How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Reaction to Oklahoma's controversial, precedent-setting anti-Sharia law

Photo by Il Primo Uomo/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A closely watched and potentially influential state initiative banning the use of Islamic Sharia law (also spelled Shariah and Shari'ah) in Oklahoma passed by an overwhelming margin yesterday.

In The Washington Post's On Faith column today, political science professor Muqtedar Khan wrote:

Critics of Shariah in Oklahoma argue that they also oppose the Shariah law because it is against freedom of religion. In this age, when ignorance and bigotry are being celebrated in America, I am sure that most people in Oklahoma must have missed the irony in the situation.

The key sentence in the State question 755 is: It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Shariah Law. The proposition also bans international law. To consider how ignorant both the authors and the voters of the proposition are, please take a look at Article Six, Section I, Clause II of the US constitution. It is called the supremacy clause.

According to this clause, international treaties to which the U.S. government is a signatory become "the supreme law of the land". Treaties, along with custom and UN declarations are the main sources of international law (the proposition 755 actually mentions it). Thus by rejecting international law the proposition designed to institutionalize Islamophobia in Oklahoma, has effectually said "thanks, but no thanks" to the U.S. Constitution.

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In the news this morning: Post-election analysis and the Latino vote, a GOP House and immigration, private prisons, more

After brief holdout, Meg Whitman concedes to Jerry Brown - 89.3 KPCC Exit polls showed that Whitman fell short with two key voting groups, Latinos and women.

Mobilizing the Latino vote – CNN An election eve poll of likely Latino voters in eight states conducted by the National Council of La Raza showed immigration playing a major role in mobilizing Latinos to vote.

House Immigration Policy Now in the Hands of GOP and Steve King - The Washington Independent Immigration legislation will be in the hands of likely Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who will chair the immigration subcommittee.

Utah's Management & Training Corporation's role in Ariz. immigration law - Salt Lake City Weekly A Utah private prison company is yet another industry player vying to house immigrant detainees.

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At the 'Ve y Vota' call center: Taking calls, questions, complaints since 3 a.m.

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Taking calls at the "Ve y Vota" voter outreach campaign's call center tonight in South L.A.

It's been a long day, but not as long for most as it has been for some of the people staffing the "Ve y Vota" call center at the South L.A. headquarters of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, where calls from voters have been coming in since 3 a.m.

The phone bank, one of several around the country put together by the same team of advocacy and media groups as part of a voter outreach campaign, has been fielding calls as simple as "Where do I vote?" to calls about voter intimidation and rude poll workers, with complaints referred to volunteer attorneys.

So far, the complaints coming in to this particular call center - which has been taking calls from around the country (with some phone staffers in since before dawn) and will be open until midnight - have been relatively minimal, with the most excitement surrounding media reports of Spanish-language "robocalls" and mailers advising recipients to vote a day late. So far, the only thing confirmed by staffers has been a bilingual flyer in New York state with a Nov. 3 date in the Spanish translation, said Gladys Negrete, a data analyst with the NALEO Educational Fund.

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More attempts to dissuade Latino voters reported

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Outside a polling place today in Bell, Calif.

Two weeks after news broke of an unaired ad campaign urging Latinos not to vote, efforts to dissuade Latinos from the polls have reportedly continued into the eleventh hour.

Election Protection, a polling watchdog group, has told the Associated Press that about two dozen Los Angeles residents have received automated calls in Spanish and printed mailers instructing them not to vote until tomorrow, the day after the midterm election. An official from the group said it's believed that most of the calls and mailers have been received since yesterday morning.

Some voters in Bell, a city in southeast Los Angeles County that is more than 90 percent Latino, reported receiving similar calls recently. Father and son Porfirio and Irving Quijada, both of Bell, said this morning at their polling place that they had received an anonymous voicemail message about two weeks ago urging them not to vote, and that others in their neighborhood had received calls like this, too.

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