How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'The right to choose how we dress:' American Muslim women speak out on French burqa ban

Photo by Siobhán Silke/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Kenza Drider, one of the most vocal opponents of France's burqa ban, April 2011

On Monday, France implemented a controversial ban on the face-covering veils worn by some Muslim women, which are referred to there as burqa or niqab. Women who continue to wear the veils are subject to steep fines if cited. The French government defends the ban as promoting sexual equality, while critics have called it a blatant appeal to anti-Muslim voters. Meanwhile, there has been mixed reaction from Muslim women as the ban is debated around the world.

KPCC intern Yasmin Nouh, a recent graduate of UC Irvine who herself is Muslim and wears hijab, the traditional head scarf, interviewed three prominent Muslim women in California on reaction to the ban. She spoke with Hadeer Soliman, vice president of the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine; Edina Lekovic, director of policy and programming for the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles; and Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Here's what they had to say about the burqa ban, how it affects Muslim women here, and broader concerns they see surrounding it.


In the news this morning: A fake 'army unit' citizenship swindle, the Muslim veil debate, Latino kids and exercise, more

Man falsely promotes US citizenship through 'special' army unit, prosecutors say - 89.3 KPCC Yupeng David Deng of El Monte allegedly charged Chinese immigrants to join a phony military unit, promising it would lead to U.S. citizenship.

Is Los Angeles the Most Diverse City in America? - GOOD The quarterly magazine is focusing on Los Angeles, which may be the nation's most diverse city, depending on how diversity is measured.

Muslim women bring their voices to the veil debate - USA Today The debate over France's new ban on full-face veils worn by Muslim women has gone global.

Latino kids follow parents' lead when it comes to exercising (or not) - Los Angeles Times New research shows that Latino kids pick up the sedentary habits of their parents.

Fired workers say Chipotle was soft on immigration - Reuters Some of the workers let go following a federal audit say they obtained jobs with fake Social Security numbers, were asked few questions about their immigration status, in some cases openly told managers that their papers were no good.


The cultural mashup dictionary: Googlear

Photo by TexasT/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Thank you, News Taco, for calling to mind a term that merits a place in the evolving cultural mashup dictionary: Googlear.

Yesterday the website published a brief post on a report from ClickZ, which provides marketing news, on the Google search habits of Latinos. I'd seen the report earlier and it's interesting in itself: Among other things, 93 percent of Latinos use Google for searches, 80 percent of Spanish keyword searches come from the search engine's English interface (which likely means that bilingual Latinos are searching the English interface), and Latinos are big smartphone users, with a greater tendency to use cell phones in their searches than the general market.

But back to the term "googlear," which the post featured prominently in a graphic. I say this all the time without thinking about it. It's not just any neologism but a double one, a new term coined from another new term. Here is the sort-of official definition of googlear from Wikipedia:


Whatever comes of SB 1070, the law has left its mark on immigration politics

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Protesters rally across the street from the downtown Phoenix office of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio last July 29, the day that parts of SB 1070 went into effect.

The Arizona law that became one of last year's biggest immigration stories has been shot down in federal appeals court, at least for now. Yesterday, a judge in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court judge's decision from last summer to block several of the most controversial components of SB 1070, among them a provision empowering local police to check for immigration status given "reasonable suspicion" that someone may be in the country illegally.

It's still not clear how the state will appeal the latest decision, though it most likely will. In the past, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has vowed to take the state's case to the federal Supreme Court. But whatever becomes of SB 1070, parts of which have been in effect since July 29, the law has already had a lasting effect on the state of immigration politics in the U.S.


Readers respond: Has 'coming out' undocumented become less risky?

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A student's bold statement, December 8, 2010

A post yesterday on the trend among young, undocumented student activists and their supporters of revealing their immigration status, done as a political act, has drawn some interesting comments.

They were posted in response to a question: Has revealing immigration status truly become less risky for those who do it?

Recent statements from federal immigration officials have indicated that there's less of a priority being placed on deporting people who would have been eligible for the Dream Act, proposed legislation that failed in the Senate late last year, and which would have granted conditional legal status to young people brought here as minors who went to college or joined the military. Some youths in high-profile cases have had their deportation suspended. Is the risk of deportation for these young people who "come out" no longer so great?