How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

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?


In the news this morning: DREAM Act updates, GOP in CA split on proposed immigration law, behind the record deportations, more

Immigration vote set for this week - Scott Wong - Politico Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to file a cloture motion on the DREAM ACT Monday night, setting up a Wednesday vote.

Short goodnight expected for the DREAM Act during lame duck- The Hill But the legislation, which would provide a path to legal status for undocumented youths who attend college or join the military, faces a great deal of opposition in the lame-duck session.

California Republicans are split on possible anti-illegal immigration measure - Los Angeles Times A proposed ballot initiative that would give California a law similar to Arizona's SB 1070 is dividing Republicans who fear further alienating Latino voters.

Unusual methods helped ICE break deportation record, e-mails and interviews show - The Washington Post Some background on the methods used by Obama administration immigration officials to deport more people than ever before.


Tamales, champurrado, a cold December night

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Cold revelers, hot tamales. December 3, 2010

Tonight I braved the southbound I-5 to make it to a favorite annual holiday event in San Diego, December Nights, which draws what seems like half the city to Balboa Park for two nights to eat, take in the lights, duck into the museums and listen to carolers. Mostly, though, to eat.

My favorite tamales cart was parked near the same spot where it was last year. There's nothing like an outdoor meal of steaming tamales and hot champurrado on a cold, damp night.


Report finds educational disparities between Asian, Hawaiian, Pacific Islander subgroups

Photo by backonthebus/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A new report reveals wide gaps in the educational achievements of different Asian ethnic groups in California, with big disparities between Asian-American, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students.

From a story today by KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez:

For one Asian-American subgroup, the Hmong of Southeast Asia, the idea that all Asians are academic high achievers is a dangerous myth. Nearly half of Hmong adults don’t have a high school diploma.

It’s dangerous, says University of California researcher Lois Takahashi, because the myth keeps the struggles of Hmong families out of the policymaking spotlight. She says statistics about the much larger Samoan, Guamanian and Tongan populations in California are just as troubling.

"One fifth of Pacific Islanders in our grades 9-12 are expected to drop out by grade 12," Takahashi said. "That’s very similar and almost equivalent to the dropout rate for Latinos in the state."