New America Foundation, 5/16/12
Despite my family’s rootedness in Southern California, migration has had an inordinate effect on my life. Now that it has come to a virtual halt, how do I see myself? Angeleno, as always.
The news that Mexican immigration to the United States has come to a virtual halt has me thinking about all the ways that will change things. It will affect politics, culture, labor and the nation’s racial climate. And it will also change how we see each other and ourselves as Americans and as Californians, me included.
I’m one of those mythical native Californians you might have read about. I was born near the corner of Sunset and Vermont in Hollywood. My father was born in L.A. and baptized, as was I, at La Placita Church downtown. My mom was born in northern San Diego County and baptized at the San Antonio de Pala mission there. My paternal great-grandfather arrived in the U.S. — Arizona — from Mexico in 1893. My family has been American so long that sometimes I think I should wear one of those buckled Pilgrim hats.