How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Typhoon Haiyan: Filipino-Americans keep up relief efforts, 1 year later

Typhoon Haiyan One Year Later

Theresa Canete

Theresa Canete, an accountant from West Covina, traveled back to the Philippines to bring supplies and organize a medical fair for typhoon survivors.

Typhoon Haiyan One Year Later

Josie Huang/KPCC

Robert Aguilos of Cerritos was in Tacloban the day after Haiyan made landfall. He had intended to surprise his father on his birthday. Instead, he ended up looking for him and his mother.

Typhoon Haiyan One Year Later

Josie Huang/KPCC

Edwin Tiu, a respiratory therapist from Lakewood, lost his older brother to the typhoon.

Tacloban Memorial Mass

Grant Slater/KPCC

A parishioner at St. Philomena Church in Carson, Calif. kneels as Mass begins Nov. 13, 2013.

Tacloban Memorial Mass

Grant Slater/KPCC

Emilito David of Pomona holds a box for donations at a memorial and fundraising mass in St. Philomena Church in Carson, Calif on Nov. 13, 2013.


Robert Aguilos, a nursing home manager from Cerritos, flew back to the Philippines to surprise his father on his 85th birthday. He ended up arriving a day after one of history's deadliest storms made landfall.

Desperate to find his parents, he and a brother hitched a ride on a military plane from Manila to his hometown of Tacloban. They walked for hours, and saw children playing in debris. People huddled over fires. Corpses, scattered afield. Finally, he spotted his parents' house — its roof ripped off – but there was a light.  

"A candelight," Aguilos said, his voice wavering. "The brightest candle I ever saw. One candle illumined the place. And I saw the silhouette of my dad."

His family, his roots — they’re in the Philippines. So while the memory of the typhoon has ebbed from the world's consciousness a year later, Aguilos and other members of Southern California's Filipino-American community — the country's largest — have kept up relief efforts.

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In immigration news: GOP leaders warn Obama on executive action, Latino and Asian voters in the midterms, more

John Boehner Holds Media Briefing At US Capitol

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House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders are warning President Obama of consequences if Obama takes solo action on immigration.

Boehner warns Obama will ‘burn himself’ with exec action on immigration - Fox News House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders are warning President Obama to back away from taking executive action on immigration. Boehner reportedly told Obama on Thursday 'that he's 'going to burn himself' and 'poison the well' if he goes down that path. The warning comes ahead of a major summit at the White House where Obama will meet Friday with congressional leaders of both parties."

Orange County Senate, Assembly victories could signal shift in GOP's relationship with Asian-Americans - Southern California Public Radio 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, who as recently as 2012 were seen as moving steadily left.

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

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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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