How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Bloggers on the 14th Amendment battle

Photo by Victoria Bernal/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A baby at a May Day rally in downtown Los Angeles, May 1, 2010

Those who write about immigration, politics, and the intersection of the two have had quite a bit to work with since Wednesday, when several GOP state legislators announced that they'd be introducing bills at the state level in hopes of forcing a U.S. Supreme Court review of the 14th Amendment.

Adopted shortly after the Civil War, the constitutional amendment guarantees U.S. citizenship for everyone who is born in this country. The goal of the anti-birthright citizenship lawmakers is to deny citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants.

In one recent post, The New Republic's Adam Serwer highlights a quote from anti-birthright citizenship advocate Sen. Russell Pearce of Arizona (from the Washington Times, via ColorLines), pointing out the statement as historically incorrect. Pearce was quoted as saying that the amendment was meant to apply to African Americans and that its sponsors "specifically said it didn't apply to foreigners or aliens." Serwer writes:


Happy Día de los Reyes Magos

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A colorful Three Kings-themed box for a Rosca de Reyes, January 2009

I wondered why the date on the news stories I was reviewing this morning stood out: Jan 6. And then I was reminded that today is Three Kings Day, otherwise known as the Christian holiday of Epiphany, which is celebrated in the Hispanic world as "El Dia de los Reyes Magos."

Which means, of course, that the tradition is widely celebrated in L.A. Latin bakeries around town have been churning out Rosca de Reyes, a ring-like cake (yummy) with a toy baby Jesus baked into it (hard on the teeth) by the truckload.

It's been a quite while since my family officially celebrated Reyes, the last of the twelve days of Christmas and, per Christian tradition, the day on which the Three Kings are supposed to have arrived in Bethlehem at the scene of the Nativity with gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.


In the news this morning: Another challenge to birthright citizenship, Three Kings Day, the ethnic studies battle in Arizona and more

Several states want court ruling on birthright citizenship - The Washington Post A report from yesterday's announcement by Republican state legislators of their plans to challenge birthright citizenship. In the next few weeks, several state legislatures are expected to introduce bills that proponents hope will force a judicial reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment.

Steve King Moves Forward on Bill to End Birthright Citizenship - Political Hotsheet - CBS News The Republican representative from Iowa and new head of a House immigration panel introduced a bill yesterday that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act, also hoping to end automatic U.S. citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.

Who Celebrates Three Kings Day? What's with the Camels?! - Fox News Latino January 6 is Three Kings Day, a Catholic holiday that celebrates the Three Wise Men's arrival at the nativity scene with gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold. It's a tradition in Latin America, and here as well.


Video: Climbing the border fence in less than 18 seconds

This comes via The Atlantic's Daily Dish.

I probably couldn't do this myself, at least not nearly as fast. But obviously, many people can.

Embedded into the video near the end is a link to a trailer for filmmaker Roy Germano's award-winning documentary "The Other Side of Immigration," which tells the immigration story from the perspective of small-town residents in Mexico and explores why so many people leave to work in the United States.

The fence video is a clever attention-grabber for the film, but it gets its own point across in no time.


A short history of the 14th Amendment

Photo by Cliff 1066/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A child participates in a parade of flags, October 2010

We've featured some of the text from the 1868 amendment to the United States Constitution and what the amendment entails, as well as the model bill that some conservative state legislators hope will force federal judges to revise it in their quest to deny U.S. citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants.

The amendment itself has a long and storied history, dating to just after the Civil War. Worth highlighting is the landmark late 1800s legal case that set the precedent for how it is interpreted, and which involved the U.S.-born son of Chinese immigrants.

The 14th Amendment was one of three changes to the Constitution during and after the Civil War era known as the Reconstruction Amendments: The 13th abolished slavery, the 15th prohibited the states from denying the vote to anyone based solely on race. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History's website has a detailed article from a Columbia University history professor on how the amendment came to be, placing it in historical context.