Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
A highlight of my weekend was a visit to the crowded "Expo Mexico" fair yesterday next to Olvera Street, part of a two-day conference put together by an umbrella group of Mexican hometown associations known as the Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norteamérica, or COFEM. Not so much for the fair, though it was great, but for the surprise I encountered upon meeting the group's leader.
For those not familiar with hometown associations, they are groups of immigrant neighbors and family members who band together to raise money for their hometowns, traditionally for infrastructure and basic quality-of-life improvement projects. (Once in the late nineties, I traveled to a town in northern El Salvador to report on a hometown group that had driven a much-needed ambulance all the way there from Los Angeles, an ambitious trek that could have merited its own reality show, had those existed back then.)
The Associated Press has a story and video documenting a disturbing trend: A spike in suicides among U.S. Border Patrol agents. According to the story, at least 15 agents have taken their own lives since February 2008. More from the story:
Federal officials insist the deaths have nothing to do with the agency, which has doubled in size since 2004, or the increasingly volatile U.S.-Mexico border. But administrators have quietly undertaken urgent suicide-prevention initiatives, including special training for supervisors, videos about warning signs and educational programs for 22,000 agents nationwide
Whatever the reason behind the deaths, there is no question that patrolling the border hinterlands is a backbreaking job. It is also one that has become
Feliz Monday. Here are a few of the top immigration-related stories today and from over the weekend.
- Politico reported on the results of a poll that has "solid majorities of the public and overwhelming majorities of DC elites" favoring the passage of some kind of comprehensive immigration legislation.
- Immigration-related protests were in the news this weekend, including a large Tea Party rally on the border in Arizona, the New York Times and other outlets reported. CNN has video and a story on protesters running onto the field during the Washington Nationals-Arizona Diamondbacks game in D.C.
- The Washington Post reported that Utah lawmakers, until recently leaning toward proposed legislation similar to Arizona's stringent SB 1070, are changing course.
- The Los Angeles Times had a story on how about 50,000 Chinese youths will be traveling to the U.S. this year, most of them passing through Southern California, to experience a taste of American-style summer camp.
A few of today's top immigration-related stories: a border security bill, uncertainty about further immigration reforms, and more.
- President Obama has signed a new border security bill, keeping mum about the prospects of further immigration legislation down the line, USA Today reports.
- But does an enforcement-based measure like the new border bill do anything to quell the immigration debate? Nope. NPR and ABC News have stories that explore this angle.
- The latest two cents on the 14th Amendment debate, from Politico: California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina say they don't endorse doing away with birthright citizenship, an idea being floated by some GOP leaders.
- Lastly, from the Sunshine State: Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum is feeling some backlash from my Miami relatives - oops, I meant Florida Latinos - after pushing for an Arizona-style anti-illegal immigration law in that state.