How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

From readers, thoughts on the 14th Amendment debate

Photo by Chuck Coker/Flickr (Creative Commons)

U.S. Constitution art, September 2008

Yesterday I wrapped up a weeklong series of posts on the battle over birthright citizenship and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which as interpreted guarantees citizenship to all those born on U.S. soil.

The series coincided with the introduction of four anti-birthright citizenship bills filed last week in Arizona, intended to force a Supreme Court reinterpretation of the amendment. These were among several related measures filed last month by Republican legislators in Congress and in two other states, all intended to eventually deny citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants.

Along the way, I’ve appreciated a number of interesting comments from Multi-American readers. Some came from readers who appeared to have a legal background (“As any first year law student knows…” one comment began), making for a great discussion on a complicated topic.

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Report: Most undocumented parents arrived long before having kids

Photo by David Herholz/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Babies nap in a Missouri hospital nursery, February 2010

An interesting nugget buried inside a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center is relevant to the current debate over birthright citizenship brewing in Congress and state legislatures.

The report, which provides a snapshot of the current undocumented population in this country, finds that 91 percent of the undocumented parents who had babies in the United States over a one-year period ending last March had already been here several years.

Some of the details:

The Pew Hispanic Center analysis also examined year-of-arrival patterns for unauthorized immigrant parents of babies born from March 2009 to March 2010, to see how long the parents had been in the United States before their children were born. If year of arrival was available for both parents, the analysis used the most recently arrived parent.

According to the analysis, 9% of these unauthorized immigrants who had babies in 2009-2010 had arrived in the U.S. in 2008 or later. An additional 30% arrived from 2004 to 2007, and the remaining 61% arrived in the United States before 2004.

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In the news this morning: Lunar New Year, states keep copying SB 1070, Middle East worries on Main Street and more

L.A. area's Asian communities celebrate Lunar New Year - Los Angeles Times Happy new year! Today marks the start of the 15-day Lunar New Year celebration. On the Chinese calendar, it's the Year of the Rabbit; for the Vietnamese, it's the Year of the Cat.

"Top Gear" backfires: The BBC’s Mexican publicity stunt - The Economist Offensive comments made about Mexicans during an episode have landed a British comedy show in hot water.

Middle East unrest triggers concern, even on Alhambra's quiet Main Street - Alhambra Source The unrest in the Middle East as protests continue in Cairo is close at hand for the immigrant patrons of Wahib's restaurant in this ethnically mixed Los Angeles suburb.

Poll: Immigration enforcement divide - Politico A new poll finds Democrats and Republicans deeply divided over how law enforcement should handle immigration issues, in disagreement over whether federal or local officials should take the lead.

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American snapshot: West L.A., January 29

Photo by Asim Bharwani/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A woman holds an Egyptian flag as the car she's in passes a protest in front of the federal building in West Los Angeles last Saturday, January 29, 2011

I came across photographer Asim Bharwani's terrific Flickr photostream this week while searching for photos of Saturday's Egyptian solidarity rally in front of the federal building in West Los Angeles, organized by Egyptian Americans from Southern California.

While I chose a different color-drenched photo of the local protesters for my posts, I loved this pair's quintesentially Angeleno approach to the rally. Bharwani titled it "Egyptian drive-by."

Bharwani also posts occasionally on his modenadude.com blog.

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The future of birthright citizenship: A wrap-up

Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images

Elementary school students recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a September 11 memorial service in Tyler, Texas, 2003

During the past week, Multi-American has dissected the growing debate over the United States' longstanding policy of jus soli citizenship, commonly known as birthright citizenship.


Posts prior to the series covered the history of the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868; the content of model legislation introduced

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