Monday, October 6, 2014

Immigrant of the Day: Mischa Barton (United Kingdom)


Actress and model Mischa Barton played poor-little-rich-girl Marissa Cooper in the popular television series The O.C., from 2003 to 2006. Barton was born in the United Kingdom, moved to New York as a child and began acting and modeling before she was in her teens. In the late '90s she began getting TV and movie roles, including a small role (as the poisoned girl) in M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense (1999, starring Bruce Willis). She had the lead role in the adolescent love story Lost and Delirious (2001) and appeared in several episodes of TV's Once and Again, but it was The O.C. that made her a star. While she worked on the series, Barton also worked as a model for clothing and cosmetics companies.

Barton's character, Marissa, was killed in a car accident at the end of the third season -- a plot point the actress inadvertently revealed prior to the episode's airing. Since leaving the series, she has focused on modeling and a career in films, with the occasional arrest for driving while intoxicated. Her other work includes the films Homecoming (2009) and You and I (2011), and a recurring guest spot on the Ashton Kutcher TV production, The Beautiful Life: TBL (2009).

Barton is a dual U.S. and British citizen.


October 6, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Immigrant of the Day: Craig Ferguson From Scotland | Television Host


Photo courtesy of IMDb

Craig Ferguson From Scotland | Television Host

Actor Craig Ferguson is the host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. After finding some success in television London, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1994 and soon landed his American breakout role as the title character’s obnoxious boss in The Drew Carey Show. Ferguson has also written and starred in three films and written two books, the novel Between the Bridge and the River and the memoir American on Purpose. The later book details various experiences over several decades in Ferguson's life from his days in Scotland through his migration to the United States; the rise of his performing career in the United Kingdom, then Hollywood, and eventual acquisition of US citizenship in early 2008.  In 2010, he won a Peabody Award for the Late Late Show. 



October 5, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Women allege sexual abuse at Texas immigrant detention center

CNN reports that women detained at an immigration detention facility in Texas allege that employees there have sexually abused them, including by removing them from their cells at night for sex as well as fondling them in front of others, lawyers wrote in a letter to federal officials this week.

The allegations were detailed in a letter from several immigrant advocacy groups to officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, which had hired one of America's for-private prison operators to run the facility. Zoe Carpenter in the Nation has an insightful story on the private detention companies and how they benefit for increases in immigrant detention.

"We call for an immediate investigation into these serious allegations of sexual abuse and the immediate protection of all women and children forced to reside in the facility," the letter, sent by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) on behalf of all the advocacy groups, reads.  ImmigrationProf reported on this letter earlier this week.

In a September 25 letter, the immigration clinic at the University of Texas School of Law asked federal immigration officials to investigate numerous complaints from detainees, including that children didn't have access to a variety of nutritious snacks between meals, that messages from attorneys weren't getting to their clients in a timely manner, and that -- although they had access to a nurse -- no doctor was on staff to handle significant medical issues such as respiratory infections and chronic illnesses.


October 5, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Immigration Law Clinics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 3, 2014

At the Movies: The Good Lie (Opens Today)


They were known simply as “The Lost Boys.” Orphaned by the brutal Civil war in Sudan that began in 1983, these young victims traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety. Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3600 lost boys and girls to America.

In “The Good Lie,” Philippe Falardeau, (writer and director of the Oscar®- nominated Foreign Language film “Monsieur Lazhar”) brings the story of their survival and triumph to life. Academy Award® winner Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”) stars alongside Sudanese actors Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, and newcomer Nyakuoth Weil, many of whom were also children of war.

Click here for a review of The Good Lie by Emily Arnold-Fernandez of Asylum Access.


October 3, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Real Housewives of New Jersey Sentenced to Prison, Joe Guidice may be Deported


The married stars of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” face prison time. Teresa Giudice was sentenced yesterday in federal court to 15 months in prison on conspiracy and bankruptcy charges while her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, was sentenced to 41 months. Having come to fame with a hit television show, the couple was ordered to pay $414,000 in restitution.   The court agreed to stagger the Giudices’ sentences so one parent can be home with their four children while the other is in prison. Teresa Giudice will serve her sentence first because, as has been reported, Joe Giudice is not a U.S. citizen -- he is an immigrant from Italy -- and faces possible deportation to Italy when he’s released from prison.

Last March, Joe's lawyer told Us Weekly that deportation is a possible punishment for Joe. "Joe could be deported," says Joe's attorney. "I think it would be a tremendous injustice, given that he's been here since he was one year old. His parents and brothers have been naturalized, and Teresa and the children are citizens. Joe not getting U.S. citizenship, just slipped through the cracks." So why isn't Joe a U.S. citizen? "He could have gotten it easily," says his lawyer. "He thought he was a citizen, as did everyone else. The fact that he wasn't, was brought up in the state case. He didn’t know up until then."


October 3, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

America's Brain Gain


The Vilcek Foundation Fall 2014 newsletter spotlights "America’s Brain Gain: Immigrants at the Frontier of Neuroscience."

The Vilcek Foundation aims to raise public awareness of the contributions of immigrants to the sciences, arts, and culture in the United States. The Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the Foundation was inspired by the couple’s respective careers in biomedical science and art history, as well as their personal experiences and appreciation for the opportunities offered them as newcomers to the United States. The Foundation achieves its mission through hosting immigrant artists and performers at their gallery space in New York City, awarding the annual Vilcek Prizes in the biomedical sciences and the arts and humanities, and sponsoring programs such as the Hawaii International Film Festival.


October 3, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Immigrant of the Day: Bai Ling From China | Actor


Photo Courtesy of IMDb

Bai Ling From China | Actor

Born in Chengdu, China, actor Bai Ling was a major star in her country by the time she left for the U.S. Learning English while she attended film school at New York University, she soon won the lead in Terence Malik’s play Sansho the Bailiff. Not long after, she landed her breakout role in the 1997 film Red Corner, which won her a National Board of Review award for a Breakthrough Performance. Later, she garnered acclaim for her role in Anna and the King.



October 2, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How a Reluctance to Deport Pop Stars Strengthens US Immigration Policy


After calls to deport Justin Bieber, Professor Lenni Benson discusses the leniency often afforded to foreign celebrities and how that can create a problematic double standard within immigration policy.

September 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

At the Movies: San Francisco Immigrant Film Festival 2014


Check out the SF Immigrant Film Festival 2014.  Sit back and enjoy 3 Short Movie Marathons:

Saturday, Oct.4 at La Peña Cultural Center - Berkeley

Sun. Oct. 5 at Mission Cultural Center, MCCLA-San Francisco

Thursday, Oct. 9 at City College of San Francisco, Mission Campus


September 20, 2014 in Books, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Former ImmigrationProf Blogger Visiting at Harvard Law


Congratulations to ImmigrationProf blogger emeritus Jennifer Chacón, who is visiting at Harvard Law School for the  2014-15 academic year.   She is teaching Criminal Law this fall and Criminal Investigations/Police Practices: Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments and Immigration Law, in the spring.   Chacón is Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.

I must say that it is hard to see Professor Chacón teaching Criminal Law in a manner akin to the legendary Professor Kingsfield of the Paper Chase fame:

"Mister Hart, here is a dime. Call your mother. Tell her there is serious doubt about your becoming a lawyer." 


Still, she should know that the favorite place in Harvard Square for HLS students to eat an inexpensive (and filling) meal, with refreshments (of course), is Charlie's Kitchen.  Informed law students (and professors) know to stay away from the signature drinks (and popcorn) at the Hong Kong on Mass Ave.

  Paper chase


September 5, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Comedy Break: Family Guy Season 6 Episode 6 Padre de Familia



Courtesy of

Family Guy Season 6 Episode 6 Padre de Familia

Peter starts an anti-immigration group; however, he quickly changes his mind when he finds out that he was born in Mexico. Unable to prove his citizenship, pass the naturalization test or convince investigators that his marriage to Lois is for real, he ends up working for Carter as a landscaper, all the while fighting for immigration rights.

Watch here.



August 27, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Immigrant of the Day: Jhumpa Lahiri From England | Author


Jhumpa Lahiri From England | Author

Lahiri-Jhumpa Photo courtesy of Random House Acclaimed author Jhumpa Lahiri was raised in the U.S. while also spending time with her extended family in India. Her fiction draws from these experiences, depicting the lives and conflicts of immigrant families in America. Her first book, Interpreter of Maladies, won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the PEN/Heminway Award. Her second book, The Namesake, was a novel that was adapted into a film by Mira Nair in 2007. Her recent novel The Lowland was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize.


August 24, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Immigrant of the Day: Ham Tran From Vietnam | Film Director


Ham Tran From Vietnam | Film Director

Ham Tran immigrated to the U.S. through the Orderly Departure Program when he was eight years old. His films explore and humanize the struggles of the victims and refugees of the Vietnam War. Receiving his MFA degree in film and television from UCLA, Tran’s short films have received numerous honors, with his thesis film, The Anniversary, becoming a semi-finalist for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. His first feature film, Journey from the Fall, which was financed entirely by the Vietnamese-American community, premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and won numerous awards. In 2009, he was the recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise. His romantic comedy How to Fight in Six Inch Heels, which depicts the lives of modern, young Vietnamese-Americans, was released in 2013.


August 20, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014



Award-winning journalist and Univision News anchor María Elena Salinas presents an in-depth report for Fusion, “Risking It All: Children at the Border.” Salinas takes an intimate look at the root of the crisis of unaccompanied minors from its very source: the three Central American countries from where thousands are flocking to the United States. Traveling to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, Salinas interviews key players in the humanitarian crisis, including presidents, immigration authorities, human rights advocates, crime specialists, human smugglers, gang members and of course the minors. She also visits some of the poorest and most dangerous areas in those countries to witness the deplorable conditions that drive so many to abandon their home in search of a better life, survival, or to reunite with their family members. The hard-hitting news special “Risking It All: Children at the Border” airs Thursday, August 21 at 10:00 p.m. on Fusion. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained by the U.S. Border Patrol since October 2013 and taken to several facilities inside the U.S. This special is the latest in Fusion’s on-going reporting on the border crisis. Fusion news anchor Jorge Ramos anchored a special edition of “Edge of a Crisis: An AMERICA Special” from the border last month. Watch here.


August 19, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Colbert Nation: Ellen Page Comes Out as "Openly Canadian"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Immigrant of the Day: JuJu Chang From South Korea | Journalist


Photo Courtesy of American Program Bureau

JuJu Chang From South Korea | Journalist

Broadcast journalist Juju Chang, born in 1965 in Seoul, South Korea, serves as co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline. She also appears regularly on that network’s Good Morning America and 20/20. She has covered stories including Hurricane Sandy, the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and the earthquake in Haiti, and has conducted investigative reports on anti-gay bullying, female inmates giving birth, and other social issues. Chang has won three Emmy Awards and two Gracie Awards.



August 14, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

RIP Lauren Bacall, Star of To Have and Have Not

To have and have not



Yesterday, Lauren Bacall, star of the silver screen, died.  Bacall starred in a famous movie touching on the migration issues in Europe during WWII.  

To Have and Have Not (1944) is a film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan, and Lauren Bacall in her very first film.   The film is set in Fort-de-France, Martinique, under the Vichy regime in 1940, shortly after the fall of France. Fishing-boat captain Harry Morgan (Humphrey Bogart) is urged to help the French Resistance smuggle some people onto the island. He refuses, until the client, Johnson (Walter Sande), is shot before paying him. The French police take him and several others for questioning and they take his passport and money. A hotel owner known as Frenchy (Marcel Dalio), asks Harry to rent him his boat for one night to transport some members of the resistance. Broke, Harry ends up smuggling Helene (Dolores Moran) and Paul de Bursac (Walter Surovy). Meanwhile, a romance develops between Harry and Marie ("Slim") Browning (Lauren Bacall), an American wanderer who has come to the island. After picking up his passengers, Harry is spotted by a patrol boat, but escapes. Harry is surprised to find that Marie has remained in Martinique to be with him.  The police recognized Harry's boat the previous night, and they reveal that they have Harry's drunk buddy, Eddie (Walter Brennan), in custody and will coerce him to tell the truth about the boat's cargo. With Slim's help, Harry turns the table on the police and at gunpoint, Harry forces Police Captain Renard (Dan Seymour) to arrange for Eddie's release and sign harbor passes, so that he can take the Bursacs away. Slim says goodbye to her piano-playing friend Cricket (Hoagy Carmichael). As soon as Eddie returns, he, Harry, and Marie leave Martinique.

Bacall later married Humphrey Bogart, who starred in in the classic refugee film Casablanca, released in 1942.  It also Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid; and features Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson. Set during World War II, the film focuses on a man torn between, in the words of one character, "love and virtue." He must choose between his love for a woman and helping her Czech Resistance leader husband escape the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.

Dean of the University of Toledo College of Law (and immigration law professor) Daniel J. Steinbock wrote a wonderful article on Casablanca from a refugee perspective.  See Refuge and Resistance: Casablanca's Lessons for Refugee Law, 7 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 649 (1993).



August 13, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

RIP Robin Williams (AKA Vladimir Ivanoff, Mork)


The world is mourning the loss of actor/comedian Robin Williams.  In one of his first films (1984), Williams starred in Moscow on the Hudson,  a comedy-drama directed and co-written by Paul Mazursky. The film had an immigration angle with Williams playing a Soviet Russian circus musician (Vladimir Ivanoff) who defects while on a visit to the United States.  Williams's co-stars include Maria Concjita Alonso (in her American film debut), Elya Baskin as the circus clown, Savely Kramarov as one of two KGB apparatchiks, Alejandro Rey as the musician's immigration attorney, and Cleavant Derricks as his first American host and friend.


Recall also that Williams played an alien from planet Monk in the sitcom Mork & Mindy.



August 12, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 11, 2014


The Real Death Valley: Brooks County, Texas, The Weather Channel


The Real Death Valley: The Untold Story of Mass Graves and Migrant Deaths in South Texas from Weather Films

Why are hundreds of migrants dying each year as they attempt to cross the border to America? “The Real Death Valley” takes a hard look into this tragedy, in which hopeful souls cross through one of the most unforgiving weather environments in America – the punishing terrain of Brooks County, Texas.

Produced by The Weather Channel and Telemundo, in collaboration with with the Investigative Fund and Efran Films, this powerful investigative documentary examines this deeply controversial topic. Emmy Award-winning producers, Solly Granatstein and Shawn Efran, produced "The Real Death Valley" for Weather Films, a digital documentary unit of Weather Films is dedicated to investigating controversial issues where weather, public policy, and the environment collide.

Since its launch in 2013, Weather Films has garnered 30 industry awards, including Telly Awards, Digiday Media Awards, and Communicator Awards. In 2014, Weather Films was a four-time Webby Award honoree.


August 11, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 8, 2014

At the Movies: Which Way Home


The recent influx of undocumented children arriving in the United States has been called a humanitarian crisis but has divided communities. WHICH WAY HOME shows the personal side of immigration as child migrants from Central America risk everything to make it to the US riding atop a freight train they call "The Beast.”

WHICH WAY HOME is available in both an expurgated version and an Original Version that does not censor instances of coarse language.


August 8, 2014 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)