How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Election 2014: Orange County Senate, Assembly victories could signal shift in GOP's relationship with Asian-Americans

mita_sho/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Businesses in Westminster, Orange County's Little Saigon. The victories last night of Janet Nguyen in the 34th Senate District, and Young Kim in the 65th Assembly District, over Democratic rivals signal a shift in the Orange County political landscape – and more broadly, in the GOP’s relationship with Asian Americans.

California Democrats were unable to regain their two-thirds legislative supermajority in the state Senate and lost ground in the Assembly, at least in part due to the victories of two Republican candidates from Orange County — both women, both Asian-American.

The victories of Janet Nguyen in the 34th state Senate District and Young Kim in the 65th Assembly District over Democratic rivals could signal a shift in the Orange County political landscape – and more broadly, in the GOP’s relationship with Asian-Americans.

University of California, Riverside political scientist Karthick Ramakrishnan said the victories represent a nuanced picture of an electorate that as recently as 2012 was seen as steadily moving left. 

Not that there haven't been hints. A high proportion of Asian-American voters don't identify with either party, Ramakrishnan said, and some remained undecided this year until shortly before the election.

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In immigration news: Latinos and the midterm vote, US doesn't lead in percentage of immigrants, more

California Voters Participate In The State's Pivotal Primary

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A polling place in Los Angeles' Boyle Heights, February 5, 2008. There's been much speculation about Latinos sitting out the November 2014 midterm election because they're disappointed in President Obama's immigration record. Will they?

Dozens Of Countries Take In More Immigrants Per Capita Than The U.S. - NPR From the story: "...in absolute numbers, the U.S. is home to the most foreign-born people — 45.7 million in 2013. But relatively, it's upper-midpack as an immigrant nation. It ranks 65th worldwide in terms of percentage of population that is foreign-born, according to the U.N. report 'Trends in International Migrant Stock.' "

Election Day: Will Cultural Pride Get Latinos To Vote? - NBC News Latino civic engagement groups have "fought the 'Latinos are angry at Democrats over immigration' narrative by making voting an issue of cultural pride, of keeping and building clout and about making immigration reform more permanent by backing reform-friendly candidates. Tuesday will determine how they did."

Obama, interrupted - Politico On the most recent heckling of President Obama over his immigration record: "Obama was interrupted five times on Sunday afternoon in Connecticut and a few more times in the weeks leading up to Election Day: small groups of mostly young adults shouting out, demanding the president act to stop deportations of undocumented immigrants. The president’s response has been the same each time — he’s not the guy they should be heckling."

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In immigration news: An 'amnesty' fact check, Latino and Asian American voters, immigration in a GOP Senate, more

Advocates Of Immigration Reform Rally In San Francisco

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President Obama has discussed taking executive action on immigration after the election, in light of the legislative stalemate this year in Congress. But he has not promised legal status to the 11 million immigrants without legal status estimated to be living in the United States.

Did Obama promise ‘amnesty’ to 11 million undocumented immigrants after the election? - Washington Post A fact check concludes that no, although he has talked about taking action on immigration, President Obama has not made such a pledge: "While Obama has said he will take executive action, he’s never said it would result in 'amnesty' for that many people. Indeed, 'amnesty,' or something like it, requires an act of Congress. On top of that, it’s highly unlikely that executive action would affect all 11 million undocumented immigrants."

Romney: A GOP Senate to pass immigration, trade - Politico In a televised interview Sunday, 2012 Republican presidential nominee and ex-Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney suggested that a Republican Congress could get a more conservative immigration bill passed and signed: “You’re going to see a provision, first of all, to secure the border," Romney said. "Second of all, to deal with those who come here illegally. And third, to make sure our immigration policies are more open and transparent… That’s going to happen."

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Hello Kitty Con: 25,000 fans to descend on LA

Still: Living Hello Kitty

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

In this video still from KPCC's "Living Hello Kitty" video, superfans get free permanent Hello Kitty tattoos on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 during Hello Kitty Con at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Decked out in Hello Kitty earrings and Hello Kitty flats, Jo Ann Pinedo hit the first official convention celebrating the iconic character, feeling instantly connected with other fans.

"Being 47 and liking Hello Kitty, you can only share that with certain people," said Pinedo, a strategic planning consultant. "It’s very cool that people can just be themselves and not hide the fact they like something that started out as just for kids."

Hello Kitty Con marks the 40th anniversary of the Sanrio character. Organizers say 25,000 convention-goers will pack the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Tokyo over a four-day run that ends Sunday.

Video

Sanrio timed the event to coincide with a Hello Kitty art retrospective next door at the Japanese American National Museum and a weeks-long Hello Kitty scavenger hunt where fans can pick up collectible pins by eating at partnering restaurants.

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Asian-American voter engagement on the upswing in California

VOTING 004

Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

Voter registration and sample pamphlets in multiple languages, made available after a recent U.S. citizenship ceremony at the L.A. Convention Center. A new report suggests civic engagement among Asian Americans, the nation's fastest growing racial group, is steadily improving. But younger Asian American voters and those who are immigrants still lag behind.

Getting Asian-American voters to the polls has long been a challenge for civic engagement organizers, but a new report suggests engagement among the nation's fastest growing racial group is improving — at least in California.

According to the report released Thursday in Los Angeles by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a civil rights and civic engagement organization, more Asian-Americans are voting than ever before.

The report dissects voter participation in California during the 2012 general election, in which Asian-American voters made up just 9 percent of registered voters statewide.

But the numbers have been improving: Between 2002 and 2012, the number of Asian-Americans registered to vote in the state went up by nearly 60 percent. It's estimated that by the 2016 election, Asian-Americans will make up nearly 11 percent of voters statewide.

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