How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning: Latino population growth and politics, 100 years after the Triangle fire, Muslim civil rights hearing, more

Census data show Hispanic boom. How it could impact US politics. - Christian Science Monitor The Latino population in the United States grew 43 percent since 2000 to 50.5 million, accounting for more than half the nation's population growth and potentially affecting future elections.

The Triangle fire: A blaze that woke a nation - CNN Then as now, the garment industry is made up of immigrant workers. Of the 146 who died in the fire 100 years ago today, the majority were young Italian and European Jewish immigrants.

Senate to hold hearing on Muslim civil rights - Reuters The March 29 hearing is being held in response to recent incidents targeting Muslims, such as Koran burnings and controversies over the building of mosques.

San Gabriel ‘maternity tourism’ operation reignites birthright citizenship debate - MULTI-AMERICAN After San Gabriel city officials shut down a makeshift maternity ward catering to foreign nationals, talk among politicians and others has gone back to restricting who gets U.S. citizenship at birth.


San Gabriel 'maternity tourism' operation reignites birthright citizenship debate

Photo by Qi Wei Fong/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A week after Arizona legislators voted down several immigration bills, two of them intended to force an end to automatic U.S. citizenship for children born in this country, the debate over birthright citizenship has a new epicenter. This time, it's the San Gabriel Valley.

The Pasadena Star-News reported this week that San Gabriel city officials shut down a townhouse illegally converted into a makeshift maternity ward, where investigators found several women who were Chinese nationals and their newborns. A code enforcement officer was quoted as saying that it "played a role in the maternity tourism trade which caters to wealthy Taiwanese, Chinese and Koreans."

As the news has spread, California politicians have used the incident to get back into the birthright citizenship debate. In comments posted on news sites, members of the public have also sounded off on the topic, which has been in and out of the headlines for months after federal and state legislators announced plans to introduce anti-birthright citizenship bills earlier this year.


Ethnic food tastes worth acquiring: Nopales

Photo by Ron Dollette/Flickr (Creative Commons)

I'll admit that there's nothing terribly unconventional about nopales, the fourth item in this week's series of unsung ethnic delicacies. Nopales, or nopalitos, are made from the cooked paddles of the prickly pear cactus and are standard fare in Mexico, and thus in Southern California.

But the items we're talking about here are not necessarily unusual, just unsung. I hadn't thought of including nopales, but a note from a reader this week reminded me of why they're not particularly popular with those who didn't grow up with them: "babas," or in English, slime.

Which is a crying shame, because when prepared well, the slime is gone and the nopales are delicious, with a tangy taste and a texture not unlike green beans. Yadhira De Leon wrote on KPCC's Facebook page that they are are "good for you and filling."


Latinos and health: Blessed and cursed at the same time?

Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr (Creative Commons)

This Tuesday kicked off a monthlong effort by the American Diabetes Association to urge people to get tested in order to see if they are at risk for type 2 diabetes, which typically strikes during adulthood. This is serious business for minorities. According to the diabetes association, Latino, African American and some Asian and Pacific Islander groups are at disproportionate risk of developing the disease.

For Latinos in particular, though, the risk of diabetes and other diseases is balanced against what's referred to as the "Latino health paradox." Latinos have a longer life expectancy and, at least as newcomers, are widely believed to be generally healthier than the average population, in spite of lower income levels and insufficient access to health care.

Latinos live longer on average than other segments of the population, 7.7 years more than non-Latino black Americans, and 2.5 years more than whites, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Latinas especially have the highest life expectancy at birth, 83.1 years.


In the news this morning: Minorites make up most of U.S. growth, state immigration laws, an Arizona teacher's anti-Latino letter and more

New milestone: 1 in 6 Americans is Hispanic - Census Bureau to release more data today; minorities are epected to make up for 90 percent of growth since 2000.

Salvadoran restaurants in Los Angeles: Beyond the pupusa - Los Angeles Times Timed to coincide with Obama's visit to El Salvador,  piece on Salvadoran food flourishing in Los Angeles.

More than 25 million Latinos live in polluted areas - Fox News Latino According to a report, two-thirds of Latinos in the United States live in areas that do not comply with federal standards for air quality, and Latinos are three times more likely than whites to die from asthma.

ESCONDIDO: Council votes to require E-Verify eligibility checks - North County Times Anti-illegal immigration measures and related controversy aren't new to this northern San Diego County city.