How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Longest waits for immigrant visas: October

Source: Visa Bulletin for October 2010, U.S. Department of State

Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed their petitions.

Every month, Multi-American is posting the longest current waits as listed in the U.S. State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin.

For countries with the highest demand for family reunification, especially Mexico and the Philippines, the wait to enter the country legally can take several years, in some cases as much as two decades. Here's why: Every nation is allotted the same percentage from a pool of family and employer-based visas available each year, regardless of the demand from any individual nation.

Immigrants defined as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, i.e. spouses, parents, and children under 21, are exempt from the limits. But for others, such as the adult children or siblings of U.S. citizens or legal residents, the wait can be very, very long.

For those whose priority dates are listed in the monthly bulletin, it’s good news, sort of: Visas have technically become available for them, though priority dates are subject to change and frequently do.


In the news this morning: Whitman and the underground economy, immigrant detention, subtitled telenovelas, more

Whitman's - and California's - immigration hypocrisy -- Los Angeles Times How the Whitman housekeeper scandal highlights dependence on undocumented workers.

Whitman's not the first with illegal worker woes - The Orange County Register The gubernatorial candidate joins a long list of public officials to come under fire for their hiring practices.

PREVIEW-U.S. court term has free-speech, immigration cases - Reuters Arizona's appeal on SB 1070 is among the cases the high court will hear in the coming months.

O.C. jails ready for immigration detainees - The Orange County Register The county stands to make $30 million in revenue after selling jail space to the federal government for immigrant detention.

Ground Zero mosque: Our family has received death threats, says wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf - New York Daily News Daisy Khan, the wife of the imam behind the planned project, says that her family has sought help from police after receiving threatening calls.


American snapshots: Cleaning up in L.A.

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

"This must be a mop made for men," Juana jokes as she wields a heavy mop, about as tall as she is.

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

"This must be a mop made for men," Juana jokes as she wields a heavy mop, about as tall as she is.

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

"This must be a mop made for men," Juana jokes as she wields a heavy mop, about as tall as she is.

Yesterday afternoon I caught up with Juana, the subject of an earlier post in which the Los Angeles domestica dished on the housekeeping industry, the need (or not) for papers, and the scandal over Meg Whitman's maid.

She takes the bus throughout the city to clean homes and apartments, usually invisibly while her clients are out, earning $10 to $15 an hour. Here is a bit of what she does:


Because it's Friday: "Detained in the Desert"

How do a second-generation Latina protesting anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona and an immigrant-bashing radio talk show host wind up stranded together in the desert? The answer is in Josefina Lopez's new play "Detained in the Desert," debuting tonight in Boyle Heights at the Casa 0101 Theater.

Lopez, a playwright, director, screenwriter and novelist best known for the play and film "Real Women Have Curves" (and also a daughter of Boyle Heights, born in San Luis Potosí) has set her new tale in the Arizona of this past summer, when the state was a particularly contentious ground zero in the immigration debate.

The inaugural performance tonight sold out - which meant no ticket for me - but there will be performances on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between now and Oct. 24.


Q&A: An L.A. domestica on housekeeping work, papers, and Meg Whitman's maid

Photo by Bulent Yusef/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A detail from a mural in London, June 2006

The scandal that erupted earlier this week over Meg Whitman employing an undocumented immigrant as her housekeeper for nine years has turned the governor's race into a circus of press conferences in recent days. Republican candidate Whitman insists she did not know that ex-housekeeper Nicandra Diaz Santillan was working here illegally, in spite of a Social Security no-match letter that would have raised a red flag; Diaz, who at one time represented herself as having documents, insists otherwise.

Looking beyond the back-and-forth sound bites, however, beyond its high-profile context, the business relationship between Whitman and Diaz is not so noteworthy in itself. Each day, undocumented (and some documented) domesticas - as the legions of women who clean our homes call themselves - board buses headed for the Westside or the Valley or Los Feliz or the Palisades, you name it, to clean the homes of clients who, by and large, are less concerned with their immigration status than how they make their floors shine and their mirrors sparkle.