The “Border Beat” (June 24, 2009)

Time for another run-down of some of the Latino-themed stories you might have missed in the last two weeks.  Damas y caballeros, the BORDER BEAT!

• “Sotomayor & Identity Politics” (The Nation)
Just a taste, really, of the buffet that is the blogosphere and the chatter about Sonia Sotomayor and “identity politics.” Along with the frequent discussions about Sotomayor and affirmative action, they generally help us to see the chronic ignorance of the mainstream on issues of race and power.  Here, we get some links to an alternative and the proof bearing pudding, so to speak.

• “Third year of fewer illegal immigrants caught” (Houston Chronicle)
For you “data queens” out there: some figures on the declination in the immigrant flow measured by border apprehensions. For you humanists, the comments offer proof that “border-militia radicals” are not “data queens.”

• “Border Companies Thrive on Mexican-Americans” (NY Times)
A rabid form of racial nationalism (like we have here in the U.S.) is not very compatible with free-market capitalism (like we have here in the U.S.).  Oh, irony!

• “Payments for Injuries to Workers Here Illegally” (NY Times)
Unauthorized immigrants face a host of legal barriers which discourage the protection of the rights they do have.  As workers, for example, they are more prone to abuse, physical injury, discrimination, and a violation of labor laws.  This story, from New York, describes the successful defense of the rights of “illegal” workers using the U.S. Courts as a tool for justice.

• “Utah Latinos learn details of new immigration law, SB81” (Salt Lake Tribune)
I’m prone to posting articles dealing with Latinos in Utah. Someday, when they takeover the state and overcome the minor theocracy they’ve established there, I want to be remembered as one of those visionaries who saw it coming. Right now, fodder for the future takeover as Utah decides to racially profile Latinos.

• “Sotomayor Shaped By Her ‘Nuyorican’ Roots” (NPR)
Well, it’s a bit strange to me, but a lot of people still don’t see Latinos as “people.” Stories like this background piece on Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor help with that, to be sure. Of course, I’m more interested in the word ‘Nuyorican’ becoming part of the mainstream.

• “Court backs LAPD immigration policy” (SF Chronicle)
A recent court decision defends the practices within local law enforcement agencies which do not comply with federal laws on immigration as part of their law enforcement duties. This has the potential to translate into precedent defending the right of cities to declare themselves “sanctuary cities.”


• “In the Coachella Valley, hope withers on the vine” (LA Times)

And the “can’t miss” story of the week comes from the Los Angeles Times and details the continued injustice in the fields of the Coachella Valley.


Erik Estrada feels “responsible for all children”

Here’s the second glimpse of the day into my life: I subscribe to a blog feed of news stories relating to Erik Estrada.  Needless to say, it is all a flutter today.  From today’s Star Press, out of East Central Indiana:

Erik Estrada returns to help MPD colleagues

by Rick Yencer
December 4, 2008

The Muncie Police Department’s most famous reserve officer on Wednesday squeezed off a few rounds on the gun range, reunited with some old friends and jumped into an MPD squad car to put in an overnight patrol shift.

Actor Erik Estrada — a star of the short-lived CBS-TV reality series Armed & Famous , which featured celebrities working as Muncie police officers — is back in Muncie this week, for the third consecutive December putting in his time as a reserve officer and helping some local charities with holiday efforts.

Estrada is scheduled to take part in a Muncie Crime Stoppers holiday food basket program today at Meijer, and the Muncie Fraternal Order of Police Shop-with-a-Cop program at Target on Saturday.

“As a law enforcement officer, I feel responsible for all children,” said Estrada, who recently completed filming a guest-star role in an episode of According to Jim with Jim Belushi.

The 60-year-old actor will also be working the midnight shift the next three nights for the MPD, patrolling city streets from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Best known as “Ponch” on the motorcycle cop drama CHiPs in the 1970s, Estrada first spent a few weeks in Muncie in the winter of 2006-2007, filming Armed & Famous with fellow celebrities Jack Osbourne, Jason “Wee-Man” Acuna, La Toya Jackson and former pro wrestler Trish Stratus.

The actor promised to return to Muncie yearly to help with the Shop-with-a-Cop program and keep his law enforcement status active, and did so in a week-long visit in December 2007.

MPD Lt. Al Williams and Sgt. Jay Turner were at the FOP’s eastside gun range with Estrada on Wednesday afternoon as he took some target practice with live rounds from his handgun.

Estrada said his stay in Muncie would definitely include a visit to the local Chili’s restaurant for lava cake.

The public appearances are set for 2 p.m. today at Meijer and 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Target. Mayor Sharon McShurley, who recently took issue with Muncie firefighters raising charity funds on city time, will join the actor and other public safety officers at the Target event.

Police Capt. Charles Hensley, who oversees the Crime Stoppers and Shop-with-a-Cop programs, said Estrada was a big draw last year and helped raise money and awareness for children and people in need.

“We were just swamped last year with people wanting autographs,” Hensley recalled.

And the need for charities is even greater this Christmas with the economy in recession and growing unemployment as local government and businesses continue to cut jobs.

Estrada spent time Wednesday reuniting with some of the local stars ofArmed & Famous, including Jami Brown, a police detective who was his patrol car partner on the series. He also met with Deborah Davis, appointed police chief by McShurley since his last visit.

“I think it is exciting having a woman’s perspective,” Estrada said about a female running the police department. The actor said he was also looking forward to meeting McShurley.

Estrada said he had not seen Acuna or Stratus since the series ended, but was able to talk to Osbourne last December when the son of rock star Ozzy Osbourne also returned to Muncie to attend the MPD Christmas party.

When Estrada received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007, he was contacted by Jackson, who said she had heard he was planning a return visit to Muncie and wanted to accompany him.

Estrada told Jackson he was uncertain when he would be making the trip, explaining he was still upset with some of her antics while filming Armed & Famous. A portion of one episode dealt with reserve officer Jackson’s fear of cats.

When his most recent Muncie visit ends on Saturday, Estrada is returning to Hollywood to film a two-part episode of My Name is Earl. That role won’t be much of a stretch for the veteran actor; he’ll portray a celebrity icon named Erik Estrada.

Along with his charity work, Estrada has also been the spokesman for DARE, the national anti-drug program for school children.

Let’s be careful out there Ponch.