How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

DREAM Act dollars: A roundup of reports

Robert Huffstutter/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Different estimates have been floated around in recent weeks as to what the DREAM Act represents in dollars and cents: How much money it may cost, and how much money it may generate.

Late last week, the Congressional Budget Office scored the most recent version of the bill, which would allow qualifying undocumented youths who arrived here under age 16 to obtain conditional legal status - and eventually permanent legal status - if they attend college or enlist in the military.

The CBO report concluded that over the next 10 years, as the DREAM Act increases the number of authorized workers in the country, revenues would increase by $2.3 billion and the national deficit would decrease by $1.4 billion. However, as conditional legal status gives way to permanent legal status for beneficiaries, they would qualify like other legal residents and U.S. citizens for government programs, including federal health insurance exchanges, adding to the deficit in the long run.


In the news this morning: DREAM Act updates, LAPD and racial profiling, Supreme Court hears AZ employer law, NY deportee pardons, more

Reid files cloture as House, Senate poised to vote on DREAM Act - The Hill Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture last night on the DREAM Act, setting up an upper-chamber vote for as early as Wednesday morning. House Democrats might vote on the measure earlier the same day.

GOP rises, DREAM Act falters - Scott Wong - Politico How Republican lawmakers facing far-right pressure have shied away from the legislation, diminishing its chances of passage.

First Read - In third conference call in a week, WH pushes DREAM Act - NBC News White House officials had their third conference call in less than a week to push for passage of the DREAM Act, arguing that it would aid the military. The bill would grant conditional legal status for undocumented youths who go to college or join the military.


A sneak peek at one 'Corrido of L.A.' entry

Art by Gajin Fujita, courtesy of LACMA

In late September, I wrote about an unusual songwriting contest for the "The Corrido of L.A."

The contest, put together by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the University of Southern California, encouraged 7th through 12th-grade students from throughout the city to write and submit songs in the traditional Mexican narrative ballad style that best captured the essence of Los Angeles, in any language. Contest judges would include the band Ozomatli, which was to perform the top ten entries in a concert this month.

The deadline for submissions was in mid-November, and since then, KCET's website has provided a sneak peek at one of the songs submitted. The station's Departures hyper-local project recently posted audio and video from a group of students at the Los Angeles Leadership Academy who, calling themselves Los Geekz, have produced a haunting, stylized rap about urban life in "the sickest part of Cali," as they put it. The group calls the piece "Change is Coming," and while it sounds nothing like traditional corrido, no matter.


Bloggingheads debate takes on DREAM Act

Over the weekend posted an interesting back-and-forth on the DREAM Act between Josh Bernstein, immigration policy director for the Service Employees International Union, which supports the bill, and Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C. organization that advocates immigration restrictions.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would provide conditional legal status for undocumented young people who attend college or join the military. To qualify, they must have arrived in the United States before age 16 and be of "good moral character," among other things.

In the split-screen debate, the pair discusses the rationale for the proposed age limit (Krikorian would like to see it lowered), whether or not legalizing young people brought here illegally as minors encourages further illegal immigration, and what the bill's chances are of passing during the lame-duck session.


Blogger El Random Hero and Superman: Something in common?

Photo by Gareth Simpson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Clark Kent's secret identity, January 2007

Zócalo Public Square has posted a bittersweetly humorous essay by L.A. blogger El Random Hero, aka Erick Huerta, who also happens to be undocumented.

Huerta, a 26-year-old journalism student, describes his trip here as he recalls it: "Once, when I was seven, I fell asleep in Michoacan and woke in Boyle Heights. No joke."

I'd never thought of Clark Kent in this way, but Huerta draws the following parallel as he writes about juggling multiple identities of his own:

I guess I should be inspired by Superman, arguably the most accomplished of all “illegal aliens.” Literally, in his case, as he came from another planet as an infant because his parents wanted to give him a better life when his home world was annihilated. He landed on earth and was raised in the Midwest by a loving couple to become a symbol for truth, justice and the American way.

Last time I checked, he was still working at the Daily Planet, getting by under the name of “Clark Kent.” I hope that the e-verify system doesn’t catch up with him someday; where would ICE deport him?