How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Anti-SB 1070 banners hang from Hollywood Freeway this morning


Photo by Paulina Gonzalez

Activists hold an anti-SB 1070 banner over the 101 downtown this morning.

Drive-time commuters snaking their way through downtown Los Angeles on the Hollywood Freeway this morning likely saw banners like this one dangling from an overpass. Several activists hung the banners to protest SB 1070, a controversial Arizona anti-illegal immigration law set to go into effect this Thursday, unless it is held up by court challenges. A decision from a federal judge in Phoenix is expected soon.

The banners were hung downtown between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. from the Broadway Avenue, Spring Street and Grand Avenue overpasses. Banner-drop organizers said commuters will see them again between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. tonight and will return daily through Wednesday, with a "major action" is planned for Thursday.


DREAM Act hunger strikers enter sixth day

dream act mask

Photo by xomiele/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A protester in Arizona.

Since Wednesday, up to 10 supporters of proposed legislation known as the DREAM Act have been camped out on a hunger strike in front of the Westwood office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Sleeping in a tent while consuming nothing but water for days is a painful way to get the attention of lawmakers, but the hunger strikers in Westwood, who include undocumented undergraduate and graduate students, say it’s worth it: The proposed Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act would create a path to citizenship for qualifying 1.5 generation undocumented immigrants who were brought here as minors. Those who qualify must have arrived in the United States before age 16, have been here continuously for five years, and must attend college or join the military. They must also be between 12 and 35 at the time they apply.


'Are you part of the shadow economy?'


Photo by Nathan Gibbs/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Unauthorized workers are often on the payroll, but cash fuels the underground economy.

An interesting business story in the Arizona Republic poses this question, with a link to an online mini-poll that asks: "Have you, as an adult, participated in the 'shadow economy' by receiving payment in cash for your work, and not reporting it?

It's a good question, as is the flip side, which wasn't asked: Have you, as en employer, paid cash for the services of your gardener, housekeeper, handyman or other worker? As the Republic story reads, "Arizonans often pay cash to handymen, painters, landscapers, babysitters and other odd-jobs workers, who may or may not be legal residents."

It works both ways, and everyone has a hand. And not just in Arizona. There will be more to come on the role of employers in illegal immigration as this blog develops.?


Patt Morrison explores 'food deserts' in South L.A
Navigating LA's Food Deserts: Airs 7/26 @ 1 PM from 89.3 KPCC on Vimeo.
The lack of healthy food options in low-income communities, where cheap fast food is often more easily found than fresh produce, has been blamed for a variety of public health problems, including a higher prevalence of diabetes among racial and ethnic minorities. Earlier this month, KPCC's Patt Morrison hosted a special event at KPCC's Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena, a combined farmers' market and town hall discussion on the scarcity of healthy food available to residents of South Los Angeles. An edited broadcast, Navigating LA's Food Deserts, airs Monday at 1 p.m. on 89.3 KPCC.