How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

American snapshot: San Diego

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A street sign near the city's harbor is a reminder of a long-ago immigrant past, November 2010

The city that I called home for several years is best known as a border town, but its lesser-known immigrant history also takes in two thriving Portugese-speaking communities.

The harbor-area San Diego neighborhood of Point Loma attracted Portuguese immigrants to its tuna-fishing industry in the early part of the last century, and their influence remains visible today. So does their language, which has helped make the city a comfortable landing spot for more recent immigrants from Brazil.

Why mention this? The house I lived in is just a few blocks from Avenida de Portugal. It's a tiny street in Point Loma that is still home to a Portuguese community center and chapel. I walked past this little cultural outpost often, most recently while in town packing to relocate my household to Los Angeles. I'll miss it, as I'll miss many things, now that the moving truck is en route up I-5.

Read More...

Longest waits for immigrant visas: December

Source: Visa Bulletin for November 2010, U.S. Department of State

Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed their petitions.

It's well into December, which means it's time to post the longest current waits as listed in the U.S. State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin.

Immigrant visas have technically become available for those whose priority dates, i.e. the dates on which their petitions were filed, are listed in the bulletin. And this month, the hopeful immigrants who have been waiting the longest to come legally have been in line since the beginning of 1988. That's right, their petitions were filed in the eighties.

As listed in this month’s Visa Bulletin, the longest waits have been endured by:

1) Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens from the Philippines, a wait of nearly 23 years (petitions filed January 1, 1988).

2) Unmarried adult (21 and over) sons and daughters of U.S. legal permanent residents from Mexico, a wait of more than 18 years (petitions filed June 22, 1992)

Read More...

A blow-by-blow of last week's Dream Act strategy

So just what was it that happened with the Dream Act last week? A victory in the House on Wednesday, a Senate move to table the bill on Thursday, and media reports since that have ranged from declaring the bill dead to its having a better chance now than before.

For those still shaking their heads, The Hill has the best blow-by-blow analysis I've seen yet of what is referred to in the piece as a "carefully designed strategy" orchestrated between both chambers of Congress to give the measure its best possible shot. From the piece:

The fast-evolving process required behind-the-scenes scheduling changes; an eleventh-hour hearing; constant lobbying from supporters; and a risky-but-successful show of procedural gymnastics in the Senate — all aimed at lending momentum to the hot-button bill in hopes of enacting it by month's end.

In short, supporters say, the process has infused life into the policy.

Read More...

In the news this morning: Dream Act 'tweet war,' AZ-style law for Kentucky, mariachi opera, more

California congressman extends DREAM Act tweet war through the weekend - The Hill Excerpts from the war of the tweets between Orange County's Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, an opponent of the Dream Act, and the supporters he has engaged with on Twitter.


Kentucky Republicans want Arizona-style immigration law - Miami Herald Kentucky GOP leaders plan to file proposed legislation that would allow local police to carry out federal immigration law.


Post Partisan - The Washington Post Edward Schumacher-Matos on the message he'll take if the Dream Act is voted down.


A trumpet's note of hope in a mariachi opera - Houston Chronicle The immigrant story of a young mariachi trumpeter, performing in a Houston Grand Opera production that is touted as the world's first mariachi opera.


Court Tells ICE to Stop “Dragging Its Feet” on Document Release - ColorLines A federal judge has ordered the immigration enforcement agency to release more documents pertaining to its Secure Communities program, which some local governments have tried to opt out of.

Read More...

Back again soon

I'm taking the rest of the day off to pack up for a move.

It's been a big news week, though, and I've enjoyed seeing all of your comments regarding the Dream Act. So the floor is yours - feel free to share your thoughts on the bill's prognosis and where you stand on it. I'll be posting some reader comments again next week.

Read More...