How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Quote of the moment: A different perspective on 'Tiger Mother' parenting

Photo by Laurie Pink/Flickr (Creative Commons)

"Certainly, the idea of a traditional Chinese parenting style would surprise the billion inhabitants of mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, few of whom attended Harvard, became a doctor, lawyer, or banker, or ever completed a Scantron."

- Ken Chen, executive director of The Asian American Writers' Workshop, in a CNN opinion piece

In the wake of the controversy over author Amy Chua's memoir "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," Chen puts the Asian-vs.-Western-parenting furor sparked by the book and a related essay in perspective, calling out the stereotyping, the fear, and the immigration history behind the story. He points out that U.S. immigration policies in recent decades have welcomed skilled professionals from Taiwan and Hong Kong, creating a bourgeois class of immigrants who, not surprisingly, bring up their children to do well academically, just as their affluent white counterparts do.


In the news this morning: Foreign-born workers get hired, companies employing them get scrutinized, a refugee success story and more

Exclusive: Over a million immigrants land U.S. jobs in 2008-10 - Reuters A review of federal labor data conducted for Reuters found that even as the economy faltered, over a million foreign-born workers found employment.

U.S. Expands Crackdown on Employers of Illegal Workers - The Wall Street Journal The Obama administration is announcing plans to crack down on employers who are hiring those foreign-born workers, at least those employed illegally. An audit office will be charged with overseeing the verification of company hiring records.

Faces of Immigration: Immigrant refugee to councilman - Orange County Register A profile of new Fountain Valley city council member Michael Vo, a Vietnamese refugee who came to the United States in his teens, is the latest in a series.

Immigration Program for Haitians Called a Success - The New York Times More than 53,000 applications from Haitians seeking temporary legal status in the United States have been approved since last year's devastating earthquake. U.S. immigration officials say the majority have been approved.


In Compton, a case study in shifting demographics and the political landscape

Screen shot of a race and ethnicity map of the Compton area from the New York Times' "Mapping America: Every City, Every Block" interactive project. Blue dots represent African Americans, yellow dots represent Latinos. Each dot represents 25 people.

A post yesterday explored the political impact of a shifting and growing Latino population throughout the United States, as states with some of the biggest population gains noted in last year's census pick up Congressional seats. But there's another version of the population shift story that's unfolding in Compton at the moment, a formerly African American majority city that is now two-thirds Latino.

Like other communities in a broad swath of Los Angeles County that was once predominantly African American, Compton is in the throes of a cultural and political struggle between its traditional residents and its newer ones, as both groups compete for political clout and limited resources in a community where the 2009 per-capita income was a little over $13,000.

In December, three Latinas sued the city under the 2001 California Voting Rights Act, claiming that Compton's at-large city council elections violated Latinos' civil rights by weakening their voting power. Though the city is now majority Latino, all four city council members and the mayor are African American. Since 2000, half a dozen Latino candidates have run for office and lost.


More sense of the census: Analysis looks at Latino population growth and reapportionment

Source: Latino Decisions

State Latino Population Growth 2000-09, based on U.S. Census data

It's been nearly a month since the initial results of the 2010 census were released, and while details on the nation's racial and ethnic breakdown have yet to be made public, the polling firm Latino Decisions has distilled the early information, along with annual census data since 2000, into an analysis of Latino population growth and its political impact.

2010 census data is being used to reapportion Congressional seats based on population. The report points out that only eight states will gain representation: Texas will gain four seats, Florida two, and Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Georgia and South Carolina will each gain one.

Why these states? From the report:

Larger Latino presence in these states was essential to gaining additional representation. The 2010 ethnic and racial composition data are not yet public, but comparing 2000 and 2009 Census data it is evident that congressional delegation growth is attributable to Latino-specific population growth in these states.  As the figure below illustrates, the Latino share of state populations increased in every case. This is not a regional phenomenon: in 35 states across the country, their population more than doubled.

It is true that non-Latinos also netted gains, but Latinos out-paced others by rather strong margins.  Some states, including Louisiana, Rhode Island and Michigan actually had a net loss of non-Latinos and grew only because Latino increases offset the non-Latino population dip.  With all of these details in mind, it is fair to say that all new districts are Latino districts.


In the news, this afternoon: Immigration and the Senate agenda, no new fast food in South L.A., Fred Korematsu Day, race relations poll, mor

A mixed bag of p.m. reads for those just catching up:

Reid: Taxes, spending and immigration reform top Senate agenda - The Hill Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested yesterday that he could find common ground with Republicans on taxes, spending, and perhaps on immigration reform this session.

New Fast-Food Restaurants Are Banned From South L.A. - New York Times The city is making permanent what began as a temporary ban on new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles, where poverty and obesity rates are high in relation to other parts of town.

Fred Korematsu Day Celebration Set for Jan. 30 - AsianWeek The state holiday is the first in the nation named after an Asian American. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill last fall approving the holiday honoring Korematsu, a civil rights hero who resisted the rounding up of Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II.