How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In the news this morning: Immigrant workers shortchanged, Temecula gets a mosque, DREAM Act students, mob deportation, more

Stealing Immigrants' Wages in New York - Village Voice On how immigrant workers are regularly shortchanged on wages and overtime.

Temecula city planners clear the way for mosque - 89.3 KPCC After months of protests and opposition, Muslims in Temecula have received the go-ahead to build the first Islamic cultural center and mosque in the region.

Inland students reveal immigration status in push for DREAM Act - Riverside Press-Enterprise One is Ivan Rosales, a Cal State San Bernardino student and soon-to-be graduate who plans to go to medical school. He wants to start off as an Army medic, then become a doctor and cancer researcher.

Reputed Colombo wiseguy could be deported for concealing crimes on immigration application - New York Daily News Sebastiano Saracino, 43, could face deportation to Italy as a consequence of his guilty plea.


Bao, empanadas, and the Pillsbury Doughboy

Photo by danaspencer/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Char siu bao, March 2009

Photo by danaspencer/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Char siu bao, March 2009

Over the weekend I saw a couple of amusing tweets from @jenny8lee, aka journalist Jennifer 8. Lee, the former New York Times reporter turned author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles and a general food fan. The first, on Saturday:

Was my mom the only Chinese mom to use Pillsbury dough for the oustide of steamed bao buns?

The second, on Sunday:
My mom, who apparently reads my twitter feed, said she learned the pillsbury dough as bao outside trick from Chinese newspaper.

Aside from making me chuckle, the tweets provoked an immediate reaction of "Wow, so it's used for more than empanadas?"

The plump, doughy meat-filled buns, popular in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines, and the savory turnovers eaten throughout Latin America are probably just a few of the alternative uses that immigrant cooks, as pressed for time as anyone else, have devised for the ubiquitous refrigerated biscuit dough over the years.


U.S. immigration history, illustrated

Source: Migration Policy Institute

Source: Migration Policy Institute

The Migration Policy Institute released some updated charts yesterday illustrating the historical movement of people into the United States, and seeing the trends mapped out - in some cases going back to 1820 - is rather fascinating.

A line chart illustrates legal residents admitted to the country between 1820 and 2009, with major spikes occurring at the beginning of the last century, and again around 20 years ago. Another chart, above, shows naturalizations since 1907, breaking out the spikes in military naturalizations that took place during WWI and WWII (though the more recent ones, oddly, aren't reported).

Perhaps more intriguing are unexpected charts like one, at left, that illustrates immigrants as a percentage of the total U.S. population going back to 1850. One surprising tidbit I learned at a glance: The percentage of the U.S. population today that is foreign-born is, in fact, lower than it was in the early 1900s and during much of the later 1800s.


A streamlined DREAM Act moves forward

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

DREAM Act supporters at a Los Angeles rally in September, after a defense bill carrying the measure failed to win enough votes in the Senate. It was later reintroduced as a stand-alone bill.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association sent a notice to its members this morning with details of a tighter, more restrictive version of the DREAM Act introduced in the Senate last night.

From the notice, which has now been posted on the AILA website:

Late last night, Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) filed a new version of the DREAM Act (S. 3992) with the aim of attracting broader support for DREAM to get the requisite 60 votes to pass the Senate. With the filing of this new bill, the anticipated date for bringing DREAM to a vote will be delayed. The earliest Reid could file a cloture motion on the new bill would be this coming Thursday. After waiting out the requisite 30 hours post-cloture, it could "ripen" over the weekend, and effectively come up for a vote on Monday at the earliest.

The new version addresses many of the concerns raised by Republicans and tightens the restrictions on eligibility in several respects. Among other changes, the new version does the following:

Excludes from eligibility those with certain criminal convictions, such as for offenses punishable by a maximum term of more than 1 year (felony) or 3 misdemeanors
Requires all applicants to provide their biometric data to DHS, to submit to background checks and medical examination, and to register for military selective service
Requires applicants to pay all taxes
Sets the cut-off age to those who are less than 30 years-old on the date of enactment
Provides a "safe harbor" from removal only to those applicants who present a prima facie case of eligibility
Extends the good moral character requirement back to the date the alien entered the United States rather than the date of enactment of DREAM
Expands the applicable grounds of inadmissibility to include the health-related, public charge, smuggling, draft dodging, and unlawful voting grounds
Expands the applicable grounds of deportability to include public charge, unlawful voting, and marriage fraud grounds
Excludes those who participated in persecution
Clarifies that no one can apply before 1 year after enactment
Requires applicants to demonstrate eligibility by a preponderance of the evidence
Eliminates repeal of the in-state tuition ban
Defines institution of higher education to include only U.S.-based programs
Requires those who subsequently apply for adjustment to meet the English language and civics requirements typically required for naturalization
Expands the circumstances where disclosure of confidential information about DREAM applicants is required for homeland security or national security purposes
Creates conditional nonimmigrant status for 10 years, followed by 3 years of LPR status prior to application for naturalization


In the news this morning: DREAM Act demonstrations, Tequila Party commentary, empanadas used in self-defense, more

Groups Make Late Push to Salvage Bill Aiding Illegal Immigrant Students - New York Times Immigrant advocates have mobilized nationwide in a last-ditch effort to persuade Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would allow a path to legal status for undocumented youths who attend college or join the military.

Reid moves forward on DREAM Act - Politico Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that he'll attempt to force a test vote this week on the measure.

DREAM Act Students Volunteer to Serve in the Military - Fox News Latino Demonstrations included one yesterday at a military recruiting center in Washington, D.C., where a group of undocumented youths showed up to volunteer for military service, although by law they can't serve.

When tea is a stronger drink than tequila | Kyle Wingfield - Atlanta Journal Constitution Commentary on the tentative plans for a Latino "Tequila Party," patterned after the Tea Party, of immigration reform advocates.