How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Quote of the moment: ColorLines publisher on why she doesn't use the term 'illegals'

Photo by Steve Rhodes/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A sign that reads "No human is illegal," San Francisco, July 2008

"There’s no conflict between honest reporting and dropping the i-word. I use undocumented and unauthorized regularly, as this is a matter of permission represented by a piece of paper. I never obfuscate how a source came to be in the United States, whether they overstayed a visa or crossed a border."

- Rinku Sen, publisher of ColorLines

The publisher of the online magazine, which tackles the thorny issue of race in its coverage of communities of color, speaks out in a first-person essay titled "Why I Don't Use the I-Word - in ANY Form." ColorLines has launched a campaign called "Drop the I-Word," urging media outlets not to use the word "illegals" in reference to undocumented immigrants.

Sen's essay gets at a complicated conversation that has been held in many a newsroom over the years: There is illegal immigration, yes, but what to call the immigrants themselves? In general, mainstream media outlets tend to go with AP style, which is "illegal immigrants." The terms "undocumented" and "unauthorized" are also used, if less commonly.


Report: The growing influence of immigrant and second-generation voters

Source: Immigration Policy Center

A report on immigrant and second-generation voters released today by the Immigration Policy Center concludes that one in 10 registered voters in 2008 was a "new American." According to the report, 9.3 million registered voters were naturalized U.S. citizens, accounting for 6.4 percent of registered voters, and 5.7 million were U.S.-born children of immigrants, raised during the current era of large-scale immigration from Latin America and Asia that began in 1965.

Latinos and Asians accounted for 10.7 percent of registered voters in 2008, according to the report, and their electoral influence is growing. From the executive summary:

The ranks of registered voters who are New Americans, or Latino or Asian, have been growing rapidly this decade and are likely to play an increasingly pivotal role in elections at all levels in the years to come, particularly in battleground states like Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.


In the news this morning: Deported by mistake, the Latino health paradox, the Sanchez-Tran debate and more

The Associated Press: Lawsuit: Mentally ill US citizen wrongly deported A mentally disabled U.S. citizen who spoke no Spanish was deported to Mexico after immigration agents manipulated him into signing documents, a lawsuit alleges.

The Hispanic Mortality Paradox: Why Do Latinos Outlive Other Americans? – TIME Healthland Trying to explain Latinos' longer life expectancy, the subject of a federal report released yesterday.

Rep. Sanchez, Tran trade shots - The Orange County Register Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Van Tran hammered each other in a debate yesterday, both seeking immigrant votes in Orange County's heavily immigrant 47th Congressional District.

Five Public Colleges in Georgia Ban Illegal-Immigrant Students - New York Times Georgia education officials voted yesterday to bar undocumented immigrants from attending the state’s five most selective public colleges. Georgia is the second state to do so, after South Carolina.


287(g) basics: How the federal-local immigration partnership works

Photo by 888bailbonds/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Los Angeles County prisoner bus, June 2009

Last night, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to extend the county’s participation in a partnership between Sheriff’s Department officials and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement known as 287(g), which allows deputies to screen people who land in county jail for immigration status.

Just what is 287(g)? The federal program derives its odd name from a 1996 amendment to the immigration law that authorized it. From the ICE website:

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 added Section 287(g), performance of immigration officer functions by state officers and employees, to the Immigration and Nationality Act. This authorizes the secretary of DHS to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions, provided that the local law enforcement officers receive appropriate training and function under the supervision of ICE officers.


CDC report: Latinas live longer

Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Doctors with patient, Seattle, 1999

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its first-ever report on Hispanic life expectancy, and the long-life winners are Latinas, whose life expectancy tops the list at 83.1 years.

The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics issued its "United States Life Tables by Hispanic Origin" today, with the tables based on 2006 death rate data.

Among the groups compared in the report, Hispanic females have the highest life expectancy at birth (83.1 years), followed by non-Hispanic white females (80.4 years), Hispanic males (77.9 years), non-Hispanic black females (76.2 years), non-Hispanic white males (75.6 years), and non-Hispanic black males (69.2 years).

Latinos live longer in general: According to the report, life expectancy at birth for the total population in 2006 was 77.7 years; 80.6 years for the Hispanic population, 78.1 years for the non-Hispanic white population, and 72.9 years for the non-Hispanic black population.