Thursday, April 24, 2014
A previous Immigrant of the Day, Lupita Nyong'o was honored with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a slave in The "12 Years a Slave." Further demonstrating that Nyong'o has truly made it, People magazine has bestowed one of its highest honors as "Most Beautiful Person for 2014." As CNN put it, "The Mexican-born Kenyan beauty joins a cast of Hollywood A-listers who have headed the list, including Julia Roberts, Cindy Crawford, Tom Cruise and Beyonce."
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
This parody is brought to you by the fine people at Reason TV. But don't you wish law enforcement stops really went down like this one? "
Here is a handy infographic listing all the rights you have when law enforcement officers stop you.
Monday, March 31, 2014
The Grand Budapest Hotel chronicles the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. There is an immigration angle, with Lobby Boy Zero a refugee and vulnerable to the Nazis becaus eof his uncertain immigration status.
For reviews, click here.
Friday, March 28, 2014
As Dean Kevin Johnson blogged earlier, today is Cesar Chavez day in California. It is wonderful that students in California (and other states) learn about the advocacy work that Cesar Chavez did to help create better working conditions for farm workers and other immigrant workers.
To me, this day is also a call to remember the other unsung heroes of the farm labor movement. There were other advocates who worked alongside Cesar Chavez. Some of them were Filipino farmer workers known as "Delano Manongs." One of these manongs was Larry Itliong, who was a labor organizer who led a group of 1,500 Filipinos to strike, like Cesar Chavez and other Mexican American workers, against the grape growers of Delano, California.
Although I have yet to see the new Cesar Chavez movie , my 5th grader saw it today with her classmates and she explained that the movie showed the collaboration between the Delano Manongs and Cesar Chavez and other farm workers. A new documentary, "Delano Manongs," provides a more in-depth account of the advocacy work of these Filipino farm workers in improving the working and life conditions of immigrant workers.
Moreover, through a bill (AB 123) that was sponsored by Assembly Member Rob Bonta and signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October 2013, students in California will learn about the contributions of Filipino farm workers to the California labor movement.
So on this Cesar Chavez Day, let us honor not only Cesar Chavez but also Larry Itliong and the Mexican American and Filipino American workers (and others) who worked alongside to help improve the lives of farm workers in California and the United States.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Kino Lorber presents the U.S. theatrical premiere WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL?, the piercing new film about the human side of the U.S. immigration crisis by Gael García Bernal (Y Tu Mamá También, No) and Marc Silver. The film will open on April 25th in New York, followed by a release to select U.S. cities nationwide.
Winner of the Sundance 2013 World Cinema Cinematography Award and an official selection at the 51st New York Film Festival, WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL? adds critical perspective to the intense immigration reform debate in the United States. In this piercing documentary that pushes the edges of the non-fiction form, acclaimed Mexican actor and activist Gael García Bernal tells the story of one of the many migrant workers who lost their lives in the stretch of Arizona desert known as “the corridor of death.” As Mr. Bernal retraces this man’s steps along the migrant trail in Central America, he and director Marc Silver show how one life can become a powerful testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration.
With contributions from the dedicated forensic examiners of the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, the film seeks to answer questions surrounding the death of this yet-unidentified man. As the investigation unfolds, Mr. Bernal embeds himself among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border. He witnesses first-hand the dangers that these men, women and children face on their way to the United States, offering new insight into the sacrifices made in the search for a better life.
Gael García Bernal and director Marc Silver have created an unique experiential documentary that illuminates the urgent issue of immigration. The film brings viewers intimately close to the often-invisible lives that have been affected by a broken immigration policy.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
The Crusades of Cesar Chavez by Miriam Pawel
Cesar Chavez founded a labor union, launched a movement, and inspired a generation. He rose from migrant worker to national icon, becoming one of the great charismatic leaders of the 20th century. Two decades after his death, Chavez remains the most significant Latino leader in US history. Yet his life story has been told only in hagiography—until now.
In the first comprehensive biography of Chavez, Miriam Pawel offers a searching yet empathetic portrayal. Chavez emerges here as a visionary figure with tragic flaws; a brilliant strategist who sometimes stumbled; and a canny, streetwise organizer whose pragmatism was often at odds with his elusive, soaring dreams. He was an experimental thinker with eclectic passions—an avid, self-educated historian and a disciple of Gandhian non-violent protest.
Drawing on thousands of documents and scores of interviews, this superbly written life deepens our understanding of one of Chavez’s most salient qualities: his profound humanity. Pawel traces Chavez’s remarkable career as he conceived strategies that empowered the poor and vanquished California’s powerful agriculture industry, and his later shift from inspirational leadership to a cult of personality, with tragic consequences for the union he had built. The Crusades of Cesar Chavez reveals how this most unlikely American hero ignited one of the great social movements of our time.
Miriam Pawel is an award-winning reporter and editor who spent twenty-five years working for Newsday and the Los Angeles Times.
This book review in the Los Angeles Times highlights the book's look at Chavez's treatment of undocumented immigrants:
"Pawel does not shy away from the more disturbing sides of Chavez and the UFW. Chavez railed against illegal immigration, encouraging deportations — even though in parts of California most farm workers were undocumented, and many were willing to organize and become part of the UFW.
Cesar's cousin, Manuel Chavez, working for Chavez and the UFW, hired thugs to beat up migrants at the border in Arizona and bribed local police to let the vigilantes do their work, a project, as Pawel notes, decidedly at odds with Cesar's `steadfast commitment to nonviolence.'"
The Crusades of Cesar Chavez is likely to contrast sharply with the soon-to-be-released film Cesar Chavez.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
A new documentary series hopes to change the way Americans think and talk about immigration reform. It’s called “Borderland” and it premiers nationwide on Al Jazeera America on Sunday, April 13th. Six Americans, from different walks of life and armed with strong viewpoints, are dropped into situations that transform the way they look at immigration reform. Before anyone makes up their mind on the immigration debate, they should watch this thought-provoking series.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The World Premiere of The Tinaja Trail, a documentary by Bryce Newell (a graduate of UC Davis School of Law) about the migrant deaths along the U.S./Mexico border, is slated for March 22 in Tampa, Florida as part of the Gasparilla International Film Festival. The film also will be shown in April at the Arizona International Film Festival.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Cesar Chavez (2014)
A biography of the civil-rights activist and labor organizer Cesar Chavez. Chronicling the birth of a modern American movement, Cesar Chavez tells the story of the famed civil rights leader and labor organizer torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to securing a living wage for farm workers. Passionate but soft-spoken, Chavez embraced non-violence as he battled greed and prejudice in his struggle to bring dignity to people. Chavez inspired millions of Americans from all walks of life who never worked on a farm to fight for social justice. His triumphant journey is a remarkable testament to the power of one individual's ability to change the world.
This film opens on the weekend of March 28. Follow the movie at
Monday, March 10, 2014
Pulling Strings (2013) (NOW ON DVD)
After a night of drinking, Rachel, a diplomat working in Mexico City finds her world turned upside down after she's saved by Alejandro, a Mariachi singer whose visa was rejected the day before - by Rachel.
Rachel is an intelligent, modern-day woman constantly on the move. Primarily focused on her career as a diplomatic consul for the U.S. embassy, she's literally lived her life on the move, globe-trotting from city to city. Currently working in Mexico City and set to leave for London, Rachel's world turns upside down on the eve of her own goodbye party when she gets drunk and passes out on the street. Saved by Alejandro, a handsome Mariachi singer and single father, Rachel wakes up in his apartment with no recollection of how she got there. Nor does she remember that she rejected his visa the day before, which he desperately needs for his daughter. Romance unexpectedly blossoms between the two, but either sparks or fists will fly after she finds out his secret.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
In 2000 award-winning Korean-American filmmaker Grace Lee met Grace Lee Boggs while making The Grace Lee Project, a documentary that explores and debunks stereotypes about Asian American women who share the same name. Not content with a single interview, American Revolutionary Director Grace Lee went on to spend the next ten years filming Boggs in her home city of Detroit, an evolving relationship that has proven fruitful for both women. The daughter of Chinese immigrants who owned a restaurant in New York City, Grace Lee Boggs studied at Barnard and eventually received her Ph.D in Philosophy at Bryn Mawr. Despite her credentials, Boggs, as an Asian woman, was not able to get an academic job much less a position in a department store. She decided to move to Chicago where she could get a low-wage job at the University of Chicago Philosophy Library. While living on Chicago's south side, she started working as a tenants rights organizer within the African-American community -- her introduction to a lifelong commitment to activism.
Boggs eventually moved to Detroit, where she met her husband James ("Jimmy") Boggs - an African American autoworker and activist. Together, they formed a partnership that engaged them in the major U.S. social movements of the last century: from labor to civil rights, to Black Power, the environmental justice movements and beyond. Although Grace Lee Boggs is most well known for her involvement in the Black Power movement, her scholarship and actions defy easy categorization. In the years since James' death in 1993, Grace has become an icon in particular for Asian-Americans as well as activists of all stripes. As Director Grace Lee wrestles with this hybrid political legacy, she dives into Grace Lee Boggs's past as well as her identity as a Chinese-American woman, a background that Boggs herself has only recently acknowledged in her work. More than a decade in the making, this portrait of an author/activist whose work has touched multiple communities and generations, will appeal widely to college students.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Barkhad Abdi, an actor, made his cinematic debut in the 2013 film Captain Phillips, for which he received various film award nominations, including Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the Academy Awards. Abdii was born in 1985 in Mogadishu, Somalia. He was raised in Yemen. At age 14, Abdi moved with his family to Minneapolis, Minnesota. He subsequently attended Minnesota State University, Moorhead. Before entering the film industry, he worked as a limousine driver, store clerk, and disc jockey
In Captain Phillips, Abdi playes Abduwali Muse, a ship hijacker and pirate leader.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
The long-awaited night of the Academy Awards is upon us!
ImmigrationProf previously profiled Immigrant of the Day Lupita Nyong'o, who is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the abused slave Patsey in the powerful indictment of American slavery 12 Years a Slave (2013). (I must say that I am not sure that I could again sit through that horrific flogging scene of Patsey near the end of the film.). Nyong'o already has won the Screen Actors Guild and Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and was nominated for the Golden Globe and BAFTA.
In a particularly strong field, the nominees for Best Supporting Actress are:
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"
By the way, I saw all of these performances and must say that the group of films is a very dark representation of life in past and present America.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle, an investigative look at the life and mysterious death of pioneering journalist Ruben Salazar premieres on PBS on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 9:00 PM ET. It examines the life and mysterious death of pioneering journalist Ruben Salazar. At the heart of the story is Salazar's transformation from a mainstream, establishment reporter to primary chronicler and supporter of the radical Chicano movement of the late 1960s. Killed under mysterious circumstances by a law enforcement officer in 1970, Salazar became an instant martyr to Latinos - many of whom had criticized his reporting during his lifetime. Adding to the Salazar mystique is that the details of how he was killed have been obscured in the ensuing four decades since his death.
Featuring material from recently released files obtained by the filmmaker, Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle removes Salazar from the glare of myth and martyrdom and offers a clear-eyed look at the man and his times. The film, produced and directed by Phillip Rodriguez, includes interviews with Salazar's friends, colleagues and family members, and Salazar's own words culled from personal writings.
Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle reveals the truth about the pioneering journalist's life and death, removing him from the shadows of legend and restoring him to his rightful place in history. The Salazar story had long been considered to be an ethnic story, a regional story," says filmmaker Rodriguez. "But it is much bigger than that. This is a story about a regular guy who, motivated by principle, challenges an abusive authority at great risk to himself - it's a classic American story."
WINNER BEST DOCUMENTARY 2014 San Antonio CineFestival
Sunday, February 23, 2014
CNN reports that Maria von Trapp, the last of the singing children immortalized in the movie musical "The Sound of Music," died last week at her Vermont home of natural causes. The native of Austria was 99.
The von Trapp family fled Austria after the German annexation and came to the United States in 1938 and settled in Vermont in 1942
Maria became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1948 and lived at her family's lodge in Stowe, Vermont. She was the last survivor of the seven original von Trapp children.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Lupita Nyong'o is an actress who made her American film debut in 12 Years a Slave (2013) as Patsey. For that role, Nyong'o won the Screen Actors Guild and Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and was nominated for the Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Nyong'o was born in Mexico City to Dorothy and Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, a politician in Kenya. It is a Luo tradition to name a child after the events of the day, so her parents named her Lupita (a diminutive of "Guadalupe"). Her father was the former Kenyan Minister for Medical Services. At the time of Lupita's birth, he was a visiting lecturer in political science at El Colegio de Mexico, and her family had been living in Mexico for three years. Her father was in political exile for his pro-democracy activities that challenged the Kenyan government.
Nyong'o moved back to Kenya with her parents when she was less than one year old. She grew up primarily in Kenya but attended college in the United States (Hampshire College and Yale).
Nyong'o currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
It continues to amaze me that the U.S. government uses drones to patrol the U.S./Mexico border, a tactic that strikes me as something out of a science fiction movie like "Escape from New York."
Click here for a cost/benefit analysis in the Christian Science Monitor of drone patrols - and the use of Predator B drones. The drones are back in the air after being grounded after a January 28 crash. What have we come to as a nation?
Thursday, January 23, 2014
CNN reports that teen heartthrob Justin Bieber has been arrested for a suspected DUI and drag racing in Miami Beach. As previously reported on ImmigrationProf, this foreign-born noncitizen is risking deportation from the United States for his criminal activities. In setting records for annual removals, the Obama administration has aggressively targeted "criminal aliens" for deportation, going so far as to threaten with removal an undocumented woman known as "the tamale lady" who was arrested for selling tamales outside a Walmart store in Sacramento.
UPDATE (1/24): See this MoveOn.Org petition to "Treat All Immigrants Like Justin Bieber!"
UPDATE (1/26): Ruben Navarette has an interesting take on the possible deportation of Justin Bieber.