How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning: An immigrant businessman's plight, Latinos and the census, an immigration crackdown on businesses, more

Crackdown in Virginia Strips Legal Immigrant of His Livelihood - New York Times A Tunisian immigrant's limo business is on the rocks after an immigration crackdown costs him his driver's license, though he's in the country legally.

Census numbers to show huge Hispanic growth - Houston Chronicle The detailed demographic data will be used for political redistricting. Texas is to get four new Congressional seats, more than any other state. The data is being released state by state on a rolling basis.

U.S. Businesses Everywhere: Are Your Immigration Papers In Order? - Law Blog - Wall Street Journal The Obama administration is requiring as many as 1,000 companies to turn over employment records for audit.

Poll: Most support House look at radical Islam in USA - USA Today A survey released on the eve of GOP-led Congressional hearings on the threat of Islamic extremism in the U.S. found that overall, "men, viewers who trust Fox news, white evangelicals and Republicans are more likely to think the hearings are a good idea and to believe Muslims want to establish Shariah law in the United States."


'Unrest in Iran' segment on KPCC draws reaction

Photo by killerturnip/Flickr (Creative Commons)

An Iranian flag flown at a 2009 rally in Los Angeles

As protests continue in the Middle East, including in Iran, members of Los Angeles' large Iranian American community have been closely watching the unrest from afar, with local supporters of the pro-democracy demonstrators rallying in solidarity last weekend.

Today, Los Angeles-based Radio Iran host Siamak Kalhor appeared on KPCC's Madeleine Brand show, drawing reactions from Iranian Americans and other listeners. The segment drew an interesting thread of comments on the show's website, along with thank-you notes to the show for featuring it. A couple of comments:

From Simin Warren:

Very interesting , seems like the whole world sees this , but no one can do anything about it.

Mohammad Mokhtari was a Iranian protester killed on Monday, February 14, 2011, while you and I were celebrating Valentine's Day. His last FB status yesterday: "GOD, LET ME DIE WHILE STANDING AS I AM TIRED OF SITTING UNDER TYRANNY." When you think of a true life hero, think of this young man.


A fond farewell to a vestige of Latino Silver Lake

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Adios, Restaurante y Pupuseria - the empty storefront on February 13, 2011

I was driving through Silver Lake the other day when I saw something I'd expected to see eventually, but hoped I wouldn't: an empty storefront at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue where a tiny Salvadoran pupuseria had stood for years, tucked between an upscale gelateria and a dentist office.

It was a little closet of a place, marked only with an awning reading "Restaurante y Pupuseria," which in recent years had been updated from a lighter color to a hipper black, perhaps to blend in with the adjacent gelateria's dark color scheme. Its passing seems to have gone largely unnoticed. Searching for an obituary of some kind, I found only a mention in Urban Spoon, which posted a simple notice advising "Closed: Pupuseria." I called the dentist's office next door and they told me that it closed about a month ago, and that the space is being prepared for another restaurant. A German place, they thought.


In the news this morning: Iranian American reactions, the Lakers and Latinos, Oklahoma immigration bills echo Arizona's, more

Unrest in Iran: SoCal Iranian-Americans weigh in on protests - 89.3 KPCC Siamak Kalhor, the host of Radio Iran in Los Angeles, joined KPCC's Madeleine Brand show this morning.

Lakers, NBA are reaching out to fast-growing Latino market - Los Angeles Times The Lakers have inked a 20-year agreement with Time Warner Cable to create the first Spanish-language regional sports network in the country. The Lakers will be its centerpiece.

Convicted Minuteman Border Vigilante Maintains Innocence - Talking Points Memo An Arizona jury decided yesterday that Shawna Forde, convicted for the 2009 murder of a Latino father and his 9-year-old daughter, is eligible for the death penalty.

Feds Probe Mexico Shooting of U.S. Agents, Murder of Jaime Zapata - ABC News U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime J. Zapata, who was based in Laredo, Texas, was killed Tuesday in an apparent ambush.


A Presidential Medal of Freedom for Sylvia Mendez, the girl who made civil rights history

One of today's recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom was Sylvia Mendez, a woman who first stepped into the civil rights movement when she was a young schoolgirl in Orange County. Mendez, who lives in Fullerton, was the child behind the landmark 1945 case known as Mendez v. Westminster, which challenged school segregation in California.

The decision in 1947 by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals signaled the end of school segregation in the state, setting a precedent for Brown v. Board of Education seven years later. A story in the Orange County Register described the conditions that prompted Mendez's parents to file suit:

Mendez was just 8 years old when her parents, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez, sued Westminster School District for turning their children away from an all-white school.

The children were sent instead to the “Mexican” school, a two-room wooden shack with worn, wobbly desks and chairs, and tattered textbooks – hand-me-downs from other campuses.