader of a Minuteman splinter group. She was found guilty for the 2009 murders of a 9-year-old Latina girl and her father in a rural Arizona border town.

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Quote of the moment: A local supporter of Iran's Green Movement

Photo by killerturnip/Flickr (Creative Commons)

An Iranian flag flown at a 2009 rally in Los Angeles

“We believe this: there is a democracy quake in the Middle East. People are looking to destroy the old model of politics."

- Hamid Shirazi, a Iranian American from Los Angeles area at a local solidarity protest


USC's Neon Tommy spoke with Shirazi and others during a pro-Green Movement rally on Sunday, one of several organized online to coincide with protests for democratic reforms in Iran. Thousands demonstrated today in the capital city of Tehran. In the wake of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's resignation last Friday, pro-democracy protests have spread throughout the Middle East, with protests also in Yemen and Bahrain today.

The massive Egyptian demonstrations were sparked by protests that last month led to the ouster of Tunisia's autocratic ruler, which in turn has prompted an exodus of migrants.

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Meet L.A.'s curbside Valentine vendors

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Gustavo Angel and his Valentine gift display in Echo Park, February 13, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Gustavo Angel and his Valentine gift display in Echo Park, February 13, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Gustavo Angel and his Valentine gift display in Echo Park, February 13, 2011


Just before Valentine’s Day each year, a small army of immigrant entrepreneurs stakes out street corners, freeway off-ramps, tables outside established businesses or just busy stretches of sidewalk, spreading out small loads of romance-themed gifts for sale.

You’ve seen these guys – they’re the ones waiting for you to drive up and claim that pink teddy bear holding the red embroidered heart that reads “I (Heart) U,” wrapped in crisp cellophane.

Who are they, and how do they get hold of so many pink bears to sell anyway? Yesterday, I met up with Gustavo Angel, 28, one of Los Angeles’ diligent curbside Valentine vendors, who was working the intersection of Sunset and Echo Park boulevards.

“My regular work is washing loncheras,” said Angel, a Salvadoran immigrant who has sold gifts on the street for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day since soon after he arrived eight years ago. “I saw people selling these and I thought hey, I can try this.”

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American snapshot: Boyle Heights

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A sticker message spotted on the freeway, February 13, 2011

The stickers on a truck driving along the 101 interchange through Boyle Heights get at the long-running debate over how to identify those of us with ancestry from Latin America: Latino, Hispanic, or simply as from wherever it is our roots are, like Mexicano?

An older thread on one chat board had some interesting and occasionally raw takes, including this one: "Hispanics are things and people of Spain. We are not things or people of Spain."

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In the news this morning: A different Arizona immigration bill, MALDEF president a possibility for CA high court, Persian classes at USC, mo

Hearing set on bill requiring hospitals to check patients' immigration status - Arizona Republic The state senate bill would require hospitals to confirm that someone is in the country legally before the person is admitted for non-emergency care, and that if not, that the hospital notify immigration officials.

Thomas A. Saenz: Governor considers naming a civil rights activist to the state Supreme Court - Los Angeles Times Saenz is president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and led the legal fight against Proposition 187 in the 1990s.

Illegal immigration: Conservative Inland Empire cities move to require E-Verify - Los Angeles Times The inland communities pushing for tight immigration rules in the workplace are especially hard-hit by the recession, with a high rate of foreclosures and unemployment.

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