Monday, March 27, 2017
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.
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.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
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.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Congress Generates Firestorm of Controversy with Tweet: "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."
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.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
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.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Thursday, March 2, 2017
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.
Monday, February 27, 2017
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.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
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.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Two documentaries on the plight of refugees off the Italian coast and the Greek coast, respectively, have received Oscar nominations this year.
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.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Friday, February 17, 2017
About ten years ago, we told you about a new documentary film called Out of Status. It's just been released on youtube.
The film highlights how, post 9/11, Muslim immigrants were profiled, held, subjected to abusive treatment, and deported. Keep an eye out for immprofs Mike Wishnie and Nancy Morawetz who both appear in the film.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Born in South Africa, Trevor Noah is a comedian, writer, producer, actor, media critic, and television host. He was named to replace Jon Stewart as the host of the The Daily Show, the television talk show on Comedy Central.
In 2016, Noah published an autobiography, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. An engaging and interesting book, Noah writes of his humble beginnings in apartheid South Africa, his family's hard scrabble existence there, and ends with the shocking domestic violence suffered by his mother -- she was shot by Noah's step-father. Here is an abstract:
"Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love."
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
84 Lumber Joins Budweiser in Making Immigration a Super Bowl Sunday Story: “The will to succeed is always welcome here.”
84 Lumber's Super Bowl ad centers on a mother and daughter traveling through Mexico. This is the full ad, which includes the portion Fox deemed too controversial to air during the Super Bowl. 84 Lumber's Super Bowl ad centers on a mother and daughter traveling through Mexico. This is the full ad, which includes the portion that the Fox network deemed too controversial to air during the Super Bowl. (84 Lumber)
Thomas Heath in the Washington Post explains how building supplies company 84 Lumber sparked controversy with its Super Bowl ad featuring a Mexican mother and daughter embarking on a difficult journey north. It ends with the written words: “The will to succeed is always welcome here.” The Super Bowl ad asked viewers to visit the 84 Lumber website if they wanted to find out how the journey ended. The website version included a five-minute “director’s cut” version that concludes with the pair entering the United States through a door in the border wall, which looks more ominous and foreboding than beautiful. I found the ending to be powerful and moving. 84 Lumber’s site was overwhelmed by the traffic.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
As this story makes clear, these are tense times. “You don’t belong in this country, you f—ing joke.” These words in an Instagram post were a catalyst for hundreds of people from all 50 states and 44 countries to give more than $800,000 to International Rescue Committee (IRC), an organization that helps Syrian refugees. They were directed at, and later shared by, Kal Penn was “Kumar” from the “Harold and Kumar” film series. Penn posted a screenshot of the Instagram post to help raise money and raise money he did.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Three undocumented teenagers, a Dominican girl, an African boy and a Peruvian girl, are about to graduate high school in the Bronx, while working with a teacher and a lawyer to try to get their papers to stay in the USA. Forced to grow up prematurely and navigate problems most adults don’t even have to face, they’re really just American teenagers who want to be with their friends, fall in love, and push back against authority.
The story deals with characters living through a problem facing people all over the United States. I wanted the film to feel like you were looking through a window at real teenagers, at a real school, dealing with their real family and friends. It was important to me that the audience see these kids and recognize their son, their daughter, their sister, their next door neighbor; I didn’t want them to see undocumented immigrants, I wanted them to see teenagers.
This is specifically about undocumented characters who came to the US when they were very young; people who know this country much better than the one in which they happened to be born; people who consider themselves ‘American’. To these teenagers, the US is the only place they’ve ever known as ‘home’.
The film catches them right at the crucial moment, between childhood and adulthood, when they are finding their voices and discovering what kind of people they are going to be.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Monday, January 23, 2017
"Wallah Je te jure” is a documentary filmed in 2016 in Niger, directed by Marcello Merletto and produced by the International Organization for Migration. It tells the stories of men and women travelling along West African migration routes to Italy. Senegal's rural villages, Niger's bus stations and "ghettos" full of traffickers, Italian squares and houses are the backdrops of these courageous trips, which often end in tragedy. No matter the cost, the goal to reach Europe will be achieved, "Wallah." But there are those who, tired from the journey, turn back home.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Yesterday was a the day of the Women's March -- actually marches -- in cities across the United States. Sophie Cruz, a 6-year-old immigration activist and daughter of two undocumented immigrants, spoke at the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday and won over the crowd with her inspiring message. After delivering her speech in English, she repeated it in Spanish and led the crowd in a chant of “Si, se puede,” or “Yes, we can.” Social media exploded with support for Cruz, who initially attracted attention when she slipped through security barricades to reach Pope Francis during a procession when he visited the U.S. in 2015. She handed the pope a letter about immigration reform, in which she expressed her fear that her parents would be deported.
“We are here together making a chain of love to protect our families,” Cruz said during her Saturday remarks. “Let us fight with love, faith and courage so that our families will not be destroyed.
“I also want to tell the children not to be afraid, because we are not alone,” Cruz continued. “There are still many people that have their hearts filled with love.”