How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The odd journey of the 'Smuggle Truck,' from border to zoo

It has been a long, strange trip for "Smuggle Truck," the proposed human smuggling-themed game featuring a truck full of smuggled migrants bouncing through the wilderness, with the goal of players to keep the human cargo from being thrown off.

The game, which drew substantial outrage, was nixed by Apple as an application for iPhone and iPad, though it's still available in Mac and PC mode. But with a few tweaks here and there, its developers, Owlchemy Labs, have converted the truck filled with smuggled humans to a truck filled with cuddly animals bound for the zoo. It's now called "Snuggle Truck."

Here's how the developers explained the new game in a promotional video:

"Snuggle Truck will feature a group of cuddly creatures escaping the wilderness for the comfort of a zoo, where they are provided plenty of food, shelter, and state-of-the-art health care."


In the news this morning: More grim discoveries in Tamaulipas, Apple rejects immigration-themed game, 'birther' Donald Trump, more

Body count from Mexican mass graves nears 300 - Reuters The search for victims in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas continues. Many of the dead are believed to be migrant workers who refused to cooperate with drug smugglers.

Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Leaving the U.S. - Business Week Skilled immigrants have been returning to their native countries, including India and China, to start businesses there.

Some states undeterred by Arizona immigration-law backlash - Politico In spite of the legal setbacks that have weakened Arizona's SB 1070, states like Florida and Georgia are still considering similar bills.

Donald Trump presses on - Los Angeles Times Trump, who embraced the "birther" movement as he contemplates a run for the White House, is giving himself credit for the release yesterday of President Obama's long-form Hawaii birth certificate.


Immigration, foreignness and the 'birther' debate

Photo by paparatti/Flickr (Creative Commons)

In John F. Kennedy's day, it was the anti-Catholics who dogged the Irish American presidential candidate, raising fears that having a Catholic descendant of immigrants in the White House could mean a United States under the influence of the Vatican and a compromise of the firewall between church and state.

It was referred to as religious bigotry. But it had only been a matter of decades then since Irish immigrants were accepted into mainstream society. While the controversy was over religion, Kennedy's Irish roots lay close to the surface of the debate.

The same can be said for Barack Obama's half-Kenyan roots today, amid the so-called "birther" debate that has prompted the White House to release the president's long-form birth certificate. The accusation that Obama was not born in Hawaii, but in his father's native Kenya, has dogged him since his campaign days, prompting him back in 2008 to release the more easily obtained short-form birth certificate.


Mixed name, mixed child: A biracial father reflects upon naming his newborn

Photo by Chiceaux Lynch/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A few posts in the past weeks have discussed interracial relationships, drawing several comments from readers who shared their thoughts and personal stories.

One reader, Guybe Slangen, went a step further, writing an essay about his own upbringing as the son of Belgian and Filipino immigrants and his unique name, which reflects his mixed heritage. Slangen and his wife, who is Korean American, recently had to decide on a name for their newborn daughter, who he describes as a "Kore-Belgi-Pino." The process prompted Slangen to reflect on his name and identity, and wonder what his child's experience will be. Here's his story.

I used to despise the first day of school.

Teachers would go down the class list calling out names, and I could tell when they got to mine by their confused looks and their long, silent pause. I would instantly raise my hand, but what would follow would be the inevitable name slaughtering, making me the instant target of relentless teasing from my peers.


Latino, Asian voters still lag in turnout in spite of numbers

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

A report released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center on the Latino electorate in 2010 led to very different headlines as news outlets reported the results, and for good reason.

"Latinos voted in record numbers in 2010 elections," read the headline in USA Today. The headline in the Washington Post, "Latino and Asian voters mostly sat out 2010 election, report says," indicated a different story altogether.

But both interpretations are correct. According to the report, more than 6.6 million Latinos voted in last year's election, setting a record for a midterm election. Latino voters also made up a larger share of the electorate than in any previous midterm election. They represented 6.9 percent of all voters, up from 5.8 percent in 2006.

All that said, Latinos showed poorly at the polls when considering their sheer numbers - more than 50 million of them in the U.S., per the 2010 Census. From a summary of the Pew voter report: