Thursday, December 11, 2014
A documentary film "14: Dred Scott, Wong Kim Ark & Vanessa Lopez" is finished and available for Educational Use and Public Performance Licensing. The 67-minute documentary is an excellent resource for Constitutional Law courses.
The film explores the recurring question about who has the right to be a U.S. citizen. It examines the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment through compelling personal stories and expertly-told history. The 14th Amendment provides that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
The film tells the history of the 14th Amendment through the lives of three ordinary and extraordinary American families who changed history by their courageous challenges to the powerful status quo. Descendants of Dred and Harriet Scott and those of Wong Kim Ark tell the stories of how their ancestors fought all the way to the Supreme Court and changed American history. Rosario Lopez and her daughter Vanessa are both activists in the immigrant rights youth movement. Born in the United States and a citizen under the 14th Amendment, Vanessa wants to be “either an artist, a photographer, a lawyer, or a marine biologist” and President of the United States. It is the citizenship of millions of children like Vanessa Lopez, born in the United States to undocumented parents, that is at stake now.
In United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), the U.S. Supreme Court held, generally speaking, that a person -- even the child of undocumented immigrants -- born in the United States is a U.S. citizen under the 14th Amendment. This decision established an important precedent in its interpretation of the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
U.K. immigraiton barrister Colin Yeo has written a terrific review of the Paddington movie. Colin writes: "Paddington is a walking, talking, ursine pin-up for humanising our work." "Paddington’s story is that of the modern migrant. He is in many ways typical of my clients. This is more than a mere subtext to the film and it is, I hope, instructive to consider his tale from a legal perspective." And so he does.
This is one kid's movie I can't wait to see with my boys.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
In this op/ed, Professor Michael Olivas criticizes Republicans in the House of Represntatives for the strong negative public reactions to President Obama's latest immigration initiatives. In so doing, he kicks things off with a wonderful film analogy:
"In `Casablanca,' the greatest immigration movie ever made, the police round up the `usual suspects.' We see Rick meet Ilsa in one of the great `gin joints in all the world,' and Inspector Renault is `shocked … shocked!' at the gambling going on, as he is handed his winnings. Who knew this improbable 1942 wartime movie classic was to be reprised by today's elected officials?"
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) is a national nonprofit "working to end the isolation and abuse of men, women, and children in U.S. immigration detention through visitation, independent monitoring, storytelling, and advocacy."
The group recently posted the following video to youtube. It tells the story of Carolina, a 16-year-old girl in U.S. immigration detention.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
“The Stranger” is a 40-minute documentary film commissioned by the Evangelical Immigration Table and produced by Emmy-award winning producer Linda Midgett. The Stranger profiles three immigrant stories and includes interviews with local and national Christian leaders. By highlighting biblical teaching related to immigrants, sharing compelling stories of immigrants who are also evangelical Christians, and addressing some common economic and political misconceptions, The Stranger seeks to mobilize evangelical Christians to respond to immigrants and to immigration policy in ways that are consistent with biblical principles.
A recent Immigrant of the Day, film director Mike Nichols (Germany), has passed away. Nichols began his career as an actor in a comedy troupe before making his Tony Award-winning directorial debut with the 1964 Broadway production Barefoot in the Park. Expanding into film, he directed Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and then The Graduate, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director, in 1967. He is one of only a handful of individuals who have received Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Grammy awards.
Facebook Quote of the Day: "I will accept anti-immigration comments on this page only from people whose ancestors were born here."
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
During an interview on CNN, actress Diane Guerrero broke down in tears as she recalled that she was only 14 when her parents were deported. In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times that was published over the weekend, the “Orange Is the New Black” actress used her own story to highlight the need for immigration reform.
Guerrero told CNN host Michaela Pereira that she came home from performing arts school one day at the age of 14, and could not find her parents. “I got home, and their cars were there and dinner was started and the lights were on, but I couldn’t find them,” she said, choking up. “It was really hard.”
Guerrero said that, although she is a U.S. citizen, no one from the government ever spoke to her or checked on her welfare after her parents were detained, and eventually deported to Colombia.
Click here for more on this story.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Friday, November 21st, 2014, 7 PM to 8:30 PM at the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) 600 River Street, Austin, TX 78701
The Texas-made film follows our government's response to refugees and migrants in the creation and expansion of new private prisons for these families in remote and isolated areas of the Southwest. Reversing the progress of the immigrant rights movement and his own previous decisions, President Obama has surpassed the Bush administration in expanding the use of detention centers for refugee families. This history is portrayed and told by the people who live it and shines light on the growing grassroots movement fighting to close these family prisons and welcoming our neighbors with compassion.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker, participants in the film and organizers working on solutions and with information on how to get involved.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Famed film director Milos Forman was orphaned at the age of nine when his parents were killed in Nazi concentration camps. Introduced to the theater by his older brother, he studied at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Prague and began working in theater productions. He later began to work in film, both as a writer and director, while struggling against the repressive Communist government. In 1969, he made his first American film, Taking Off, which was a critical success, but it wasn’t until 1975 that he achieved real fame with his adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director—a feat he topped, in 1985, with the film Amadeus, which won eight Oscars. His more recent films include The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon, and Goya’s Ghosts. He is also a professor at Columbia University and director of its film division.
Friday, October 31, 2014
After spending a year homeless in Paris, actor Djimon Hounsou was noticed by a stranger and fell into the world of fashion as a model. Starting in 1990, he played a few roles in television and film, but it was in 1997 that he came to international attention and was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as Cinque in Spielberg’s Amistad, a film based the true story of a mutiny aboard a slave ship of prisoners from Mende. Since then, Hounsou has appeared in other major films and was nominated twice for an Oscar for his roles in In America and Blood Diamond.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
Dan Patrick is running for Liutenant Governor of Texas. And he wants you to know that "ISIS terrorists threaten to cross our border and kill Americans." The only thing standing in their way? "The Texas Rangers and National Guard." Which is why, if elected Lt. Governor, Patrick will make "border security" his "top priority."
Patrick's opponent is Leticia Van de Putte.
Born in Berlin in 1931, the renowned film and theater director Mike Nichols began his career as an actor in a comedy troupe before making his Tony Award-winning directorial debut with the 1964 Broadway production Barefoot in the Park. Expanding into film, he directed Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and then The Graduate, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director, in 1967. He is one of only a handful of individuals who have received Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Grammy awards.
We recently learned of the loss of Elizabeth Peña, a Cuban-American actress who appeared in such major studio pictures as “Rush Hour” and La Bamba, independent films including John Sayles’ generational drama “Lone Star,” and a host of television shows (most recently Modern Family), died Tuesday at 55 in Los Angeles.
As Pilar Cruz, a history teacher who rekindles a romance with a small-town Texas sheriff near the border with Mexico in “Lone Star” (1996), she won an Independent Spirit Award for best supporting actress. “The sultry Peña gives an especially vivid performance as the character who is most unsettled by the shadows of the past,” Janet Maslin wrote.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Here is a plot summary. In law school (SMU Dedman School of Law), Cristela, whose family immigrated from Mexico, is on the brink of landing her first big (unpaid) internship at a prestigious law firm. Her pursuit of success is more ambitious than her traditional Mexican-American family thinks is appropriate. She straddles the old culture she's trying to modernize at home with her working-class family and the modern world she's trying to embrace in her professional career. Breakout comedian Cristela Alonzo stars in this comedy about the path to the new American dream.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
This week's New Yorker has a fascinating new article entitled The Kitchen Network: America's underground Chinese restaurant workers. (Thanks owed once again to immprof Michael Olivas for pointing out this great piece.)
The article follows the life of "Rain." Rain's journey to the United States started in a rural Chinese village and took him through Fuzhou, Beijing, France, and Mexico, across the Rio Grande, and into the United States.
Rain's work in the United States, currently as a chef for Chinese restaurants, has taken him to locations up and down the East Coast. He has gone from restaurant to restaurant - working to pay off the snakehead who got him to the United States, paying off the lawyer (since arrested) who processed his asylum application, and sending money back to his mother in China.
If you find the New Yorker article interesting, allow me to recommend the movie Take Out. As the fimmakers describe it:
Take Out is a day-in-the-life of Ming Ding (Charles Jang), an illegal Chinese immigrant working as a deliveryman for a Chinese take-out shop in New York City. Ming is behind with payments on his huge debt to the smugglers who brought him to the United States. The collectors have given him until the end of the day to deliver the money that is due. After borrowing most of the money from friends and relatives, Ming realizes that the remainder must come from the day's delivery tips. In order to do so, he must make more than double his average daily income.
In a social-realist style, the camera follows Ming on his deliveries throughout the upper Manhattan neighborhood where social and economic extremes exist side by side. Intercutting between Ming's deliveries and the daily routine of the restaurant, Take Out presents a harshly real look at the daily lives of illegal Chinese immigrants in New York City.
Born in Scotland, Alan Cumming is an actor who has appeared in numerous films, television shows and plays. His London stage appearances include Hamlet, the Maniac in Accidental Death of an Anarchist (for which he received an Olivier Award), the lead in Bent, and the National Theatre of Scotland's The Bacchae. On Broadway, he has appeared in The Threepenny Opera, the master of ceremonies in Cabaret (for which he won a Tony Award), and Design for Living. His best-known film roles include his performances in Goldeneye, Spy Kids, and X2. Cumming also introduces Masterpiece Mystery! for PBS.
Cumming currently plays Eli Gold on the CBS television show The Good Wife. For that role, he has been nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Satellite Award for his performance.
Cuming recently published a book Not My Father's Son, a memoir about his complicated relationship with his father and the family secrets that deeply affected him.
While retaining his British citizenship, Cumming became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2008.
Michael Schulman of the New York Times has a nice profile of Cumming last week.
Hat tip to Kit Johnson for the suggestion of Alan Cumming as Immigrant of the Day.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Rachel Weisz is an actress. Weisz began her acting career at Trinity Hall, Cambridge in the early 1990s, then started working in television. She made her film debut in the film Death Machine (1994), but her breakthrough role came in the film Chain Reaction (1996), leading to a high-profile role in the films The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001). Other notable films featuring Weisz are Enemy at the Gates, About a Boy, Constantine and The Fountain. For her supporting role in The Constant Gardener, she received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors' Guild award. Weisz recently played Evanora in Oz the Great and Powerful. Weisz also works in theatre. Her stage breakthrough was the 1994 revival of Noël Coward's play Design for Living, which earned her the London Critics Circle Award for the most promising newcomer. Weisz's performances also include the 1999 Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly, Last Summer, and their 2009 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in the latter play earned her the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress.
Weisz is a naturalized U.S. citizen.