Sunday, April 30, 2017

Law Enforcement Officials Take On DACA Students' Roles In Colorado Play


"Do You Know Who I Am?" is a one-act show featuring autobiographical monologues written and performed by youth living in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, staged at the Motus Theater in Boulder, Colorado.

This weekend, the show has featured a twist.  Boulder County district attorney, the county sheriff and police chiefs from the Colorado cities of Longmont, Louisville and Lafayette take on the roles of these immigrants.

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett (@DAGarnett) and show writer and performer Victor Galvan (@victorgalvan247here why the show tool this turn, and what it means to the original actors and law enforcement officials who will share their stories.



April 30, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Kreosan: Ukrainian Youtubers Offer Wacky Experiments, With A Side Of War & Immigration

Kreosan is a youtube duo that offers low-tech high-drama science experiments like how to start a fire with a cellphone and heating food with electricity. The channel is so popular, it's been profiled by the NYT.

The videos are fun to watch, especially when explosions ensue! But they also give a glimpse into what it's like to live in the midst of war.

For example, check out this video tour of their hometown Luhansk.

Of most interest to immprofers, though, might be this video of the pair's journey from Ukraine to Moscow for a youtuber conference. The duo hitchhiked their way and slept in a tent off the road. Watch from 1:33 to 3:00 or 4:30 as they cross checkpoints. Your heart will ache right after when you hear how when they leave the combat zone, they note it's "unusual for us to see people freely walking in peace" and "not hearing consistent sounds" of shelling.


April 25, 2017 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Message From Sean Spicer

Monday, April 10, 2017

The FedEx Immigration Commercial You Need

This commercial is flat out adorable. Tiny products fly around the world heading to new homes, with some help from FedEx. I'm thinking of using :21 to :31 in class - watch the robot stand in line for immigration control, present a passport, get checked over by the official, and have his passport stamped. It's 10 seconds students will love.


April 10, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Faces of Trump’s Mass Deportations

A little more than a month ago, the Democratic National Committee launched a program Tuesday that intends to shift the debate over President Trump’s immigration policy to the harm it is doing to communities and families.  Called the “Faces of Trump’s Mass Deportation Plan,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said the new initiative will highlight the “real stories” of well-meaning immigrants that have been negatively impacted by the recent immigration crackdown.  Here is a sample:

Faces of Trump’s Mass Deportations




Roberto Beristain arrived to the United States in 1998 through a Mexican border crossing. He was deported Wednesday despite having no criminal record, a family attorney says (CNN)

UPDATE  – DEPORTED: CNN: Roberto Beristain – husband of Trump voter, no criminal record

Helen Beristain voted for Donald Trump even though she is married to an undocumented immigrant.  In November, she thought Trump would deport only people with criminal records - – people he called "bad hombres" - – and that he would leave families intact. "I don't think ICE is out there to detain anyone and break families, no," Beristain told CNN affiliate WSBT in March, shortly after her husband, Roberto Beristain was detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On Wednesday, Beristain was proven wrong as ICE split her family across two countries. Roberto Beristain, 44, was deported back to Mexico despite having no criminal record, family attorney Adam Ansari said.






Estefany Ortiz discussing ICE’s arrest of her father at their home. (CBS)


NEW: CBS: Carlos Ortiz – father, arrested even though ICE was looking for another man

Nineteen-year-old Estefany Ortiz says Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents came to her house in Pasadena, California, last month looking for someone who did not live there. They arrested her father, Carlos Ortiz, instead. He was in the country illegally, but had no criminal record. “Why did we open the door,” Estefany said. “Nobody is going to want to open the door. Everyone is scared.”


NEW: ABC 11 (Raleigh-Durham, NC): Edwin Guillen – 26-year-old painter, no criminal record

Edwin Guillen has lived in Durham for four years, and works as a painter. The 26-year-old has no criminal record. His attorney, Becky Moriello, questions why he was detained by immigration officers in the first place. "The fact that he is brown or the fact that he does not speak English does not mean that he is necessarily an immigrant," Moriello said… Thursday, Moriello, argued in court filings that Guillen was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time  – since he was not initially accused of any crime, nor does he have a past criminal record.


NEW: WBUR (Boston, MA): Green Card applicants

Five people were arrested and detained yesterday at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Lawrence when they showed up for scheduled appointments. Some were looking to begin their green card application process.


NEW: BBC: Jose Coyote Perez – father of 4, New York resident for 17 years, no criminal record

Mr. Perez is a dairy farm employee and an advocate for migrant workers…Born in Mexico, he has lived in Livingston County, New York, for 17 years and has four children, three of whom are US citizens. Mr Perez had a deportation case against him that was administratively closed in September 2016. He had no criminal record, and possessed a social security number, and a work permit. When Ice officials asked him to come into a local office for a routine check-in this year, he was subsequently detained.


NEW: NPR: Deportation Fears Prompt Immigrants To Cancel Food Stamps

Groups that help low-income families get food assistance are alarmed by a recent drop in the number of immigrants seeking help. Some families are even canceling their food stamps and other government benefits, for fear that receiving them will affect their immigration status or lead to deportation. Many of the concerns appear to be unfounded but have been fueled by the Trump administration's tough stance on immigration. Officials at Manna Food Center in Montgomery County, Md., report that about 20 percent of the 561 families they have helped apply for food stamps, or SNAP benefits, in the past few months have asked that their cases be closed.

The Atlantic: Natividad Gonzalez – mother of 2, fears deportation and leaving young, U.S. citizen daughters behind in America

When Natividad Gonzalez packs her daughters’ homework and lunches for school each morning, she slips a freshly charged cell phone into her eldest child’s bag. The 11-year-old knows the plan: If she and her younger sister, age 8, walk home from the bus to find an empty house, she’s supposed to call Gonzalez’s friend who will come get them. Her daughter also knows the combination to the family safe, inside which is an ATM card and a quickly drafted power-of-attorney letter granting custody to the family friend in case Natividad and her husband are arrested and sent back to Mexico. “These are things that an 11-year-old shouldn’t have to be thinking about,” says Gonzalez, age 32, who came to Clanton, Alabama with her husband nearly 13 years ago, and is still undocumented.





juan vivares.PNG


Juan Vivares, 29, an electrician in the Bronx, was detained after meeting with immigration agents on Tuesday. (New York Times)

New York Times: Juan Vivares – father, escaped expected murder in Colombia, faces imminent deportation

Juan Vivares, 29, a Colombian electrician who was caught crossing the southern border into the United States illegally in 2011 and was ordered deported after losing his bid for asylum. He said he had come to the United States to escape paramilitary forces in Medellín who had tried to kill him over his political work for a mayoral candidate. Mr. Vivares’s lawyer, Rebecca Press, has asked immigration agents to delay his deportation for family reasons, explaining that he is needed to care for the baby he has with his wife, Yahaira Burgos, an American citizen who works overnight shifts as a doorwoman at an apartment building on the Upper East Side. But his previous appeals for leniency have failed.



The Atlantic: Graciela – mother of 3, fear of deportation taking toll on health

Graciela, a 51-year-old mother of four who declined to give her last name, made a plan to leave her two teenagers, ages 13 and 14, with her 24-year-old daughter, if she’s forced to return to Mexico after living in Phoenix since 2004. “I want them to be able to finish their studies, but she won’t be able to handle them for very long,” says Graciela. “She has two kids of her own, and it’s a lot to ask her. I’ve got to be prepared to take them back with me.” Graciela is also devastated by the idea of leaving her older children behind. “I can’t imagine not seeing my grandkids grow up,” she says. “Since Trump became president, I’m so depressed. I’m eating out of control, and I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. I have bags under my eyes. It’s really starting to wear on me.”


April 8, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Malibu officials denounce prank 'sanctuary city' placard bolted to roadside sign

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

At the Movies: Crossing Arizona



Director: Joseph Mathew & Dan DeVivo | Producer: Joseph Mathew & Dan DeVivo
Genre: Documentary | Produced In: 2006 | Story Teller's Country: United States
Tags: Americas, Duty, Governance, Mexico, Migration, Politics, United States

Synopsis: With Americans on all sides of the issue up in arms and Congress embroiled in a knock-down-drag-out policy battle over how to move forward, "Crossing Arizona" shows how we got to where we are today.

Heightened security in California and Texas has pushed illegal border-crossers into the treacherous Arizona desert in unprecedented numbers – an estimated 4,500 a day. Most are men in search of work, but increasingly the border-crossers are women and children seeking to reunite with their families. This influx of migrants crossing through Arizona and the attendant rising death toll have elicited complicated feelings about human rights, culture, class, labor and national security.

“Crossing Arizona” examines the crisis through the eyes of those directly affected by it. Frustrated ranchers go out day after day to repair cut fences and pick up the trash that endangers their livestock and livelihoods. Humanitarian groups place water stations in the desert in an attempt to save lives. Political activists rally against anti-migrant ballot initiatives and try to counter rampant fear-mongering. Farmers who depend on the illegal work force face each day with the fear that they may lose their workers to a border patrol sweep.

And now there are the Minutemen, an armed citizen patrol group taking border security into their own hands. As up-to-date as the nightly news, but far more in-depth, “Crossing Arizona” reveals the surprising political stances people take when immigration and border policy fails everyone.


April 5, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

At The Movies: Casa en Tierra Ajena

Casa en Tierra Ajena or Home in a Foreign Land is a new documentary about Central American migration to the US. It's produced by the University of Costa Rica and inspired by the work of Carlos Sandoval, a researcher at that university who is the author of Exclusion and Forced Migration in Central America.

It's a three part documentary.

“The right not to migrate” focuses on root causes of migration, such as gang violence;

“the right to have rights” focuses on the dangers migrants face during the trip;

and the final section, “the right to hope,” focuses on hope and solidarity shown by migrants.

The film draws on footage and interviews obtained from some 40 different locations in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.

Here's the official trailer.

For more, check out this story from the Tico Times.


April 4, 2017 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

At the Movies: Resistance at Tule Lake


Resistance at Tule Lake

The film Resistance at Tule Lake tells the long-suppressed story of 12,000 Japanese Americans who dared to protest the U.S. government's program of mass incarceration during World War II. Branded as "disloyals" and imprisoned at Tule Lake Segregation Center, they continued to resist in the face of militarized violence, and thousands renounced their U.S. citizenship. Giving voice to experiences that have been marginalized for over 70 years, this documentary challenges the nationalist, one-sided ideal of wartime "loyalty."

This documentary is currently in final post-production. Missing from this fine cut: color correction; final archival masters; final motion graphics and titles; complete original score, sound effects, and sound mix.


March 30, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 27, 2017

NBC Sitcom Vilifies U Visa


On Thursday, NBC aired its half-hour sitcom Superstore. The show (season 2, episode 17: "Mateo's Last Day") vilified the U visa.

In a prior episode, the popular character Mateo learns from a co-worker that he isn't lawfully present in the US. In this episode, Mateo wants to transfer to a new location ("a Cloud 9 signature" store) so as to no longer work in a store controlled by his District Manager/boyfriend. But the new store requires a copy of his social security card to run it through e-verify. Of course, this is a problem.

Enter comedy.

Cheyenne: "Do undocumented people have documents?"

Mateo: "No, no we don't."

Cheyenne: "Oh, so like won't that be an issue?"

Mateo: (exasperated) "Yes!"

And then the solutions flow.

I'm sure you can guess what the first stop is for a comedy faced with an immigration quandary: marriage fraud. Straight-guy Jonah offers to marry Mateo to secure his status in the US. But Mateo isn't interested.

Cheyenne and Jonah search online for answers. And Cheyenne has it:

Cheyenne: "Or you could just get beat up. A person may be eligible for a special U1 visa if they are victim of a violent crime such as an assault."

Jonah: "That's crazy. I can't believe that's real."

Mateo: "So I would just need to get punched."

Cheyenne: "No it seems like you have to get your ass beat pretty bad."

The friends then try to arrange a fight, unsuccessfully. And Mateo ultimately breaks up with his boyfriend rather than admit his undocumented status.

Here's the thing, the U visa does offer a legalization path for victims of violent crime - albeit only those who work with prosecutors to convict their assailants (something I doubt Mateo was going to do). But those eligible for U visas may have to wait years to get one. We're talking about people who have been significantly harmed while present in the US. And whose work inures great benefit to the public at large by ensuring criminal wrong-doers are identified and prosecuted.

Many things are funny. In the same episode - the give and take between the store manager and an online troll - that was funny.

U visas, however, are no laughing matter.


March 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

RIP Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Immigration Woes of Nick & Vanessa

Wait - you don't know who Nick and Vanessa are? They're the latest engaged couple manufactured by ABC's prime time reality show The Bachelor. Look how happy they are:


But that's their happiness before contending with the US immigration system. Because, again, I mean, you already know but just to refresh your recollection, while Nick is a US citizen, Vanessa is a Canadian citizen.

Anna Silman over at The Cut breaks down the immigration options for Vanessa. I'm sure all you immprofs are thinking - obviously, an engaged person is going to pick a K1. Not so fast! Do you know how many Bachelor couples have actually gone through with it to tie the knot? Rise has the deets. Only 2 of 20 Bachelor couples are still together, and only 1 of those is married. Vanessa is likely going to need a different visa route.


March 15, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Congress Generates Firestorm of Controversy with Tweet: "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."


Photo courtesy of Elite Daily

CNN reports that Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a strong advocate of immigration enforcement and self-professed advocate for Western civilization, doubled down yesterday on comments he made over the weekend in which he appeared to criticize foreigners and immigrants, drawing complaints of insensitivity on social media and from some of his Capitol Hill colleagues including from within his own party.

King tweeted Sunday, "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."
Asked by CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" to clarify his comments, King said he "meant exactly what I said."  Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) told CNN that King is the leader of "Make America White."  When asked about Rep. King's comments about breeding outside "western civilization," Menendez said the remark was despicable.
Congressman King is no stranger to controversy.  In 2013, King made the now notorious claim that for every child of undocumented immigrants “who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”  House Speaker John Boehner reprimanded Mr. King, calling his comments “deeply offensive and wrong.”


March 14, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

New Season of Television Show "American Crime": Immigration and Human Trafficking the Focus


The new season ABC television show American Crime -- created by Academy Award winner John Ridley -- premieres tonight and will cover topics of interest to ImmigrationProf blog readers.   Here is the official summary of this season:

"When a father, Luis Salazar, travels illegally from Mexico into the United States to search for his missing son, he discovers that modern servitude is thriving in the farmlands and agricultural communities. Promised a job and a place to live, these laborers find themselves forced to live in abject poverty. Required to pay for their own food and other essentials, what little money they make is paid back to their employers, and because they will forever be in debt, they can never leave."

American Crime's characters are racially diverse and the series also embraces diversity of class, of geography, of perspective. The third season of the anthological miniseries attempts to show every single level of economic comfort — or lack thereof — in and around a small North Carolina farming community. From migrant workers to big wheels in agribusiness, the season covers them all.

For analysis of the show's new season on VOX, click here.  The Los Angeles Times also takes a look at the new season.


March 12, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Conan Without Borders: Made in Mexico

Thursday, March 2, 2017

'We film- therefore we are' : The Participatory Video Initiative


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has a new project designed to empower migrant communities.

Over the last decade, IOM and partner organizations have had many challenges providing assistance to these isolated, vulnerable populations. Cultural differences and language barriers, as well as a lack of resources and basic infrastructure, make it difficult for these communities to find sustainable solutions.

It turns out that asking the youth for their own ideas on how to address different issues is key to finding appropriate ways to meet the basic needs of this community.  In that way they become comfortable and ready to participate in the proposed solutions.

But communication with marginalized communities is challenging and the potential for misunderstandings is considerable. In Leda, moreover, where a local dialect is predominant and no formal education system exists, the majority of the population, particularly youth, do not have a voice in how to respond to short and long term needs.  To address these challenges, IOM launched its Participatory Video initiative.
Our makeshift studio in Leda is a large unfurnished room of a new clinic, yet to be inaugurated. We conduct the first Participatory Video workshop with a group of young volunteers from the community. The workshop focused on giving these youth the tools to express their views by creating their own short videos. The idea behind this concept is that making a video is easy and can be an effective way of bringing people together to discuss issues, voice concerns or simply tell their stories.

The Participatory Video process includes:
• Workshop participants receive guidance on how to use video equipment through games and exercises.
• Facilitators help the group identify important issues in their community and then select one topic to focus on.
• Participants direct and film short videos and messages on the chosen topic.
• Completed videos are shared with the community and wider audiences to disseminate the group's messages.

With the assistance of local IOM staff, we began the workshop with short games and exercises, guiding the participants on how to use basic video and audio equipment, and discussing important issues in their community. Once comfortable, the youth agreed on creating a video message on the need for education and schools in their settlement.

Over the course of the workshop, the discourse began shifting from emotional anecdotes to assertive statements and solution proposals. It was a reflection of how empowering the participatory video process had been, enabling the group to take their own action to find a solution to their own problems, and to communicate their needs and ideas to an audience including influencers and decision-makers far beyond the reaches of their makeshift settlement in rural Bangladesh.



March 2, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Mexican Actor States Opposition to Trump's "Wall" during Oscars


Making worldwide news, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal was responsible for one of the most directly political moments during the 2017 Oscars ceremony, when he challenged President Donald Trump's planned border wall between the United States and Mexico.


Self reports on other political statements at the Oscars.  One more subtle message was by film director Ava DuVernayAs she put it on Twitter,

"A small sign of solidarity. I chose to wear a gown by a designer from a majority Muslim country. Thanks to @AshiStudio of Lebanon. ."



February 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Who Was Not at the Academy Awards? Iranian director Asghar Farhadi


As previously reported on ImmigrationProf, two refugee documentaries have been nominated for Academy Awards.  The Conversation reveals a prominent foreign absentee from this year’s Oscars ceremonies.  Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” is one of five films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. But last month, after President Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries, including Iran, Farhadi decided to boycott the Academy Awards ceremony.

“To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity,” he wrote.


UPDATE (Feb. 28):  The Salesman won the Oscar. 


A statement read on behalf of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who was absent from Academy Awards, challenged President Trump’s “inhumane” travel ban.


February 26, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2017

At the Movies: Refugee Documentaries Nominated for Oscars


Two documentaries on the plight of refugees off the Italian coast and the Greek coast, respectively, have received Oscar nominations this year.

Fire at Sea by Gianfranco Rossi has been selected in the Documentary category and 4.1 Miles by Daphne Matziaraki has been nominated in the Short Documentary category.


In Fire at Sea, the Italian Coast Guard is constantly searching the open sea for makeshift boats overflowing with hundreds of souls, most of them women and children.

Rossi's documentary captures the drama. In one instance, one member of the Coast Guard receives a desperate call from a woman who is pleading for help. Time is of the essence; if the Coast Guard does not get to them immediately, they will drown.

Rossi's documentary shows the migrant drama unfolding next to the quiet lives of unassuming islanders.


The refugee crisis is also at the center of Matziaraki's 4.1 Miles. The film chronicles around-the-clock rescue missions off the Greek island of Lesbos. Kyriakos, a member of the Greek Coast Guard and the main character in the story, says that he and his team are called to rescue 200 people per hour.


February 20, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sunday: Broadway Musical Allegiance on Screens Nationwide (Again)

Tomorrow, the Broadway musical Allegiance (about Japanese interment) will be aired in movie theaters around the country. Tickets are for sale online and at theaters.


Happy theatering!


February 18, 2017 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)