How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In immigration news: SCA 5 and Asian American political clout, immigrant advocates prepare to meet Pope, more

Hispanic Grad Rates

Reed Saxon/AP

A California proposal to restore affirmative action on state college campuses stalled recently, in part because Chinese Americans opposed to the measure mobilized against it.

SCA 5: A political coming-of-age story for Chinese-Americans - Southern California Public Radio The controversy over SCA 5, a California proposal to reinstate affirmative action in state universities, has become a watershed moment in the evolution of Chinese American political clout. Chinese American groups who feared the initiative might cost their children spots in college mobilized, calling lawmakers, circulating petitions, and eventually stalling SCA 5 for this year.

SoCal Immigration Coalition Prepares For Trip To Vatican, Meeting With Pope Francis - CBS Los Angeles A group of 17 immigrant advocates is planning to travel to the Vatican to meet in person with Pope Francis and discuss immigration reform with him. Members of the group, which includes two children, said L.A. Archbishop Jose Gomez helped make the trip happen. They leave for Rome late Friday.

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SCA 5: A political coming-of-age story for Chinese-Americans

Chinese SCA 5

Leo Wang/Flickr Creative Commons

SCA 5 opponents protest the proposed ballot initiative at a rally in Cupertino.

Prospects for Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 started out rosy.

The proposed ballot measure sailed through the state Senate late January. A Democratic supermajority voted in favor of asking Californians to allow race-conscious admissions at public universities – a practice banned by voters in 1996.

SCA 5 headed next to the Assembly, and that's when things got bumpy. Chinese-language media got wind of the legislation, and fanned parents' fears that their children would lose college spots to students from other racial groups.

Throughout February, opponents used social media and email lists to organize rallies and town hall meetings in heavily Chinese communities throughout Silicon Valley and the San Gabriel Valley. Politicians were bombarded by emails and phone calls. A Vote No to SCA 5 petition has drawn more than 114,000 signatures.

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Feds look at higher education spending across race and ethnicity

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Is there truth to the notion that some ethnic groups value higher education more than others? A new study from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that no, there isn't.

Using data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, researchers reviewed more than 90,000 households’ expenditures for higher education between 2008 and 2010. They confirmed something that's been well-reported: black and Latino families spend less on higher education than do white and Asian families.

Black families spent 70 percent less on college than whites; Latinos, 60 percent less. By contrast, Asians spent 50 percent more and also outpaced the three other groups in college attendance.

But according to the research, these differences don't stem from different ethnic values regarding education. When researchers compared black, white, Latino and Asian families with similar backgrounds, in fact, they found little difference in how much is spent on college.

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In immigration news: Stash house discovery, Piolin lawsuit thrown out, lack of diversity in Silicon Valley

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MICHAEL GOTTSCHALK/AFP/Getty Images

Silicon Valley has been criticized for its low number of black and Latino hires.

Five will face federal charges in Pearland stash house - Houston Chronicle More than 110 people were found imprisoned in a squalid stash house, apparently pending payment to the smugglers who brought them to the US. Federal authorities who raided the house on Wednesday are now holding five people on charges of "hostage taking, unlawfully carrying weapon, and conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens." Most of the captured were males, aged 5 to 47. Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said people were "literally living on top of one another."

Principal who told kids not to speak Spanish will lose job - Houston Chronicle In other Pearland, Tex. news, a middle school principal who's been on adminstrative leave since December will not be returning. The school board has decided not to renew Amy Lacey's contract. Lacey had reportedly announced over the intercom that students were not allowed to speak Spanish on school grounds. Latino advocates said such a message had a chilling effect on the district's rapidly growing immigrant population — more than half of the students are Hispanic — and that some students would be discouraged from attending school. 

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In immigration news: Activists push to halt deportations, a rise in immigration prosecutions, Elvira Arellano returns, more

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Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images

Honduran migrants deported from the United States walk on the tarmac of Toncontin Airport in August, 2011. With immigration reform unlikely in 2014, immigrant rights advocates have stepped up their push for the Obama administration to halt deportations. The White House announced last week that it would review deportation practices.

As Immigration Reform Sputters, Activists Begin Focusing On Stopping Deportations - Fox News Latino Immigrant rights advocates have for some time advocated a "Plan B" with the aim of pushing the White House to take executive action on deportations. With immigration reform unlikely in 2014, the campaign to get President Obama to halt deportations is heating up. The White House announced it would review deportation practices last week.

Report: Rise in unlawful reentry prosecutions drives increase in federal criminal convictions - Southern California Public Radio A federal policy that since 2005 has led to migrants caught along parts of the southern border being prosecuted for illegal entry has driven a spike in immigration-related federal crimes, and an overall increase in federal convictions. It's also changed the demographic makeup of federal offenders.

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