How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

NewsHour Connect: Democrats tighten DREAM Act, hoping to appeal to GOP

Yesterday's PBS NewsHour Connect featured a segment on the retooled version of the DREAM Act, which federal lawmakers are expected to vote on next week, the student activism surrounding the bill and its chances in Congress. I provided some analysis as a guest.

The segment is posted on The Rundown, the PBS NewsHour blog. NewsHour Connect recently interviewed two of my fellow NPR Argo Network correspondents, Heather Goldstone of the Climatide blog covering Cape Cod, and Cassandra Profita of the Ecotrope blog in Oregon, for a segment on ocean acidification.

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In the news this morning: DREAM Act analysis, OC civil rights history, Ron Santo, more

NewsHour Connect: Democrats Tighten DREAM Act in Hopes of Appealing to Republicans - PBS NewsHour A rundown on the streamlined version of the bill introduced this week, student activism and its chances of success in Congress, with analysis from me.

Napolitano says DREAM Act would aid 'criminals-first' deportation program - Miami Herald The Homeland Security chief is urging Congress to pass the bill that would grant  conditional legal status to certain young people, saying it would help her department focus instead on deporting immigrants with criminal records.

Hector Tobar: Civil Rights History -- in Orange County - Los Angeles Times A walking tour commemorating the county's place in history as the home of a landmark school desegregation case is in the works.

Ron Santo: Former Chicago Cubs player Ron Santo dead at 70 - Los Angeles Times The legendary ballplayer and announcer has died in Arizona. He was a native of Seattle.

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RIP Le Van Ba, the Vietnamese sandwich king

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

The storefront of a Lee's Sandwiches in Westminster, August 2010

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

The storefront of a Lee's Sandwiches in Westminster, August 2010


If there is anything good that came out of French colonialism in Indochina, it's the bánh mì, otherwise known as the Vietnamese sandwich. And the man who helped popularize it in California was Le Van Ba.

Le, the founder of the widespread Lee's Sandwiches chain, died last week at 79. The headline of his obituary in the San Jose Mercury News, his hometown paper, called him "the Ray Kroc of Vietnamese sandwiches."

Which is appropriate. A successful sugar planter in his native Vietnam, Le began the sandwich business with his family after starting over as an immigrant in San Jose. According to the Mercury-News story, the business really took off in the last decade after Le took the advice of his U.S.-born grandson, who suggested he adopt American fast food-style business principles. The chain expanded to where there are now close to 40 of the sandwich shops in five states, most of them in California.

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Donated photo: A downtown DREAM Act rally

Photo by Adrian Gonzalez

Young DREAM Act supporters rally in downtown L.A., December 2, 2010

A student participating in a rally in downtown Los Angeles this morning to promote the DREAM Act sent in this photo. The rally was held in support of both the proposed federal legislation and of several demonstrators arrested during a rally a few months ago, who were in court today.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would grant conditional legal status to young people who attend college or enlist in the military and who meet certain criteria, including having arrived in the United States as a minor under 16. Earlier this week, Senate leadership introduced a tightened version of the measure, with a lowered age cutoff for applicants and a longer period of conditional legal status.

Both House and Senate leadership have indicated that a vote will occur soon. Meanwhile, college students and aspiring military enlistees, many of them undocumented, have been participating in demonstrations around the country to call attention to the measure.

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DREAM Act: Movement in the House

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A sign at a DREAM Act rally in Los Angeles last summer

Update: A pending House vote on the DREAM Act has been put off awaiting the results of a budget report. Frank Sharry of America's Voice, which is monitoring the bill, said this afternoon that a floor vote is now expected mid-week.

Meanwhile, Senate leadership has held off on filing cloture tonight as tentatively planned. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said that House and Senate leadership are working together to set a vote agenda, and that a vote is expected next week.

While the Senate has yet to move on the DREAM Act, a proposed federal measure that would grant conditional legal status to undocumented youths who attend college or join the military, the House of Representatives could be voting on it as early as tomorrow.

Frank Sharry, executive director of the Washington, D.C. immigration advocacy group America's Voice, which is closely following the bill, confirmed that House leadership is moving toward a possible Friday vote.

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