How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Illegal, undocumented, unauthorized? More debate over immigrants and AP style

Photo by stay sick/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Graffiti in Munich, Germany, Feb. 2008

Last month I wrote about the discussion provoked by a campaign organized by ColorLines, an online magazine covering issues related to racial justice, to discourage media use of "illegals" in reference to immigrants who arrived in this country illegally or overstayed visas.

Most mainstream media outlets follow Associated Press style, I pointed out then. And while "illegals" isn't deemed appropriate in the AP Stylebook, "illegal immigrant" is.

Last week, Marisa Treviño of Latina Lista took the next step: questioning the AP's judgment on its style, and that of outlets that go along with it. After being offended by the use of "illegal immigrant" used to describe CSU Fresno's accomplished student body president in a headline when his status was disclosed recently, she posted last Thursday:

...the AP, always looked upon as the guardian and ultimate authority on newspaper writing style, refuses to acknowledge that maybe a group other than itself can deem a particular term inappropriate for news usage -- especially a group that is offended by that term.

It wouldn't be so bad if only the AP used the term but because many in the industry follow its lead like sheep in a pack, they also use the term when referring to undocumented immigrants. In speaking with a few editors at different newspapers about their usage of the term, they have replied that they use it because it is "sanctioned" by the AP.

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In the news this morning: Immigration policy reversals, DREAM Act update, Steve Li's release, Latinos and Alzheimer's, more

Reversals by immigration officials are sowing mistrust - The Washington Post Advocates on both the right and the left say that shifting positions by officials - such as a reversal on whether jurisdictions could opt out of one enforcement program - have created a climate of mistrust.

Steve 'Shing Ma' Li freed as Feinstein intervenes - San Francisco Chronicle On Friday, immigration officials announced plans to release Li from a detention center in Arizona. The Chinese-American student was scheduled for deportation to Peru, where he was born while his family lived there temporarily.

California's US senators support DREAM Act - 89.3 KPCC When the Senate returns to Washington, D.C. after Thanksgiving, Democratic leaders promise to schedule a vote on the proposed legislation that would allow qualifying undocumented students and military hopefuls access to legal status.

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Student Steve Li being released from detention

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A week ago, it seemed there would be nothing stopping the deportation of San Francisco student Steve Li to Peru, where the 20-year-old Chinese-American was born while his family was living there. Now, a few days after the intervention of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein temporarily halted his removal from the country, he is being released from an Arizona detention center and is on his way home.

Inside Bay Area and other outlets reported earlier today that Li would soon be on his way back to San Francisco via Greyhound bus, according to his lawyer. From the story:

He will remain under supervision and must regularly report to immigration officers once he is back in the city, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice.

News of his release came hours after Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a private relief bill in Congress on behalf of Li. The bill, if enacted, would grant Li a green card allowing him to permanently reside in the United States. Congress rarely passes such bills, but the mere introduction of the private bill effectively halted Li's deportation.

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American snapshot: Commerce

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A bibimbap billboard above a gas station off Interstate 5 in Commerce, November 19, 2010

This is the first time I've ever seen an English-language billboard with an image of bibimbap, the beloved Korean meal-in-a-hot-pot, most often crowned with raw egg.

The billboard is an advertisement for TheTasteofKorea.com, a website promoting Korean dishes that appears to be sponsored by the South Korean government and a food trade group.

Still, it's not a billboard you'd expect to see in anything other than an immigrant town, where staples and comfort food from around the world are part of the regional cuisine. Bibimbap, we already love ya.

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Is the DREAM Act good for the economy?

Robert Huffstutter/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A recent study by UCLA's North American Integration and Development Center examined the future earning potential and economic input of the estimated 825,000 now-undocumented youths who stand to benefit from the DREAM Act, proposed legislation that would allow a path to legal status for college students and military enlistees.

The conclusion, from a report released this week: An estimated $1.4 trillion current dollars in income generated by DREAM Act beneficiaries over 40 years.

From the report:

In this study, we examine two scenarios. In the first, we calculate the income that the lower-bound estimated 825,000 beneficiaries would generate over a 40-year period, representative of the work life of a 25- to 65-year-old employed individual. In our second scenario, called “No DREAMers Left Behind,” we analyze the income that would be generated in the same 40-year period if the entire group of 2.1 million potential beneficiaries could successfully meet the education or military service requirement.

By observing the educational attainment of the Latino population (which represents over 80 percent of the total potential beneficiary cohort, according to the MPI) and applying those trends to the 825,000 eligible individuals in the MPI scenario, our study concludes that the income generated over 40 years would be $1.4 trillion in current dollars (actual income would be significantly higher if inflation over 40 years is taken into account).

In the No DREAMers Left Behind scenario, 2.1 million undocumented immigrants would become legalized and generate approximately $3.6 trillion over the same 40-year period (also in current dollars).

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