How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Waiting for the Dream Act vote

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Two Dream Act supporters make last-minute calls to legislators this morning at the offices of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, December 18, 2010

A vote on the Dream Act is expected shortly in the Senate. The bill would grant conditional legal status to undocumented youths who attend college or join the military, provided they arrived in the United States before age 16 and meet other strict criteria. Supporters, many of them college students and graduates, have been making calls to legislators this morning before the vote takes place.


The L.A. Corridos are here at last

Since late September, Los Angeles students in grades 7 through 12 have been composing corridos - some traditional, some not - as part of a contest seeking “The Corrido of L.A.," a song written in the traditional Mexican narrative ballad style that best captures the essence of the city. The contest was a joint project between the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the University of Southern California, held to commemorate the centennial of the Mexican Revolution.

The entries are in, and celebrity judges Ozomatli are scheduled to perform the winning songs at LACMA tomorrow. A story on the contest yesterday by KPCC's Alex Cohen featured two videos, including the above entry titled "Dreaming of a City" by 8th-grader Lyla Matar.

She also interviewed Ozomatli's bassist Wil-dog Abers along with Josh Kun, director of The Popular Music Project at USC Annenberg's The Norman Lear Center. Ozomatli will be performing "The Corrido of LA" in a free concert from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday in LACMA's Bing Theater.


Before the vote, a few good Dream Act reads

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A homemade poster on the wall of the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, where student activists gathered last week to call legislators before the House vote on the Dream Act, December 8, 2010

With a Senate vote on the Dream Act now in the works for tomorrow morning, there is no shortage of reading material pertaining to the bill, which would grant conditional legal status to undocumented youths who either attend college or join the military, provided they arrived here before age 16 and meet other strict criteria.

A recent version of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was approved by the House last week, and a procedural vote on that version is anticipated tomorrow morning in the Senate.

In spite of unprecedented student activism and popular support (a recent Gallup poll showed a narrow majority of respondents in approval), its chances of success in the Senate are slim: As of yet, there is insufficient Republican support for the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. The Senate is also expected to vote tomorrow on the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military.


In the news this morning: Dream Act vote is on, detainee medical care, 2010 albums and more

Senate DREAM Act Vote Set for Saturday - ColorLines Saturday morning votes are in the works for the Dream Act and a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving opening in the military.

CA immigrant detainee medical care suit settled - The Washington Post Immigration officials have agreed to expand medical care at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contract detention center in San Diego, the subject of a 2007 lawsuit that claimed inadequate medical treatment for immigrants held there while facing deportation.

Immigration Officials Can Be Sued, Judge Says - Fox News Latino A federal judge has ruled that ICE officials are not immune from lawsuits brought against them on constitutional grounds.

Adios 2010: Alt.Latino Salutes The Albums Of The Year - NPR The weekly program and blog's list of favorites for the year, including releases from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Argentina and the Dominican Republic.


Dream Act: A possible vote on Saturday

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A student's bold statement, December 8, 2010

Talking Points Memo is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will file cloture tonight on two key measures for Senate Democrats, the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military, and the Dream Act. From the update:

On the Senate floor just now, Majority Leader Harry Reid announced the Senate will vote as soon as Saturday on a bill repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That puts it ahead of the START treaty, as proponents of repeal had requested.

Reid is also filing cloture on the DREAM Act. That means both bills should come up for a procedural vote on Saturday. The vote on the DREAM Act will come first, followed by the vote on DADT.

The cloture vote to break the filibuster on the DREAM Act is expected to fail. Next will come a cloture vote on DADT. If Reid has 60 votes for cloture vote on DADT, the vote on the actual bill will likely come Sunday.

"We've got to move this all along," Reid said from the floor.