How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Thanks for the kites and the love, Banksy

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A memorial where Banksy's parody of the migrant family freeway sign - flying a kite - was cut out of the wall at First and Soto Streets, February 28, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A memorial where Banksy's parody of the migrant family freeway sign - flying a kite - was cut out of the wall at First and Soto Streets, February 28, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A memorial where Banksy's parody of the migrant family freeway sign - flying a kite - was cut out of the wall at First and Soto Streets, February 28, 2011


This morning I went in search of what I'd hoped might be a remaining version of British guerilla street artist Banksy's stencil nicknamed "Caution," a parody of the famous migrant family freeway sign that for years was a fixture of the drive between Los Angeles and San Diego on Interstate 5. But no luck. Like the better-known stencil at First and Soto streets, the image that was briefly captured on the bridge at Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Pleasant Avenue - and which may or may not have been Banksy's - is also gone.

Banksy art began popping up throughout L.A. in the days leading up to yesterday's Academy Awards ceremony as the elusive artist, a best-documentary nominee for his film "Exit Through the Gift Shop," made the rounds of the town. The "Caution" stencil portrayed the familiar running migrant family, only flying a kite instead of making a harrowing sprint across the freeway.

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Will the Dream Act matter to Latino voters in 2012?

Source: impreMedia and Latino Decisions

Will the failure of the Dream Act in Congress last December matter to voters in the 2012 election? The polling firm Latino Decisions has published the results of a tracking poll, conducted with the publishing company impreMedia, whose findings indicate that it well could.

From the report released today:

We broke out support for the DREAM Act by intended vote choice in 2012 and found regardless of how Latinos will vote, a very strong majority support the DREAM Act. Among Obama voters, 79% strongly support and 14% somewhat support the DREAM Act – that’s 93% support for seeing this bill passed among the President’s Latino base. Further, among those who say they are undecided 62% strongly support DREAM with 23% somewhat support, all told 85% in favor.

Even among those who plan to vote for a GOP candidate in 2012, Republican contenders should take note, that Republican leaning Latinos also supported the DREAM Act by a big margin: 52% strongly support and 23% somewhat support, totaling to 75% approval of the bill.

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In the news this morning: Arrests in AZ after immigration bill hearings, Italy's immigration crisis, immigrant workers and Oscar, more

Raucous week for Arizona immigration law hearing - Arizona Capitol Times Six people have been arrested at the state Senate, and at least two blocked from returning, after state senators gave the green light to stringent anti-illegal immigration legislation last week. Senate President Russell Pearce says he has authority over who can and cannot enter the building.

Canada near top in integrating immigrants, survey says - The Globe and Mail A survey places Canada close to the top in terms of integrating its immigrants, placing third behind Sweden and Portugal.

New Migrants Flock to Italy, Intensifying Immigration Debate - New America Media There's also a raging immigration debate going on in Italy, with thousands of Tunisians and other North Africans fleeing to the southern islands of Sicily and Lampedusa as a result of political upheaval.

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Join us: Second-generation types liveblog the Oscars

Photo by Adarsh Upadhyay/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Academy Awards statuette replicas at a Universal Studios gift shop in Singapore, December 2010

It's true. Please join KPCC's OnCentral blog editor Kim Bui and me Sunday night as we reveal and celebrate Oscar's immigrant past and present. We'll throw out some trivia (which best actor nominee once had to pay a bribe while visiting a relative in Poland?).

We'll also be keeping score to see how many Oscar points go to the players who have relatively recent immigrant roots - and who these players are. It may well be what many have called "the whitest Oscars" in a decade, but will the nominees who are children and grandchildren of immigrants represent?

Join us and find out. We'll be going live at 5 p.m. Sign up below for an e-mail reminder.

UPDATE: And here's the point system we'll be using for anyone who wants to keep a tally. It's not scientific - hey, we're all descended from immigrants - but it shows us that even this year, there's more diversity to the Oscars than meets the eye.

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'Standing with the Eleven Million:' Immigration a centerpiece of Cardinal Mahony's mixed legacy

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Cardinal Roger Mahony speaks at a rally in support of the Dream Act in downtown Los Angeles, December 2010

Last month, as Cardinal Roger Mahony prepared to pass along the leadership of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to Archbishop Jose Gomez this coming Sunday, L.A.'s current Catholic leader - and perhaps its top clergyman-blogger - posted a lengthy piece titled "Retirement Plans: Standing with the Eleven Million."

In it, Mahony wrote about continuing his activism on immigration reform. From the post:

Over these many years, I have been constantly called and challenged by the words of Jesus: “For I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35), echoing God’s mandate to his people in the Old Testament.

Over the years immigrant peoples have become very dear to me, and Jesus continues to call me to walk with them on their journey. I intend to spend the coming months and years walking in solidarity with the 11,000,000 immigrants who have come to the United States to improve their own lives and the life of our country and to advocate on behalf of the silent millions. In a special way I look forward to collaborating closely with our United States Bishops’ Conference and the Committee on Migration and Refugees which is now chaired by the next Archbishop of Los Angeles, the Most Reverend José H. Gomez.

For so many immigrants in the United States today, life is not easy. With the terrible downturn in the economy the past two years, millions of people have lost jobs in every field of employment. Many have had to give up their homes and to make deep sacrifices to keep their families going. So many voices blame immigrant peoples for our economic woes. This is unjust and flies in the face of the facts.

Some 11,000,000 of our immigrant brothers and sisters are misunderstood and maligned. Without legal documents, their livelihoods and their very lives are at risk. They live in the shadows of our society. They are easy targets of blame for everything that has gone wrong, and is going wrong, with our country. But a little historical perspective sheds light on our current situation and gives hope for the future, helping us to see immigrants not as “those people,” but as brothers and sisters living in our communities with the same longings and aspirations as all Americans.

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