How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

From Arizona, with opinions: Readers respond to immigration bills

Photo by midwinter/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Readers' comments are usually vary in length and flavor, but yesterday I received two from Arizona natives that begin similarly and are almost mirror images, though they present two very different Grand Canyon State points of view.

Arizona, of course, has returned as ground zero in the immigration debate (not that it ever relinquished this title) after a state senate committee gave the green light to a series of bills Tuesday night that make last year's partly-implemented SB 1070 seem mild. Among other things, the bills seek to deny U.S. citizenship to children born to undocumented immigrants, bar undocumented immigrants from public services including basic ones like registering a car and getting a marriage license, and make hospitals check patients' immigration status. And now a fed-up group of Pima County residents wants to secede.


In the news this morning: A racially diverse Oregon, Muslims targeted, biracial twins, Arizona's stringent immigration proposals, more

Oregon's 2010 Census shows striking Latino and Asian gains - New census data is showing that Oregon's Latino population climbed 63 percent in 10 years. The state's Asian population has also grown dramatically, by 41 percent.

Protest outside NY Rep King's office - Wall Street Journal Planned House hearings on the "radicalization of the American Muslim community" drew protesters on both sides of the issue to the New York Republican's Long Island office earlier this week.

Local Muslims outraged by alleged FBI surveillance, lawyers claim - Los Angeles Times A lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses the FBI and seven employees of infringing on the constitutional rights of hundreds of members of the local Muslim community by using paid informants to infiltrate mosques.

Twins, One White, One Black Born to Biracial Parents Stirs Up Issues of Race - ABC News The twins born to a biracial couple highlight the national trend, with one in seven marriages now between partners of different races.


American snapshot: Hawthorne

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A sign advertising what's for sale at the Fiji Food Mart on Hawthorne Boulevard, February 21, 2011

Chivo, taro leaves, and ghee: The city that is the home of the Beach Boys is also home to a diverse population that's close to a third African American, half Latino and around six percent Asian, with a small Pacific Islander population as well.

This Hawthorne Boulevard grocery store advertising goat meat in English and Spanish, taro leaves and Indian clarified butter (ghee) caters to Fijian, Tongan and Samoan immigrants and carries specialties like bags of UFOs, circular "burger flavoured" munchies imported from Fiji that taste better than they sound. The ghee is a nod to Indo-Fijians, descendants of Indian laborers who make up a substantial chunk of Fiji's population.

All within easy walking distance of a soul food restaurant and a soccer supply store that caters to Latinos, just a few of the ethnic businesses on this busy commercial strip.


'I'm torn:' A death penalty opponent reacts to the sentencing of Brisenia Flores' convicted killer

Screen shot from

As Arizona state senators yesterday prepared to hear some of the strictest anti-illegal immigration legislation to come out of the state since SB 1070, a convicted murderer whose crime was rooted in one of the darker corners of the immigration debate was sentenced to death in Tucson.

Shawna Forde, a radical anti-illegal immigration activist who led a Minuteman splinter group, has joined two other women on Arizona's death row; she was convicted last week in the brutal 2009 home invasion murder of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, Raul, in the Arizona border town of Arivaca.

Forde was also convicted of robbery, the believed motive, and was not convicted of a hate crime. But it has been difficult to separate the crime from the beliefs she espoused. Among the reactions today is this post on Slate by blogger Amanda Marcotte:


In the news this morning: More on Arizona immigration crackdown bills, death penalty for the Brisenia Flores murder, Ruben Salazar report re

Arizona immigration bills aim for bigger crackdown - Arizona Republic A state senate committee gives the go-ahead to the most stringent immigration enforcement measures in the state since SB 1070.

Death Sentence for Arizona Minuteman Who Killed Girl and Dad - New America Media Shawna Forde was convicted last week for the 2009 home invasion murder of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father in Arivaca, Arizona, a rural border town. She was the leader of an anti-illegal immigration activist group, Minuteman American Defense.

Harvard Names Shakira Artist of the Year - Latina Yes, the words Harvard and Shakira in one sentence. The singer, songwriter and philanthropist was named 2011 Artist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation.

Groups sue FBI over Muslim surveillance - The Orange County Register According to a lawsuit filed yesterday, the First Amendment rights of hundreds of Muslims were violated when an FBI-directed informant was asked to infiltrate local mosques.