How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Before the vote, a few good Dream Act reads

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A homemade poster on the wall of the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, where student activists gathered last week to call legislators before the House vote on the Dream Act, December 8, 2010

With a Senate vote on the Dream Act now in the works for tomorrow morning, there is no shortage of reading material pertaining to the bill, which would grant conditional legal status to undocumented youths who either attend college or join the military, provided they arrived here before age 16 and meet other strict criteria.

A recent version of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was approved by the House last week, and a procedural vote on that version is anticipated tomorrow morning in the Senate.

In spite of unprecedented student activism and popular support (a recent Gallup poll showed a narrow majority of respondents in approval), its chances of success in the Senate are slim: As of yet, there is insufficient Republican support for the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. The Senate is also expected to vote tomorrow on the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military.

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In the news this morning: Dream Act vote is on, detainee medical care, 2010 albums and more

Senate DREAM Act Vote Set for Saturday - ColorLines Saturday morning votes are in the works for the Dream Act and a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving opening in the military.


CA immigrant detainee medical care suit settled - The Washington Post Immigration officials have agreed to expand medical care at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contract detention center in San Diego, the subject of a 2007 lawsuit that claimed inadequate medical treatment for immigrants held there while facing deportation.


Immigration Officials Can Be Sued, Judge Says - Fox News Latino A federal judge has ruled that ICE officials are not immune from lawsuits brought against them on constitutional grounds.


Adios 2010: Alt.Latino Salutes The Albums Of The Year - NPR The weekly program and blog's list of favorites for the year, including releases from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Argentina and the Dominican Republic.

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Dream Act: A possible vote on Saturday

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A student's bold statement, December 8, 2010

Talking Points Memo is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will file cloture tonight on two key measures for Senate Democrats, the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military, and the Dream Act. From the update:

On the Senate floor just now, Majority Leader Harry Reid announced the Senate will vote as soon as Saturday on a bill repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That puts it ahead of the START treaty, as proponents of repeal had requested.

Reid is also filing cloture on the DREAM Act. That means both bills should come up for a procedural vote on Saturday. The vote on the DREAM Act will come first, followed by the vote on DADT.

The cloture vote to break the filibuster on the DREAM Act is expected to fail. Next will come a cloture vote on DADT. If Reid has 60 votes for cloture vote on DADT, the vote on the actual bill will likely come Sunday.

"We've got to move this all along," Reid said from the floor.

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Latinos and health: Guys, eat a salad and stay home

Photo by elotroxxx/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Un "indeciso chico en Burger King," as the photographer refers to him on Flickr, June 2007. Chico, that Double Whopper has 900 calories - don't do it.

This is not a great news day for Latino men, health-wise. First, a new Yale School of Medicine-led study has found that while young Latinos in the U.S. have generally better health than non-Latino white men, they are more likely to be murdered or die in a car accident. Not good to hear.

If that's not enough, new report in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior says that among immigrants from Mexico, men are the most likely to suffer declining health after adapting to U.S. culture (which includes a less-healthy U.S. diet) than their female counterparts.

From a story in Futurity.org, which curates research news from universities:

“Men who have recently migrated from Mexico tend to report better health than women,” says Bridget Gorman, associate professor of sociology at Rice University and lead author of the study. “This could be in part because men are more likely than women to migrate to the U.S. in search of employment—often in physically demanding jobs—and at younger ages.”

...While men tend to start out healthier than women, their health declines at a faster pace as they adapt to the U.S. culture.

“In particular, the risk of diabetes increases at a strong rate for Mexican-American men, even after we account for a variety of factors that might explain this relationship, such as smoking or income,” Gorman says. “Yet, among women, diabetes status appears mostly unrelated to their acculturation level.”

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Shared memories of Boyle Heights' Wyvernwood

Screen shot


A post from earlier this week featured a video produced by the Los Angeles Conservancy telling the story of the Wyvernwood Garden Apartments, a unique 70-acre Boyle Heights complex built in 1939 that, for much of its existence, has been home to generations of immigrants and their Los Angeles-raised families. Much of the footage was contributed by residents who are trying to save the complex, eventually scheduled to become the site of a new condo, apartment and retail development.

In passing, I mentioned a fascinating Facebook page on which former residents, some of whom were raised amidst Wyvernwood's sprawling grassy lawns and winding paths, share memories of growing up there. The most recent entries are a few months old, but they provide such a rich slice of Eastside life, both good and bad, that they're worth sharing in detail. Here are a few, unedited.

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