Sunday, July 10, 2016

Immigrant of the Day: Luis Enrique, Singer (Nicaragua)


Luis Enriqueis a Nicaraguan-born singer and composer. He attended high School in Whittier, California, near Los Angeles. He started his career in the late 1980s and achieved success in the 1990s earning the title "El Príncipe de la Salsa" (The Prince of Salsa). Enrique was a pioneer in the salsa romántica movement of the 1980s. He received two Grammy Award-nomination for "Best Tropical Latin Performance" for album Luces del Alma and his song Amiga. In 2009, his album, Ciclos, was nominated for numerous Latin Grammy Awards. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album.

Enrique immigrated to the United States in 1978  He will be sharing his story as an undocumented immigrant in the United States in an upcoming book, Enrique will tell of his personal journey from Nicaragua to making a home in L.A. He was undocumented for about 10 years. 



July 10, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Immigrant of the Day: Liam Neeson (Northern Ireland)


Liam Neeson is an actor from Northern Ireland.  Neeson rose to prominence when he starred in the title role in Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar winner Schindler's List. He has since starred in many other successful films, including Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).  In more recent years, Neeson has starred in the action thriller series Taken (2008–15). He has been nominated for a number of awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Neeson and his family are New Yorkers.  In 2009, Neeson revealed on ABC's Good Morning America that he had recently naturalized as a U.S. citizen. Interviewer Diane Sawyer asked Neeson how he and the boys had been getting along since Natasha Richardson's death. Neeson responded:

"I'm still getting extraordinary condolence letters from American people, that's deeply, deeply touching. And that's partly the reason why I've recently become an American citizen. I've been living here for 20 years and America's been very, very good to me. I'm still a proud Irishman, of course, but I've become an American citizen and I'm very proud of that."

July 5, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fox Sports takes reporter Emily Austen off the air after racist remarks


Cindy Boren of the Washington Post reports that Emily Austen, a Fox Sports Florida and Fox Sports Sun sideline reporter who covers the Tampa Bay Rays and Orlando Magic, has been taken off the air after making derogatory, racist and anti-Semitic remarks on Barstool Sports' "Rundown" show this week.   Austen disparaged Mexican, Chinese and Jewish people, as well as Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, on the daily show broadcast on Facebook Live.  Asked about a high school valedictorian who said on Twitter that she was an undocumented immigrant, Austen said: "I didn't even know Mexicans were that smart. . . .That's f---- up. I didn't mean it like that. You see, you guys know that the Chinese guy is always the smartest guy in math class." 

The above is an excerpt of the video, the entirety which can be found on Vimeo.


Emily Austen


June 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Slam Poet George Masao Yamazawa Nails What It's Like to Be a Child of Immigrants


National Poetry Slam Champion George Masao Yamazawa is the son of Japanese immigrants — but he doesn't know how to speak Japanese. Thus, he's afraid of being the "broken chain" in his family's lineage. 

In his poem "The Bridge," which Yamazawa performed at a slam poetry competition in December, he captured the identity crises many immigrants face in America. 

Read more on this story here.


May 29, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How a Bill Becomes a Wall

A must-see video from CNN:



May 10, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Immigration Plans of Trump & Hillary in 5 Minutes

5 minutes? You've got that kind of time. Jump to 1:33 and skip the intro.



May 7, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Melania Trump (Yugoslavia)


Photo Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar

Our Immigrant of the Day is none other than Melania Trump, a jewelry and watch designer and former model who is married to 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump. Born in Yugoslavia (now Slovenia), she became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and a U.S. citizen in 2006.

Lauren Collins in the New Yorker tells us some about the "Model American."  Should Trump be elected President, Melania will become the first foreign-born First Lady since Louisa Adams.

Melania got her green card in 2001 and became a citizen five years later. As Collins writes, "Melania has expressed little solidarity with less fortunate newcomers."   “I came here for my career, and I did so well, I moved here,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers. That is just the person you are. You follow the rules. You follow the law. Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa.”  Given those remarks, it should not be surprising that Melania has expressed support for some of Donald's tough-on-immigration positions.


As the Presidential campaign continues, we can expect Melania Trump to be in the news

Thanks to Cappy White for suggesting that we recognize Melania Trump as Immigrant of the Day!


May 7, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Actress Cate Blanchett UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, yesterday announced the appointment of Academy Award winning actor Cate Blanchett as a global Goodwill Ambassador. The announcement comes as Blanchett returns from a mission to Jordan to witness the ongoing humanitarian operation for people displaced by the conflict in Syria. She met Syrian refugee families to hear first-hand about the perilous journeys they had undertaken and the daily challenges they face.

The actor takes on the role at a time when war, conflict and persecution have forced around 60 million people worldwide to run for their lives, the largest number since World War II. Nearly 20 million of these are refugees and more than half are children. The conflict in Syria is the main driver of this global crisis, forcing more than 4.8 million Syrians to become refugees in its neighboring countries alone, with more seeking safety further afield.

Prior to her appointment, Blanchett had been working closely with UNHCR for over a year to raise awareness about the forcibly displaced. In 2015, she travelled to Lebanon to meet Syrian refugees and to hear about the experiences of stateless people as part of her support for UNHCR's #IBelong Campaign.




May 3, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The 1.5 Generation Organic Farmer

Check out this NYT video Growing Organics 'Sin Fronteras.' It follows Eduardo Rivera, a Minnesotan, a member of the 1.5 generation, and an organic farmer looking to bring fresh produce to his community.



May 1, 2016 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Immigrant Doctor's Role in Bringing the Health Dangers of NFL Football to Light in Film "Concussion"



Last fall, the film Concussion opened in theaters across the United States.  In the event you missed it, you might catch it on cable, Netflix, or otherwise.  An immigrant is at the centerpiece of the story of the film.  This NPR radio story explains.

 The film put the spotlight back on the dangers of football. Will Smith portrays Dr. Bennet Omalu, the immigrant from Nigeria who was the first to publish research on the degenerative brain disease he called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Omalu, a forensic pathologist, noticed something strange in 2002 when performing an autopsy of Mike Webster, a famous former player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the years following his retirement, Webster suffered from mental and financial problems. He died at age 50 of a heart attack, Omalu said.

Dr.  Omalu came to Seattle, Washington in 1994 to complete an epidemiology fellowship at the University of Washington. In 1995, he joined Columbia University’s Harlem Hospital Center for a residency training program. He next trained as a forensic pathologist at the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office in Pittsburgh. Omalu holds eight advanced degrees and board certifications, including a Masters in Public Health (MPH) & Epidemiology in 2004 from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from at Carnegie Mellon University in 2008.  Omalu is currently chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, California and is a professor in the UC Davis Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.


April 29, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 22, 2016

More people are filing to become citizens in the face of anti-immigration politics


Governor Pete Wilson 1994 Ad for Proposition 187

Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times reports on a spike in naturalizations as a harsh national debate over immigration has encouraged immigrants to seek to become U.S. citizens:

"A t a recent fair at the Long Beach Convention Center, more than 3,000 immigrants got free help filling out citizenship applications and practiced casting ballots at mock voting booths. Events like this almost certainly were not what Republicans intended when they blocked President Obama's program to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. But the new nationwide push to help more than 8 million legal permanent residents become citizens — and therefore potential voters — is a direct consequence of Republican resistance to Obama administration immigration policies."  The harsh statements about immigrants by Republican presidential candidates has also fueled the increase in citizenship petitions.

In some respects, the increase in naturalizations today is similar to what occurred in California in 1994 after passage of the anti-immigrant measure known as Proposition 187:  "The passage of Proposition 187, though it ultimately was declared unconstitutional, is widely credited for helping turn California blue. Republicans faced backlash at the ballot box after organizers registered millions of new Latino voters in the years after the initiative passed, and the state has since transformed into one dominated by Democratic politics."


April 22, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Frontline: Children of Syria

Tonight, PBS will air Frontline's Children of Syria. The documentary follows four children "surviving in war-torn Aleppo, and their escape to a new life in Germany."


This film is something of a sequel to Frontline's Children of Aleppo, which profiled the same family "from the siege of their city, to the kidnapping of their father, to the struggle of becoming refugees."


April 19, 2016 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

At the Movies: The Paradise that Wasn't (Refugees in Baltimore)

The Paradise that Wasn't from Wide Angle Youth Media on Vimeo.

Each year, hundreds of young people and their families come to Baltimore as refugees. They are excited to come here and to have access to education and opportunity. But, for many youth refugees, Baltimore turns out to be a difficult place, where their American-born peers tease and bully them for being different. In this short documentary, filmmaker Evodie Ngoy, herself a refugee from the Congo DRC, helps other youth refugees tell their stories in order to challenge the prejudices that refugees face in America.



April 7, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

At the Movies: Miss India America (2016)


In a new feature film, Miss India America, Lily Prasad is graduating from her Orange County high school at the top of her class. And she has a plan, "The Lily Plan”. She will become a brain surgeon like her father. Her sweet, lost boyfriend Karim will become a petroleum engineer. They’ll get married. Have kids. Live happily ever after. But the plan is thrown into confusion when KarimM becomes smitten by and runs off with the reigning Miss India National beauty queen. 

Not happy about losing at anything, Lily decides that she herself must become the new Miss India National! So talents must be learnt and the competition must be crushed! But Lily will discover you’re not always a winner when you win, and there’s maybe more to learn when you lose.  

A smart, witty, coming of age comedy feature film.

Hereis the Hollywood Reporter review.



March 27, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Latinos Admit to Being 'Murderers,' 'Traffickers' and 'Thieves' in Anti-Trump Ad


Earlier this week, Republican group Our Principles PAC used presidential candidate Donald Trump's own words against him in an ad featuring women reading his offensive quotes about the opposite sex. Now, the CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles) Action fund has turned Mr. Trump's statements about Latinos against him in another spot.

The ad features various Latinos "owning up" to the characterizations Mr. Trump had made of them as dealers, killers, murderers, attackers, traffickers and thieves, each wearing a t-shirt with those titles. "I am a dealer," "I am a killer," "I am a thief," "I am an attacker," they say.

But as each turns around, they reveal their true identities: the "trafficker" is actually a trafficker of stories -- a film director; the "murderer" is a murderer of boredom, a comedian; and the dealers include a dealer of flavors (a chef), a dealer of care (a nanny) and a dealer of justice (an attorney) and so forth.

The ad directs viewers to an accompanying site, where they can see the film and purchase their own t-shirts re-framing Trump's pejorative characterizations.


March 21, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Trump Model Management Abusing H-1 Visa Holders?


CNN Money reports that Donald Trump's modeling agency has profited from the same visa program that the presidential candidate himself has challenged -- and may have violated federal law in the process. 

During the presidential campaign, Trump has criticized U.S. companies using foreign workers instead of Americans.  He  specifically has criticized the employment of high-skilled workers brought to the United States through the H-1B visa program.  Although this program is best known for bringing over technology workers including engineers and computer programmers, Trump's modeling agency has used the program. The program has allowed fashion models to be eligible for H-1B visas; it appears to be the only job for which one can secure such a visa that does not require higher education.  



The use of H-1B visas by Trump Model Management, founded by Trump in 1999, is being questioned. The agency is currently battling a proposed class action lawsuit filed by Jamaican model Alexia Palmer, who was came to the U.S. through an H-1B visa. The suit alleges that the agency recruits foreign models with promises of wages that never materialize and defrauds the U.S. government on visa applications. Palmer is currently the only plaintiff and the suit has not yet been certified as a class-action. In her case, Palmer allegedly was paid a few thousand dollars over three years despite being lured with the promise of more than $200,000 in earnings in that same time period. That salary was listed by Trump Model Management as part of Palmer's visa application.  Palmer said that she felt that she was a "slave" working for the agency. 



Born in the former Yugoslavia, Melania Trump was associated as a model with Trump Model Management, before her marriage to Donald Trump.


March 13, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Trevor Noah: Immigration Comic

Trevor Noah is the South African comic who took over for Jon Stewart as host of the Daily Show. He used to be a stand up comic traveling the world and enjoying the strict gaze of immigration officials. Check out this bit:


The first two minutes might be good for use in class to give students the feel of a border interrogation.


March 5, 2016 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Rubio's Pro-America Ad Features Canada

Marco Rubio's latest ad starts with the line "It's morning again in America." But, as Buzzfeed points out, dawn in the video appears to be breaking over Vancouver, not the United States.


Geography aside, I think Rubio's just pleased his ad doesn't feature an adult film actress, which is more than Ted Cruz can say.

Politics is fun.


February 16, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: Food Chain$: The Revolution in America's Fields


In this exposé, an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.

There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Farmworkers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved – all within the borders of the United States.

Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food and supermarkets. Fast food is big, but supermarkets are bigger – earning $4 trillion globally. They have tremendous power over the agricultural system. Over the past 3 decades they have drained revenue from their supply chain leaving farmworkers in poverty and forced to work under subhuman conditions. Yet many take no responsibility for this.

The narrative of the film focuses on an intrepid and highly lauded group of tomato pickers from Southern Florida – the Coalition of Immokalee Workers or CIW – who are revolutionizing farm labor. Their story is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed – to ensure a dignified life for farm workers and a more humane, transparent food chain.

Food Chains premiered at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival and screened subsequently at the Tribeca Film Festival and Guadalajara Film Festival.  Food Chains will be released nationwide November 21st. The film’s Executive Producers include Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser.




February 16, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Actress Diane Guerrero Calls for Immigration Justice


Actress Diane Guerrero, best known for her roles in “Jane the Virgin” and “Orange is the New Black,” is taking a public stance today against politicians who are fueling intolerance with hate speech and rhetoric that target and criminalize the immigrant community. Guerrero, whose parents were both deported when she was 14, tells her personal story in a new video today on behalf of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) and United We Dream (UWD).

In the video, Guerrero says, “Whatever our personal reasons — whether we were born here or our parents came here for a shot at the American dream — we need to stand up to reactionary policies aimed at targeting and criminalizing the immigrant community. We can and must do better.” 

This is not the first time Guerrero has spoken out about her story and comes as politicians, from members of Congress to the 2016 presidential field, address immigration and the impact that mass incarceration and mass deportation has on immigrant communities. At the end of the video, Guerrero says, “Please join me by telling our members of Congress and our local and state leaders to stand with us by condemning policies that separate families and destroy our communities. We have to work together to ensure that no child ever comes home to an empty house.” Sign a petition here.

“I hope this creates a sense of urgency around our broken immigration system and the need for policies that keep families together,” said Guerrero in a statement about her partnership with the ILRC and UWD. “We have to stop tearing families apart and subjecting immigrants to the kind of fear and oppression that many fled from in their home countries. We have to end policies that encourage racial profiling and mass incarceration. We have to get local law enforcement out of the business of deportation.”

Among the enforcement-centric policies highlighted by Guerrero, the Obama Administration deported more than 300,000 individuals in 2014.  Additionally, current law requires 34,000 immigrants per day be detained while in deportation proceedings, including entire families.

The full script of the video is below:

With all the hate speech and the intolerance these days, it’s easy to forget that we are a nation of immigrants.

Whatever our personal reasons whether we were born here or our parents came here for a shot at the American dream we need to stand up to reactionary policies aimed at targeting and criminalizing the immigrant community. We can and must do better.

I was 14 when my family was torn apart by deportation. My family was taken because they were undocumented immigrants just like 11 million other people living and working in America today.

In recent years the Administration has taken steps to protect young immigrants but it’s not enough and now some lawmakers are proposing drastic and harsh new laws that would pave the way for more intolerance, more deportation and more family separation. We need your help.

Please join me by telling our members of congress and our local and state leaders to stand with us by condemning policies that separate families and destroy our communities. We have to work together to ensure that no child ever comes home to an empty house. For more information on how you can help visit:


February 4, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)