How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

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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Longest waits for immigrant visas: January

Source: Visa Bulletin for January 2011, U.S. Department of State

Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed their petitions.

It's January, which means it's time for our monthly feature on the longest waits for green cards. Last month, the people who became eligible for immigrant visas after waiting the longest had endured a wait of 23 years, having filed their petitions in early 1988.

This month it's no different, according to the U.S. State Department’s Visa Bulletin. Some of the hopeful immigrants whose number is up to receive a green card this month have been waiting in line since January 1988. That was before the launch of the World Wide Web, when acid-washed jeans were considered fashionable, and before most people had ever heard of grunge rock.

Immigrant visas have technically become available for those whose priority dates, i.e. the dates on which petitions were filed, are listed in the bulletin. This month, the longest waits have been endured by:

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In the news this morning: Immigration bills from the states, the 14th Amendment challenge, Arizona's anti-ethnic studies law, more

Immigration Battle Shifts to States With Wave of Bills - The New York Times Among other things, at least half a dozen states will introduce laws similar to Arizona's SB 1070, and a coordinated effort in at least five states will seek to do away with automatic U.S. citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants, as now guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.


Date set for unveiling of birthright citizenship bill - Arizona Capitol Times Arizona GOP leaders Sen. Russell Pearce, the author of SB 1070, and Rep. John Kavanagh plan a press conference Wednesday at the National Press Club to introduce model legislation that, they hope, would force the U.S. Supreme Court to reinterpret the 14th Amendment.


Watch out for those American-born criminals, Utah data suggest - Salt Lake Tribune Research from Brigham Young University attempting to quantify Utah’s crime rate for undocumented immigrants has so far found that they commit no more violent and property crime than people born and raised in the United States, and less by some measures.

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Top five immigration stories of 2010, #1: Arizona's SB 1070

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC


It's been a year in which immigration has played a part in everything from the economy and the 2010 census to the California governor's race, making it tough to limit the year's biggest immigration stories to a list of only five. The stories we have reviewed this week have included the tragic massacre of migrants near the Texas border in Tamaulipas, which highlighted just how dangerous clandestine passage to the United States has become; the record number of deportations under the Obama administration, part of an enforcement trade-off for broader reforms that never came; the controversial enforcement programs Secure Communities and 287(g); and the Dream Act, which prompted an unexpected student movement in support of its proposed conditional status for undocumented college students and military hopefuls.

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Top five immigration stories of 2010, #2: The Dream Act

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A student's bold statement, December 8, 2010

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act wasn't new when 2010 rolled around. The proposed legislation, which would have granted conditional legal status to undocumented young people who attended college or joined the military, had already been knocking around Congress for almost a decade when it was reintroduced last year.

Still, this year has been the Dream Act's biggest by far. After failing as an attachment to a Senate defense bill voted down in September, it was introduced again as a stand-alone bill. In December, it came as close as it ever has to becoming law, clearing the House Dec. 8, but falling five votes short of cloture in the Senate ten days later. The most recent version, tightened and reintroduced in late November, would have allowed young people under 30 to apply for legal status if they met all the requirements, including having arrived before age 16.

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