Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Dancing to Connect: Battery Dance Helps Vulnerable Youth

Study after study has shown that arts education nurtures students’ creativity and problem-solving skills, competencies that are critical for success in a 21st Century world, but how does dance and movement heal and transform at-risk youth? New York’s Battery Dance launched its Dancing to Connect programs in 2006.
Since that time, the program has spread to 6 continents, 50 countries, 100 cities, and 1,000 schools. A powerful new documentary (Moving Stories) by Wilderness Films follows six dancers from the dance company from India to Eastern Europe to the Korean Peninsula to the Middle East as they support vulnerable youth helping them to express themselves through movement. The film focuses on the struggles, frustrations, resilience and ultimate transformation of the students and their dance teachers.
Here is an Article with more details.


May 23, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Immigration and the Fashion Industry: Alterations to an Outdated Immigration System


Today, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) are releasing an updated report about the impact of immigration policy on the country’s fashion industry and its role creating American jobs. The report found that the industry, which generates more than $250 billion in annual revenue and employs nearly two million people, relies on the skills of immigrants from around the world.

One year ago the CFDA and released the joint report Designing an Immigration System That Works, which served as a call to action for immigration reform and featured details on the way in which the system impacts the American fashion industry To anniversary the inaugural study, we partnered with to  update the study.

The 2018 edition, Alterations to an Outdated Immigration System, with support from the Nashville Fashion Alliance (NFA) and Saint Louis Fashion Fund (SLFF), sheds light on the regional ecosystems impacted by the current restrictive immigration policy across cities including Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, St. Louis, and San Diego. Business owners, designers, students, academic institutions, and more across the country echo similar challenges and obstacles they face in keeping skilled labor working in the U.S .while being mindful of the time and costs needed to accomplish this. The two most crucial takeaways highlighted continue to be:

  • Recruitment and retention of top talent
  • Making the process to obtain or maintain legal access to work in the U.S. more efficient and affordable, and less cumbersome and costly.

The fashion industry widely supports improvements to the existing immigration policies to allow aspiring Americans to continue to nourish the American economy and communities. Ways forward gleaned from the research underscore the need for providing a pathway for Dreamers, improving access to top foreign talent, and expanding education and resources on navigating our complicated system.

CFDA President & CEO Steven Kolb noted, “International talent has played a critical role in defining and sustaining the U.S.’ fashion industry, which is a significant economic engine for our country.  We look forward to continuing to advocate for commonsense policies that will grow our industry and enable us to create an even greater number of American jobs.”

Read the complete report here.


May 14, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Looking to enter the U.S.? First, answer a few questions...

This bit is from Foil Arms and Hog, an Irish sketch comedy group.

Nicely played, gentlemen. Nicely played.


May 8, 2018 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 27, 2018

At the Movies: Resistance at Tule Lake, Film about Japanese American Incarceration & Defiance, Set for National Broadcast Premiere on WORLD Channel May 6th


Resistance at Tule Lake, Film about Japanese American Incarceration & Defiance, Set for National Broadcast Premiere on WORLD Channel May 6th 

“… a potent piece of history at a time when the United States is once again feeling less than hospitable.” - Mike Hale, The New York Times

Over 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in ten camps from 1942-1946, a dark chapter of American history that has taken on renewed relevance in the current political climate. Resistance at Tule Lake tells the long-suppressed story of 12,000 who defied the government by refusing to swear unconditional loyalty to the U.S. Though this was an act of protest and family survival, they were branded as “disloyals” by the government and packed into the newly designated Tule Lake Segregation Center. The film, directed by Japanese American filmmaker Konrad Aderer, is having its national broadcast premiere on the WORLD channel as part of May’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month programming.

For over seven decades, the story of Tule Lake has remained hidden from the public narrative and school history books, and a taboo subject within the Japanese American community, due to widely shared feelings of shame and family trauma. The dominant narrative of World War II internment has been that the incarcerees behaved as a “model minority,” cooperating without protest and proving their patriotism by enlisting in the Army. Resistance at Tule Lake overturns that myth by telling the story of the overcrowded, highly militarized concentration camp where the U.S. government corralled “troublemakers” who dared to protest their confinement.

Tule Lake Segregation Center, located in northern California, just two miles from the Oregon border, became a virtual pressure cooker where the simmering conflicts between the Caucasian administration and the Japanese American incarcerees exploded into organized resistance and violent suppression. Faced with the uncertainty of the war and the rampant anti-Japanese climate that awaited them outside of camp, more than 5,000 renounced their “worthless” U.S. citizenship. Brought to visceral life with emotionally wrenching interviews, never-before-seen archival images, and stunning color footage taken inside the camp, the story of Tule Lake unravels racially codified standards of “loyalty” and illuminates today’s most urgent discussions of nationality and citizenship.

Resistance at Tule Lake’s national broadcast premiere is on Sunday, May 6 on the WORLD channel at 7pm EST/4pm PST. The feature-length documentary premiered last year at CAAMFest and continues to screen at festivals, schools and community organizations throughout the country, selling out tickets at a majority of their showings. Many audience members have come forward sharing their own long-hidden experiences of wartime incarceration, including family relatives of some of the people referred to in the film. 

The film has also sparked intense reactions on how these stories are relevant today under the current U.S. treatment of immigrant families as well as Muslim communities. College screenings have prompted powerful sharing from out-of-status students. Director Konrad Aderer says, “There has been a real sense of being encouraged to engage more with what’s happening today… The DREAMer movement is how the most vulnerable are putting themselves on the line on principle and for survival, as Tule Lake resisters did then.”

Visit WORLD online to check your local listings, or the Resistance at Tule Lake website  for upcoming feature-length screening schedules, updates and more.

WORLD will celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month every day during the month of May with a special PBS collection of stories that explores the history, traditions and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States, in conjunction with a social media campaign for people to share their own stories online using hashtag #MyAPALife.


April 27, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 20, 2018

At the Movies: A Season in France / Une saison en France (2018)



A Season in France Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun France, 2017, 100 minutes, French

Focusing on the precarious plight of undocumented asylum seekers, Haroun’s soul-searching film portrays the daunting challenges of overcoming a vast immigration system. Abbas (Eriq Ebouaney), professor and loving father of two, lives in the outskirts of Paris after fleeing the civil war raging in the Central African Republic. Widowed when his wife died in their escape, he falls in love with Carole (Sandrine Bonnaire), who sustains him as he battles a war of another kind. After two years of waiting while waiting to find out, the fate of his family’s future is about to be known. Masterfully contrasting the warm intimacy of human relationships with those of an impersonal bureaucracy, Haroun tells an all all-too universal story.

Click here for reviews.


April 20, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 13, 2018

DACA Features Prominently in Grey's Anatomy Episode


Immigration continues to pop up in pop culture.  On the television show Grey's Anatomy "Beautiful Dreamer" (Season 14 Episode 19), ICE is looking for a DACA recipient at the hospital. Here is the summary:

An agent from ICE shows up at Grey Sloan in search of an employee who may be working in the U.S. under DACA. Alex’s patient Kimmie wants to leave the hospital to enjoy her final days, but Alex feels differently. Meanwhile, Arizona treats Matthew Taylor’s baby and April wants to do whatever she can to help, on “Grey’s Anatomy,” Thursday, April 12th on ABC, streaming and on demand.

For a recap of the episode, click here.

Thanks to Immigration Professor Rose Villazor for the tip!


April 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Teaching Asylum: Well-Founded Fear

As I've mentioned before, I like to use the documentary Well-Founded Fear when teaching asylum. I play a series of clips from the film, give students a copy of the USCIS Fraud Referral Sheet, and ask them to evaluate the merits of the applicants, taking into account the factors stated in the sheet. We discuss how their impressions of these migrants changed over time, what changed, and why. We talk about the role of lawyers in preparing clients and cases for the USCIS.

I'm thrilled to report that the entire documentary is now available online:


April 11, 2018 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Game of Life: DACA Edition - Saturday Night LIve

Monday, April 2, 2018

At the Movies: Immigrant Stories: Doctors and Nurses • BRAVE NEW FILMS


In the new short documentary, Immigrant Stories: Doctors and NursesBrave New Films expose how inhumane immigration policies are forcing people to choose between medical care or deportation.

Doctors and nurses report on the heightened levels of anxiety and stress their undocumented immigrant patients are experiencing, resulting in health complications, missed appointments at clinics and hospitals, failure to pick up life-saving medications, and even patients yanking out their ventilation tubes and fleeing the ICU out of fear of deportation.

The video ends urging Congress to pass Protecting Sensitive Locations Act (H.R.1815/S.845) would strengthen and codify the current guidelines, expand the list of sensitive locations to include courthouses, bus stops, and other organizations that serve vulnerable populations, and would prohibit enforcement activity within 1,000 feet of any sensitive location.



April 2, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration Courts: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Monday, March 26, 2018

At the Movies: Dolores


Dolores - Young Dolores Huerta Takes on Sacramento - Clip (coming up on PBS next week)

Meet the indomitable Dolores Huerta, who tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Cesar Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant – and unheralded – feminist activists of the 20th century. Premiering Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Check local listings.


March 26, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

At the Movies: The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo


The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo

This PBS production is a fresh and genre-defying film about the life of radical Chicano lawyer, author and countercultural icon Oscar Zeta Acosta — the basis for the character Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, written by legendary journalist-provocateur Hunter S. Thompson.

Click here for a quick summary from People.


March 25, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 5, 2018

Guillermo Del Toro at Academy Awards: "I am an immigrant"

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Want to Show the Documentary "The Chinese Exclusion Act"? An Offer

Many of you have seen the previously posted trailer for the upcoming documentary about the Chinese Exclusion Act, which premieres on PBS on May 29.  For those who might have missed it, here it is:

 Filmmakers Ric Burns and LiShin Yu, along with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) would like to offer you a cost-free opportunity to use the film to facilitate conversations about important immigration topics. The hope is to increase understanding of the history of U.S. immigration laws, how we got to where we are today and also the immigrant experience itself.  Several campuses have already used an excerpt to encourage thoughtful discussion around the question, “Who is American?”

Ric and LiShin tailored a 38-minute excerpt specifically for these discussion purposes.  Ideally, a screening of the excerpt would be followed by a faculty-led discussion and Q & A.  The excerpt could also be used in class. The 38-minute excerpt, in DVD format, is available to you on request, at this link. Find the "Community/Educational Outreach" tab and scroll down to a form.  In the “Notes” section of the request form, write that you were referred by the Immigration Prof Blog. Please allow 3 weeks for delivery. 

There is also a Resource Kit with announcement template, sample agenda, suggested discussion points, etc. This kit is intended for those generally unfamiliar with the history and the immigration law, but you are welcome to it, also free-of-charge. Use the same request form.

This outreach effort is possible thanks to a crowdfunding effort and a series of grants.

 For further information, contact Cecilia Tso Warner at


February 22, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 12, 2018

New on HBO: Here and Now


Here and Now on HBO

From Oscar and Emmy winner Alan Ball (HBO’s Six Feet Under, True Blood), and starring Oscar and Golden Globe winner Tim Robbins and Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Holly Hunter, the show is a provocative and darkly comic meditation on the disparate forces polarizing present-day American culture, as experienced by the members of a progressive multi-ethnic family — a philosophy professor and his wife, their adopted children from Vietnam, Liberia and Colombia and their sole biological child — and a contemporary Muslim family, headed by a psychiatrist who is treating one of their children.

Jerrika Hinton, Daniel Zovatto, Raymond Lee, Sosie Bacon, Andy Bean, Joe Williamson and Peter Macdissi also star. Here and Now is executive produced by Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi and David Knoller.

Click here for more on Here and Now.


February 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

From the Bookshelves: Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era by Jorge Ramos

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Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era by Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos, an Emmy award-winning journalist, Univision’s longtime anchorman and widely considered the “voice of the voiceless” within the Latino community, was forcefully removed from an Iowa press conference in 2015 by then-candidate Donald Trump after trying to ask about his plans on immigration.

In this personal manifesto, Ramos sets out to examine what it means to be a Latino immigrant, or just an immigrant, in present-day America. Using current research and statistics, with a journalist’s nose for a story, and interweaving his own personal experience, Ramos shows us the changing face of America while also trying to find an explanation for why he, and millions of others, still feel like strangers in this country.


February 11, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

More Immigration Stories Coming on Television


On the Jan. 9, 2018, episode of Freeform's "The Fosters," ICE agents arrive to arrest Ximena Sinfuego (Lisseth Chavez), who is seeking sanctuary in a church. In this behind-the-scenes photo, ICE agents speak with Stef Adams Foster (Teri Polo).Ron Tom / Freeform

We may be seeing more immigration stories on our television screens.  ABC News reportss that, with nearly half a dozen projects this pilot season that are centered on immigrant stories, writers' rooms are bringing personal stories to politics at a time when immigration reform continues to polarize Washington. 

There are two reboots on the table (sci-fi drama “Roswell,” whose new lead character is the daughter of undocumented immigrants, received a pilot order at The CW on Tuesday) along with a handful of adaptations, including “In the Country We Love,” based on actress Diane Guerrero’s memoir of the same time. The drama, which is currently being developed at Fox, will draw from Guerrero’s experiences.

A media guide compiled last year by Define American, a nonprofit whose work aims to inform conversations about immigration in the U.S., noted many Americans rely on television and film to shape their understanding of the world. But the majority of immigrant characters and stories told on television between 2014 and 2016 involved criminal activity, according to research from The Opportunity Agenda — particularly those involving Latino, black, or Middle Eastern immigrants.



February 1, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

At the Movies: Human Flow - Coming Soon To Prime [HD] | Amazon Studios (2:28)


Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II.  Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. 

Captured over the course of an eventful year in 23 countries, the film follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey.  Human Flow is a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice: from teeming refugee camps to perilous ocean crossings to barbed-wire borders; from dislocation and disillusionment to courage, endurance and adaptation; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future. Human Flow comes at a crucial time when tolerance, compassion and trust are needed more than ever.  This visceral work of cinema is a testament to the unassailable human spirit and poses one of the questions that will define this century: Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation, and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom, and respect for humanity?  

Amazon Studios and Participant Media present, in association with AC Films, Human Flow, a film directed by Ai Weiwei.  Human Flow is produced by Ai Weiwei, Chin-Chin Yap and Heino Deckert and executive produced by Andrew Cohen of AC Films with Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann of Participant Media.

 140 Minutes

 Press Kit


January 16, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Back to the Future: Falling Down, The Movie (1993)


The 1993 Movie Falling Down stars Michael Douglas.  An unemployed defense worker frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society, begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them.  The film stars Michael Douglas in the lead role of William Foster, a divorced and unemployed former defense engineer. The film centers on Foster as he treks on foot across the city of Los Angeles, trying to reach the house of his estranged ex-wife in time for his daughter's birthday party. Along the way, a series of encounters, both trivial and provocative, cause him to react with increasing violence and make sardonic observations on life, poverty, the economy, and commercialism.

As President Trump talks about different groups of people, I am often reminded of the film.


January 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Sign of the Times -- News Headline: "Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘s-------’ countries

reports for the Washington Post that President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers this week in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.
“Why are we having all these people from s------- countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.
Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt they help the United States economically.
In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.” 
Needless to say, President Trump's reported comments have provoked controversy


The remarks also provided fodder for late night television.


January 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)