How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Ozomatli's get-out-the-vote single

L.A.'s Ozomatli has jumped into get-out-the-vote efforts with a new bilingual single titled "Respeto," Spanish for "respect," released yesterday as part of a joint project with the National Council of La Raza. The song is part of NCLR's campaign to draw out Latino voters for next month's midterm elections.

"Vota por la justicia (vote for justice," the refrain goes, "vote for respect."

In a news release, lead singer Raul Pacheco provided his take: "The simple act of voting has proven to be an important tool in the shaping of my surroundings," he said. “As a modern American Latino, it is a meaningful step to counter the specifically hateful and hurtful rhetoric that has been aimed at Latinos throughout this country.”

The single is downloadable for free on both the Ozomatli and NCLR websites.


In the news this morning: Bilingualism and brain power, hate crime conviction in PA, Secure Communities and 287(g), more

Can bilingualism improve your brain's multitasking power? - Los Angeles Times Weighing the benefits of raising children bilingually from an early age.

2 found guilty of hate crimes related to death of immigrant - The two young men on trial for the 2008 beating death of an undocumented Mexican immigrant in Pennsylvania have been found guilty on all counts.

ICE Forces Counties to Join Controversial Deportation Program - ColorLines Local jurisdictions that have tried to opt out of Secure Communities, a fingerprint sharing program, have learned that it's not optional.

Hispanics/Latinos at higher HIV risk than Whites - Estimates of HIV incidence for 2006 indicated that Latinos had a rate of 29.3 per 100,000 population, compared with 11.5 for whites.

Immigrants Sue Over Local Immigration Enforcement Program - The Washington Independent Three immigrants in Georgia have filed what could be the first legal challenge to the federal 287(g) program, which allows immigration officials to delegate some enforement roles to local law enforcement.


Quote of the moment: ColorLines publisher on why she doesn't use the term 'illegals'

Photo by Steve Rhodes/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A sign that reads "No human is illegal," San Francisco, July 2008

"There’s no conflict between honest reporting and dropping the i-word. I use undocumented and unauthorized regularly, as this is a matter of permission represented by a piece of paper. I never obfuscate how a source came to be in the United States, whether they overstayed a visa or crossed a border."

- Rinku Sen, publisher of ColorLines

The publisher of the online magazine, which tackles the thorny issue of race in its coverage of communities of color, speaks out in a first-person essay titled "Why I Don't Use the I-Word - in ANY Form." ColorLines has launched a campaign called "Drop the I-Word," urging media outlets not to use the word "illegals" in reference to undocumented immigrants.

Sen's essay gets at a complicated conversation that has been held in many a newsroom over the years: There is illegal immigration, yes, but what to call the immigrants themselves? In general, mainstream media outlets tend to go with AP style, which is "illegal immigrants." The terms "undocumented" and "unauthorized" are also used, if less commonly.


Report: The growing influence of immigrant and second-generation voters

Source: Immigration Policy Center

A report on immigrant and second-generation voters released today by the Immigration Policy Center concludes that one in 10 registered voters in 2008 was a "new American." According to the report, 9.3 million registered voters were naturalized U.S. citizens, accounting for 6.4 percent of registered voters, and 5.7 million were U.S.-born children of immigrants, raised during the current era of large-scale immigration from Latin America and Asia that began in 1965.

Latinos and Asians accounted for 10.7 percent of registered voters in 2008, according to the report, and their electoral influence is growing. From the executive summary:

The ranks of registered voters who are New Americans, or Latino or Asian, have been growing rapidly this decade and are likely to play an increasingly pivotal role in elections at all levels in the years to come, particularly in battleground states like Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.


In the news this morning: Deported by mistake, the Latino health paradox, the Sanchez-Tran debate and more

The Associated Press: Lawsuit: Mentally ill US citizen wrongly deported A mentally disabled U.S. citizen who spoke no Spanish was deported to Mexico after immigration agents manipulated him into signing documents, a lawsuit alleges.

The Hispanic Mortality Paradox: Why Do Latinos Outlive Other Americans? – TIME Healthland Trying to explain Latinos' longer life expectancy, the subject of a federal report released yesterday.

Rep. Sanchez, Tran trade shots - The Orange County Register Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Van Tran hammered each other in a debate yesterday, both seeking immigrant votes in Orange County's heavily immigrant 47th Congressional District.

Five Public Colleges in Georgia Ban Illegal-Immigrant Students - New York Times Georgia education officials voted yesterday to bar undocumented immigrants from attending the state’s five most selective public colleges. Georgia is the second state to do so, after South Carolina.