How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Muslims in America last year: 'Like looking in the mirror and seeing a monster in place of yourself'

One of the biggest immigration-related stories of the year, one that I regret not having squeezed into my top-five list, also involved culture, religion, and a substantial dose of fear.

Nearly ten years after the World Trade Center attacks, a nationwide rise in anti-Muslim sentiment manifested itself everywhere from Ground Zero in New York City to Temecula, and many points in between. Citizens mounted protests against planned mosques from coast to coast, arsonists set fire to a mosque construction site in Tennessee, a Florida preacher threatened to burn copies of the Quran, and the overwhelming majority of Oklahoma's electorate voted to ban Sharia law from the courts, even if Islamic law had never been cited in one of the state's courtrooms.

The experience has left many Muslim Americans reeling. In the recent Bloggingheads exchange above, Egyptian-born columnist Mona Eltahawy describes the feeling she got seeing some of the news reports: "It was like looking in the mirror and seeing a monster in place of yourself."

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Census Bureau history lesson: The immigrant population over time

Photo courtesy of Erica Marshall/Flickr (Creative Commons)


For those who love statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau has compiled a nifty list of historical census facts regarding the nation's foreign-born population, as hot of a newsworthy topic today as it was in the nineteenth century.

Here's nifty historical fact number one:

The foreign-born population accounted for 10 percent of the total U.S. population in 1850, and 15 percent in1890. Today, the foreign-born comprise 12 percent of the population.

In other words, immigrants are no bigger part of the population than they were 111 years ago, and comprise only a slightly larger piece of the pie today than they did before the Civil War.

Also in the numbers, though, is one telling difference that may well influence perceptions: The ethnic and racial makeup of the foreign born.

From another item on the list:

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In the news this morning: More on states' immigration plans, CO governor seeks conditions from ICE, the census and Latino politics, more

States seek to tackle birthright citizenship, illegal immigration - Atlanta Journal-Counstitution More on state lawmakers' plans to gather in Washington this week to announce their anti-illegal immigration strategies, including a plan by GOP legislators to challenge the 14th Amendment.

Ritter expected to make announcement on use of Secure Communities data - The Denver Post Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter has sought four conditions to the agreement with immigration authorities on the fingerprint-sharing program that aims to find and deport people with criminal records, including that it be used only for serious crimes.

Immigrants Call For National Bud Lite Boycott Against Hensley - Technorati Immigrant rights activists in Arizona want to boycott Bud Light over contributions made to anti-illegal immigration candidates by its chief distributor in the state, Hensley and Co.

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14th Amendment, Section 1: The battle begins

Photo by Victoria Bernal/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A baby at a May Day rally in downtown Los Angeles, May 1, 2010

After months of strategizing, the battle over the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is about to officially begin.

On Wednesday, two Arizona Republican leaders, including SB 1070 architect Sen. Russell Pearce, will introduce to press in Washington, D.C. the model legislation that they hope will force the U.S. Supreme Court to review and eventually reinterpret the constitutional right to U.S. citizenship for all those born in this country, with the goal of denying the right to children born to undocumented immigrants.

Arizona lawmakers will not be the only ones introducing the model legislation, the product of a larger coalition of state legislators who share the same goal. Legislators in at least 14 states plan to do the same, with the objective of prompting a judicial review.

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