How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Student Steve Li being released from detention

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A week ago, it seemed there would be nothing stopping the deportation of San Francisco student Steve Li to Peru, where the 20-year-old Chinese-American was born while his family was living there. Now, a few days after the intervention of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein temporarily halted his removal from the country, he is being released from an Arizona detention center and is on his way home.

Inside Bay Area and other outlets reported earlier today that Li would soon be on his way back to San Francisco via Greyhound bus, according to his lawyer. From the story:

He will remain under supervision and must regularly report to immigration officers once he is back in the city, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice.

News of his release came hours after Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a private relief bill in Congress on behalf of Li. The bill, if enacted, would grant Li a green card allowing him to permanently reside in the United States. Congress rarely passes such bills, but the mere introduction of the private bill effectively halted Li's deportation.

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American snapshot: Commerce

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A bibimbap billboard above a gas station off Interstate 5 in Commerce, November 19, 2010

This is the first time I've ever seen an English-language billboard with an image of bibimbap, the beloved Korean meal-in-a-hot-pot, most often crowned with raw egg.

The billboard is an advertisement for TheTasteofKorea.com, a website promoting Korean dishes that appears to be sponsored by the South Korean government and a food trade group.

Still, it's not a billboard you'd expect to see in anything other than an immigrant town, where staples and comfort food from around the world are part of the regional cuisine. Bibimbap, we already love ya.

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Is the DREAM Act good for the economy?

Robert Huffstutter/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A recent study by UCLA's North American Integration and Development Center examined the future earning potential and economic input of the estimated 825,000 now-undocumented youths who stand to benefit from the DREAM Act, proposed legislation that would allow a path to legal status for college students and military enlistees.

The conclusion, from a report released this week: An estimated $1.4 trillion current dollars in income generated by DREAM Act beneficiaries over 40 years.

From the report:

In this study, we examine two scenarios. In the first, we calculate the income that the lower-bound estimated 825,000 beneficiaries would generate over a 40-year period, representative of the work life of a 25- to 65-year-old employed individual. In our second scenario, called “No DREAMers Left Behind,” we analyze the income that would be generated in the same 40-year period if the entire group of 2.1 million potential beneficiaries could successfully meet the education or military service requirement.

By observing the educational attainment of the Latino population (which represents over 80 percent of the total potential beneficiary cohort, according to the MPI) and applying those trends to the 825,000 eligible individuals in the MPI scenario, our study concludes that the income generated over 40 years would be $1.4 trillion in current dollars (actual income would be significantly higher if inflation over 40 years is taken into account).

In the No DREAMers Left Behind scenario, 2.1 million undocumented immigrants would become legalized and generate approximately $3.6 trillion over the same 40-year period (also in current dollars).

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In the news this morning: Why CSU Fresno student leader was outed, DREAM Act update, SB 1070 boycott gets expensive, more


Ramirez fairly treated by Collegian - The Collegian Interesting piece from the editorial board of the CSU Fresno campus daily on the decision to out student body president Pedro Ramirez as undocumented.


White House sees opportunity for immigration reform in lame-duck Congress - Los Angeles Times More on Democratic plans to move a DREAM Act vote before new GOP lawmakers arrive in January.


Immigration law boycott cost Ariz. $140 mln: study - Reuters A tourism and convention boycott of Arizona over SB 1070 has cost the state $141.4 million in lost spending, according to a study.


New Santa Monica Ordinance Leaves Armenian Cabbies Stranded - New America Media Hundreds of Armenian taxi drivers could lose their jobs due to a controversial new ordinance limiting taxi franchises in the city.


Ferrigno among volunteers for Arizona sheriff - The Washington Post Sheriff Joe Arpaio's anti-illegal immigration "posse" will include celebrities like Steven Seagal and "Hulk" actor Lou Ferrigno.

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After 20 years of the H-1B visa, a mixed legacy

Photo by MoDOT Photos/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A worker at the keyboard, June 2010

Does anyone know that it's the 20th anniversary of the H-1B visa? The tech reporters at Computerworld do. The magazine has produced a special report on the temporary work visa used to bring over highly skilled foreign workers, many employed in the technology industry.

The report is educational and at times critical of the visa program, which its detractors have blamed for the displacement of native-born professionals and linked to the offshore outsourcing of U.S. jobs. From the introductory news analysis:

Over the years, supporters of the visa have included Microsoft's Bill Gates and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who in 2009 told Congress that the annual visa cap of 85,000 is "too small to meet the need" and that protecting U.S. IT workers from global competition creates a "privileged elite."

Groups like the Economic Policy Institute have begged to differ. In a report released just last month by EPI researcher Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, he argues that the H-1B along with the L-1 visa, which is used by multinational firms to transfer employees for temporary work, allow employers to bypass U.S. workers "when recruiting for open positions and even [to] replace outright existing American workers" with visa-holding foreigners.

The H-1B's wage requirements are too low, according to the report, and because visas are held by employers, not workers, the H-1B promotes a relationship "akin to indentured servitude."

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