How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

U.S. immigration history, illustrated

Source: Migration Policy Institute

Source: Migration Policy Institute

The Migration Policy Institute released some updated charts yesterday illustrating the historical movement of people into the United States, and seeing the trends mapped out - in some cases going back to 1820 - is rather fascinating.

A line chart illustrates legal residents admitted to the country between 1820 and 2009, with major spikes occurring at the beginning of the last century, and again around 20 years ago. Another chart, above, shows naturalizations since 1907, breaking out the spikes in military naturalizations that took place during WWI and WWII (though the more recent ones, oddly, aren't reported).

Perhaps more intriguing are unexpected charts like one, at left, that illustrates immigrants as a percentage of the total U.S. population going back to 1850. One surprising tidbit I learned at a glance: The percentage of the U.S. population today that is foreign-born is, in fact, lower than it was in the early 1900s and during much of the later 1800s.


A streamlined DREAM Act moves forward

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

DREAM Act supporters at a Los Angeles rally in September, after a defense bill carrying the measure failed to win enough votes in the Senate. It was later reintroduced as a stand-alone bill.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association sent a notice to its members this morning with details of a tighter, more restrictive version of the DREAM Act introduced in the Senate last night.

From the notice, which has now been posted on the AILA website:

Late last night, Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) filed a new version of the DREAM Act (S. 3992) with the aim of attracting broader support for DREAM to get the requisite 60 votes to pass the Senate. With the filing of this new bill, the anticipated date for bringing DREAM to a vote will be delayed. The earliest Reid could file a cloture motion on the new bill would be this coming Thursday. After waiting out the requisite 30 hours post-cloture, it could "ripen" over the weekend, and effectively come up for a vote on Monday at the earliest.

The new version addresses many of the concerns raised by Republicans and tightens the restrictions on eligibility in several respects. Among other changes, the new version does the following:

Excludes from eligibility those with certain criminal convictions, such as for offenses punishable by a maximum term of more than 1 year (felony) or 3 misdemeanors
Requires all applicants to provide their biometric data to DHS, to submit to background checks and medical examination, and to register for military selective service
Requires applicants to pay all taxes
Sets the cut-off age to those who are less than 30 years-old on the date of enactment
Provides a "safe harbor" from removal only to those applicants who present a prima facie case of eligibility
Extends the good moral character requirement back to the date the alien entered the United States rather than the date of enactment of DREAM
Expands the applicable grounds of inadmissibility to include the health-related, public charge, smuggling, draft dodging, and unlawful voting grounds
Expands the applicable grounds of deportability to include public charge, unlawful voting, and marriage fraud grounds
Excludes those who participated in persecution
Clarifies that no one can apply before 1 year after enactment
Requires applicants to demonstrate eligibility by a preponderance of the evidence
Eliminates repeal of the in-state tuition ban
Defines institution of higher education to include only U.S.-based programs
Requires those who subsequently apply for adjustment to meet the English language and civics requirements typically required for naturalization
Expands the circumstances where disclosure of confidential information about DREAM applicants is required for homeland security or national security purposes
Creates conditional nonimmigrant status for 10 years, followed by 3 years of LPR status prior to application for naturalization


In the news this morning: DREAM Act demonstrations, Tequila Party commentary, empanadas used in self-defense, more

Groups Make Late Push to Salvage Bill Aiding Illegal Immigrant Students - New York Times Immigrant advocates have mobilized nationwide in a last-ditch effort to persuade Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would allow a path to legal status for undocumented youths who attend college or join the military.

Reid moves forward on DREAM Act - Politico Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that he'll attempt to force a test vote this week on the measure.

DREAM Act Students Volunteer to Serve in the Military - Fox News Latino Demonstrations included one yesterday at a military recruiting center in Washington, D.C., where a group of undocumented youths showed up to volunteer for military service, although by law they can't serve.

When tea is a stronger drink than tequila | Kyle Wingfield - Atlanta Journal Constitution Commentary on the tentative plans for a Latino "Tequila Party," patterned after the Tea Party, of immigration reform advocates.


Undocumented and afraid, part 2

Photo by Bryan Goseline/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Students taking in a lecture, October 2007

In my previous post, I explained my rationale in going forward with a young undocumented college student's story after he requested that he remain anonymous.

The student had sent an e-mail to KPCC through the station's Public Insight Network, which allows the public to confidentially share their personal stories related to topics in the news. I'd asked him if he would be willing to participate in a Q&A for the Multi-American blog. He agreed, but later asked if I could publish his answers without using his name.

I briefly wondered if I should simply find another student's story to publish, one of the many who are coming out about their immigration status as they campaign for the DREAM Act. But then, would passing on this wary kid in Claremont, and on his fear, mean passing on part of the story?


Undocumented and afraid, part 1

Photo by Bryan Goseline/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Students taking in a lecture, October 2007

Much has been written lately about the college students who are coming out about their immigration status in support of the DREAM Act, proposed legislation that would allow undocumented students like themselves, or those who join the military, a path to legal status if they meet several criteria, including having arrived in the United States as minors under 16.

But for every one of those students, there are are many others who are afraid to come forward.

A couple of months ago, a colleague here at KPCC passed along an e-mail that came in response to immigration-related questions posed via the station's Public Insight Network, a project that gives the public a confidential way to share personal stories related to topics in the news. The e-mail, written by a young man in Claremont, caught my attention: He was a college student who had been here since childhood, he was undocumented, and he felt hopeless.