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This shopping mall’s amazing story is the perfect argument for immigration reform

On a rainy day in South Central Los Angeles, a cold breeze rushes into a building on Grand Avenue and twirls the fiesta lanterns dangling from the rafters. Below, an almond-eyed woman dressed in lace lights candles on a makeshift altar for Our Lady of Guadalupe. A few feet away, a man wearing a colorful serape arranges a nativity scene. Suddenly, bracerosburst through the rain-streaked door, carrying armfuls of gladiolas and poinsettias, delighting the children.

'Tis the season of Las Posadas — the nine-day Mexican celebration of Christmas that began running from the middle of December through Christmas. The bustle inside Mercado La Paloma is especially joyous since the immigrant retail center is about to pay off its entire $8 million debt — loans it probably wouldn’t have been able to secure in today’s corporate banking era.

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