How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Five great reads this week, in case you missed them

A few stories and essays stood out this week, providing insight on recent news events, such as the tragic migrant slayings near the Texas border in Mexico, or shedding light on the little-known, as did a standout NPR piece on a new book that analyzes the onetime iconic film character Charlie Chan through the lens of the cultural and racial politics of his era. If you haven't read these yet, enjoy.

Investigating The Real Detective Charlie Chan : NPR (NPR)

Hector Tobar: Immigrant slayings in Mexico: Where's the outrage? - (Los Angeles Times)

Why Something So Trivial Can Be So Dangerous - National - The Atlantic (The Atlantic)

Essayist: Before Burning Quran, Know What's In It : NPR (NPR)

People-Smuggling: No safe passage (The Economist)


A Muslim NYC firefighter on the events of 9/11

This moving short video is part of a series of PSAs released at the beginning of this month by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Islamic civil rights group. The series of three videos is titled "9/11 Happened to All of Us." Two feature first responders, including the firefighter, and a third spot features a several religious leaders from different faiths. The video above was featured today in a post in ColorLines.

The PSAs were released in response to what news reports and polls have indicated is a growing sense of Islamophobia in the United States. The past several weeks have been marked by the highly-publicized public debate and protests over the construction of a planned Islamic cultural center near the site of the former World Trade Center (which, according to today's New York Times, had a Muslim prayer room), and the media circus in Florida over a pastor's now-cancelled plan to burn copies of the Quran.


Longest waits for immigrant visas: September

Source: Visa Bulletin for September 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.

Every month, Multi-American is posting the longest current waits as listed in the U.S. State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin.

For countries with the highest demand for family reunification, especially Mexico and the Philippines, there is a very long line to enter the country legally as an adult child or sibling of a U.S. citizen or legal resident, or as the spouse of a legal resident.

This is because every nation is allotted the same percentage from a pool of family and employer-based visas available each year, regardless of the demand or volume of petitions filed from from any individual nation. Immigrants defined as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, i.e. spouses, parents, and children under 21, are exempt from the limits.

But for the rest, the wait to come to the United States legally can take decades.


Immigrant poet captures 'The Art of Exile'
89.3 KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez recently interviewed Los Angeles writer William Archila about his new book of poetry, "The Art of Exile." Archila arrived from El Salvador with his family in 1980 after fleeing the country's brutal civil war. From the interview:

"I think what affected me the most was seeing my own school mates dead on the street or my own teammates from a soccer team dead the next morning or neighbors that you had built a relationship for years then one day, just like that, gone," Archila said.

Since he left El Salvador, Archila’s felt like a stranger in a strange land. That’s why he titled his book “The Art of Exile.”

"When I came to this country I think I, I just found myself, going numb, I remember shutting myself down a lot and just going through the motions, ‘this is what I have to do,” I have to learn this language, I have to learn this culture, I have to succeed, I have to go on and continue, what we have here is better than what we have there," he said.