How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

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.

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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.

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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:

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In the news this morning: Student deportations under review, SB 1070 anniversary, Obama's long-form birth certificate released, more

Deportation of Illegal Immigrants Under Review - New York Times Pressure has been on the Obama administration to offer protection from deportation to undocumented college students who might have been eligible for legal status under the Dream Act.

The Unhappy Anniversary Of Arizona's Anti-Immigrant Law - Forbes Commentary on SB 1070 and its aftermath from a business perspective.

Hundreds begin protests against Florida immigration bills - CNN On Monday, hundreds of protesters boarded buses from Clearwater to the capitol building in Tallahassee, where they began a week of scheduled demonstrations against two strict proposed anti-illegal immigration bills.

Colorado House Committee Rejects College In-State Tuition Bill for Undocumented Immigrants - Fox News Latino A Colorado House committee has rejected a bill that would have let undocumented immigrants attend college at in-state tuition rates, instead of much higher out-of-state rates.

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For children of immigrants, can family trump opportunity?

Photo by Stephen Zacharias/Flickr (Creative Commons)


An intriguing post on the Being Latino website today points out, if unscientifically, the tug-of-war between family and career that pulls at some young Latinos - and which I suspect pulls at other children of immigrants, too.

In the post, contributor Orlando Rodriguez connects the dots between a Pew Research Center report from a couple of years ago titled "Who Moves? Who Stays Put? Where's Home?" and Latino mobility, examining whether family ties hinder the sort of mobility that could lead to greater professional achievement.

According to the Pew report, U.S-born Latinos are "markedly more likely" than other Americans to have lived in only one state, with 72 percent doing so. When they do move, family reasons are an issue as well: Nearly half (48 percent) of the Latinos surveyed who moved said it was because their community was a good place to raise their children, compared to only a third or so of black and white Americans.

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