Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sarah Palin: We Should All "Speak American"

Thursday, September 3, 2015

As Central American Migration Has Risen, Mexico’s New Enforcement Role Is

The United States and Mexico have apprehended nearly 1 million Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Honduran migrants since 2010, deporting more than 800,000 of them, including more than 40,000 children. While the United States led in pace and number of apprehensions of Central Americans in 2010-2014, Mexico has since pulled ahead, apprehending one-third more adults and children than the United States so far this year.

Amid increasingly muscular enforcement by Mexico, U.S. apprehensions of Central Americans for fiscal 2015 to date have fallen by more than half compared to the prior year. Many of those who previously would have made it to the U.S. border and been apprehended by the Border Patrol now are being intercepted by Mexican authorities.

The findings are contained in a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report, Migrants Deported from the United States and Mexico to the Northern Triangle: A Statistical and Socioeconomic Profile, which suggests that the increased Mexican enforcement capacity is reshaping regional dynamics and perhaps ushering in changes to long-lasting trends in regional apprehensions.

“The main force at play in the region today with respect to immigration enforcement is the ‘squeezing of the balloon’,” said Doris Meissner, director of MPI’s U.S. immigration policy program and co-director of MPI’s Regional Migration Study Group, which produced the report. “To succeed, responses to regional migration dynamics must move beyond shifting the flows and instead begin deflating the pressures that generate them.”

To achieve a more comprehensive policy, the report suggests that the United States and Mexico, working with Central America, should design migration policies with workable enforcement and humanitarian protection as well as development policies that address poor standards of living, improve citizen security in the Northern Triangle and facilitate the re-integration of deportees.

While the U.S. public and policymakers focused intensely in 2014 on the dramatic increase in unaccompanied minor flows, the MPI researchers find that Mexico has deported nearly 80 percent of the Central American minors apprehended by both countries since 2010. Mexico’s deportations as a share of apprehensions rate also greatly exceeds that of the United States: for every 100 minors apprehended in Mexico in 2014, 77 were deported, compared to three out of 100 for those apprehended in the United States.

The report also offers a profile of deportees to the Northern Triangle, finding that the majority are young males with low educational attainment levels, most having experience in low-skilled jobs but with nearly 40 percent reporting they were unemployed in the 30 days before setting off on their journey.

And contrary to the stereotype that many young Central American migrants are gang members, the MPI researchers report that the majority of deportees do not have a criminal background. Ninety-five percent of child deportees and 61 percent of adult deportees had never been convicted of a crime. For those with a criminal record, 63 percent had been convicted of immigration or traffic offenses or other non-violent crimes. Twenty-nine percent of those with criminal convictions had committed violent offenses and 9 percent drug offenses.

Among the report’s other top findings:

  • More than 60 percent of deportees to Central America are younger than 29, more than 80 percent are male, and more than 53 percent have an  elementary-level education or less. Only 2 percent have university-level education.
  • Among youth younger than 18 who were deported by the United States or Mexico, the majority are boys between ages 12 and 17. However, the surge in overall child inflows since 2013 has also been marked by a sharp increase in the number and proportion of migrants coming from the most vulnerable groups: children under the age of 12 and girls. This increase may be  indicative of deteriorating conditions in the region.
  • Even though the number of child apprehensions tripled in 2010-2014, minors made up a relatively small share of deportations to the Northern Triangle—less than 18,000, or around 8 percent of all deportations in 2014.
  • Apprehensions of Central Americans by the United States and Mexico more than tripled      between 2010 and 2014, rising from approximately 100,000 to more than 340,000. Deportations also increased during the period, although not as rapidly, from 142,000 in 2010 to more than 213,000 in 2014.

MPI’s online journal, the Migration Information Source, has just published a demographic profile of Central American immigrants in the United States, which is available here.


September 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Bobby Jindal: Immigrants must Assimilate!


Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal said Sunday the U.S. must insist that immigrants do a better job of assimilating into American culture to avoid problems facing Europe. "We need to insist people that want to come to our country should come legally, should learn English and adopt our values, roll up their sleeves, and get to work," Jindal, the Louisiana governor, said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation." "We need to insist on assimilation. You know, in Europe they're not doing that. They've got huge problems. Immigration without assimilation is invasion. That can weaken our country." "Let's forget this politically correct left notion that we're not a melting pot anymore," he added.

Judge for yourself. 


August 31, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Empire Strikes Back? Trump et al. on Immigration: This is the Republican Party

Monday, August 24, 2015

Immigrant of the Day: Jarryd Hayne (Australia), San Francisco 49ers


 Born in Sydney, Jarryd Lee Hayne who plays for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League. He previously starred playing professional rugby for the Parramatta Eels of the National Rugby League.

ESPN has kept its eyes on Jarryd Hayne, the Australian rugby star attempting to cross over as an NFL player.  In the 49ers preseason game last night against the Dallas Cowboys, Hayne again impressed as a punt returner and running back. The 49ers beat the Cowboys 23-6.  In ESPN's words,

"A surprise player who looks amazing: The Jarryd Hayne Show continued. A week after the Australian rugby star accounted for 120 total yards in Houston, Hayne returned three punts for 84 yards, with each return eliciting more oohs and ahhs. His first punt return, though, was especially epic in that he made like Willie Mays with an over-the-shoulder catch before bringing it back 27 yards. He also had eight carries for 54 yards while flashing his stiff-arm to Cowboys safety Jeff Heath in the open field on a 23-yard run to the left. So, in two preseason games, the Aussie has 258 total yards, averaging 9.0 yards per carry, 21.6 yards per punt return and 33.0 yards per kickoff return."


August 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Beat Goes on: Jeb Bush, Donald Trump Unapologetic for 'Anchor Baby' Language

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Immigrant of the Day: Jirayut Latthivongskorn (Thailand), Med Student


Here is a "feel good" story for our readers.  Jirayut Latthivongskorn, now a medical student, left his native country of Thailand at the age of nine with his family to pursue the American dream. “For my parents, moving to America was the best and only choice.” Once they were in America, Latthivongskorn’s parents worked in restaurants to make ends meet and they encouraged him to pursue an education. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in molecular and cell biology.  Latthivongskorn was one of the founders of a nonprofit called Pre-Health Dreamers, which helps other undocumented students who were pursuing a higher education in the medical field. Three and a half years later, Pre-Health Dreamers’ network now consists of 450 undocumented students, one third of them in the Bay Area.


August 15, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

6 things Donald Trump doesn’t know about immigration


Market Watch has a nice list of immigration facts for presidential candidate Donald Trump.

1. Myth: Immigrants commit more crime than Americans.

    Fact: Immigrants are less likely to be criminals than native-born Americans.


2. Myth: Immigrants take jobs away from American citizens.

    Fact: Most immigrants don’t compete directly with American citizens for jobs.

3. Myth: Immigrants drive down wages.

    Fact: Immigrant have different education levels and job skills than Americans


4. Myth: Illegal immigrants don't pay taxes.

    Fact: Illegal immigrants in the U.S. paid $11.84 billion in taxes in 2012.


5. Myth: Illegal immigrants exploit the U.S. welfare system.

    Fact: Illegal immigrants aren't eligible for federal benefit programs such as Social Security, Medicaid, and food stamps.

6. Myth: The U.S. doesn't need more immigrants.

    Fact: New immigrants will replenish the workforce as about 77 million baby boomers start reaching retirement age.


August 8, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

POV’s ‘Neuland,’ a Poignant Look at Young Migrants Trying to Make a New Life In Switzerland, Premieres Aug. 17, 2015 on PBS


Far from Home, Young Migrants Learn to Find Their Place in the World with the Help of a Trusted Teacher 

Students Hamidullah and Ehsanullah in Neuland. Credit: Gabriela Betschart.

Meet the young students in Mr. Zingg’s integration class, who came to Switzerland by planes, trains and automobiles—and even by rubber boats. Separated from their families and in many cases traumatized by events in their home countries, these migrants from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Serbia and Venezuela already have long and arduous journeys behind them. Neuland (“New Territory”) follows the adolescents over two years as they struggle to learn a new language, prepare themselves for employment and reveal their innermost hopes and dreams. But as the end of school draws near, each student must face the same difficult question: Is there a place for me in this country?
Anna Thommen’s Neuland has its national broadcast premiere on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) during the 28th season of the PBS series POV (Point of View). POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series and the recipient of a 2013 MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Neuland will stream online from Aug. 18 to Sept. 16, 2015. Watch the trailer here

As part of an effort to preserve its national identity, Switzerland—a country with four official languages and a large number of foreign residents—established a policy of integrating asylum seekers by teaching shared values and tolerance. Those receiving government support are required to take language courses and enroll in job training and professional development. While the country encourages foreigners to find their places, Switzerland also wants these new residents to fit into the existing culture and to succeed as good citizens and workers.
The students in Mr. Zingg's class are all escaping something—war, family problems, poverty. There is Ehsanullah Habibi, who has finally made it from Afghanistan to Switzerland after traveling for a year on borrowed money—a staggering $20,000. His anxious family waits back home for him to send the loan payments—or the lender will take their property. Brother and sister Ismail and Nazlije Aliji left their home country of Serbia after their mother died. Smart, eager and dedicated, Nazlije longs to be a primary school teacher, but she realizes her dream may be out of reach when she hears how many years of education that would require. 

“I was impressed by the trust the pupils placed in their teacher,” said Thommen. "When Mr. Zingg told me some of the unbelievable stories about the fates of his pupils, I knew I wanted to make a film about this. We decided to accompany him and his next class over the two years from the beginning through the end of their schooling. I genuinely hope that it will touch the viewers and sensitize them to the fates of these young migrants and others like them who are stranded on our shores every day.”

About Anna Thommen, Writer/Director:
Anna Thommen was born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1980. After working for two years as a primary school teacher, she decided to study film at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in 2005. Her graduation film, Second Me, won numerous awards and was shown at more than 20 festivals around the world. Thommen received her master’s degree in film directing in 2013 from the Zurich University of the Arts. Neuland was her graduation film, and it has won a dozen international film prizes, including Best German Language Documentary at the 2013 Zurich Film Festival and the First Steps Award at the 2013 Berlinale and continues to be shown around the world.

Read the full press release here


August 6, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

At the Movies: Facing Fear


In the documentary Facing Fear, we see a former neo-Nazi skinhead and the gay victim of his hate crime meet by chance 25 years later, reconcile, and collaborate in educational presentations.

In this Academy Award-nominated short documentary, worlds collide when a former neo-Nazi skinhead and the gay victim of his hate crime attack meet by chance 25 years after the incident that dramatically shaped both of their lives. Together, they embark on a journey of forgiveness that challenges both to grapple with their beliefs and fears, eventually leading to an improbable collaboration...and friendship.

FACING FEAR retraces the haunting accounts of the attack and the startling revelation that brought these men together again. Delving deep into their backgrounds, the roots of the ideologies that shape how they handle the reconciliation process are exposed. Self-doubt, anger and fear are just a few of the emotions they struggle through as they come to terms with their unimaginable situation.


August 4, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

At the Movies: Somewhere Between


Somewhere Between

WINNER PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD, Hot Docs Los Angeles Film Festival JURY PRIZE BEST DOCUMENTARY, Milwaukee Film Festival Vancouver International Film Festival

When China passed its One Child Policy to limit population growth, an unexpected surge of abandoned baby girls started flowing into its orphanages. Since 1991, over 80,000 of those girls have been adopted by American families. While many adoption-focused documentaries give voice to adoptive parents, Somewhere Between explores the emotional and cultural impact of adoption from the point of view of four teenage girls, all adopted from China. This award winning film shares their personal journeys as these adoptees convey the experiences of a generation of young people attempting to reconcile their multiple identities while navigating the already perilous waters of American adolescence.

A recent adoptive parent of her own Chinese baby, filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton opens the film expressing her concerns for her daughter. How will she build a strong sense of identity as she grows older? Will she feel like an “outsider” living in a family with two Caucasian parents? How will she supplement the missing pieces of her early life? Goldstein Knowlton seeks these answers by chronicling the experiences over two years of Haley, Jenna, Ann, and Fang, all struggling to find their place in the world. Each girl approaches her Chinese heritage differently, connecting with her birth culture in varying degrees. And each grapple in different ways with the the discrimination and racism they face, as their identity challenges typical ideas about race and culture for themselves and their communities.

Shedding stereotypes and a one-size-fits-all identity, Somewhere Between poignantly conveys the vulnerability, confusion, and courage of these girls as they wonder, “Who am I?” As Somewhere Between plunges the viewer into their ordinary and sometimes extraordinary experiences, we too, are encouraged to pause and consider who we are —both as individuals and as a nation of immigrants and people from diverse backgrounds.



July 29, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Stowaways and Crimes Aboard a Scofflaw Ship


The popular 2013 film Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks no doubt got many people thinking about lawlessness on the high seas.  If it did pique your interest, be sure to check out Ian Urbina's upcoming series in the New York Times titled The Outlaw Ocean.  The first installment in the series is Stowaways and Crimes Aboard a Scofflaw Ship. Here is part of the introduction:

 "Few places on the planet are as lawless as the high seas, where egregious crimes are routinely committed with impunity. Though the global economy is ever more dependent on a fleet of more than four million fishing and small cargo vessels and 100,000 large merchant ships that haul about 90 percent of the world’s goods, today’s maritime laws have hardly more teeth than they did centuries ago when history’s great empires first explored the oceans’ farthest reaches.
Murders regularly occur offshore — thousands of seafarers, fishermen or sea migrants die under suspicious circumstances annually, maritime officials say — but culprits are rarely held accountable. No one is required to report violent crimes committed in international waters."
Update (July 20):  Here is the second in the series ("Murder at Sea").

July 18, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

At the Movies: "White People," a documentary by Jose Antonio Vargas

Get More: MTV Shows

“White People,” a groundbreaking documentary on race that aims to answer the question, “What does it mean to be white?” from the viewpoint of young white people living in America today. “White People” will premiere on MTV on July 22nd at 8/7c.“White People” follows Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas as he travels across the country to get this complicated conversation started. The documentary asks what’s fair when it comes to affirmative action, if colorblindness is a good thing, what privilege really means, and what it’s like to become the “white minority” in your neighborhood. That moment that you discover that you have certain unearned advantages just because of the color of your skin can be jarring – and can sometimes lead to feelings of guilt. But once you learn about your privilege, there’s actually a lot you can do that’s empowering and constructive. While white people can’t help having been born white into a system where whiteness affords them privilege, they can help to create meaningful change.

MTV has announced that “White People,” a documentary on race that aims to answer the question, “What does it mean to be white?” from the viewpoint of young white people living in the United States.  “White People” will premiere on MTV on July 22nd at 8/7c.

“White People” follows Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas, who has been engaged in immigration activism (including the film Documented, over the last few years) as he travels across the country to get this conversation started. The documentary asks what’s fair when it comes to affirmative action, if colorblindness is a good thing, what privilege really means, and what it’s like to become the “white minority” in your neighborhood. That moment that you discover that you have certain unearned advantages just because of the color of your skin can be jarring – and can sometimes lead to feelings of guilt. But once you learn about your privilege, there’s actually a lot you can do that’s empowering and constructive. While white people can’t help having been born white into a system where whiteness affords them privilege, they can help to create meaningful change.

“White People” was produced by MTV, as part of its ongoing “Look Different” anti-bias campaign, in collaboration with Define American, a nonprofit co-founded by Vargas that uses the power of stories to transcend politics and shift the conversation around immigrants, identity and citizenship.  Race, immigration, identity and multiculturalism are issues with implications all over the world.


July 8, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Trump Doubles Down on Anti-Immigrant Agenda, Seeks to Capitalize on Random Killing



Donald Trump kicked off his Republican presidential bid by attacking Mexican immigrants.  Despite harsh criticism that has had many large companies distancing themselves from his business empire, is not backing away from those controversial positions.

CNN reports that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said yesterday that the seemingly random killing of a young woman in San Francisco was even more proof why voters should support his candidacy. The shooting of Kate Steinle on a city pier, police say, was committed by an undocumented immigrant who had been deported five times to Mexico. Law enforcement officials told CNN that the man had been released by the San Francisco sheriff's department despite a request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for an immigration detainer. The suspect previously had been charged with four relatively minor drug crimes and one for probation violation and illegal reentry. San Francisco policy requires that the Sheriff's Department only place an ICE hold on a detainee if supported by judicial determination of probable cause or with a warrant of arrest. For more details about the case, click here and here.



July 4, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 3, 2015

At the Movies: Jimmy's Hall


Jimmy's Hall released 2014

During the Depression, Jimmy Gralton returns home to Ireland after ten years of exile in America. Seeing the levels of poverty and oppression, the activist in him reawakens and he looks to re-open the dance hall that led to his deportation.

In 1921 Jimmy Gralton’s sin was to build a dance hall on a rural crossroads in an Ireland on the brink of Civil War. The Pearse-Connolly Hall was a place where young people could come to learn, to argue, to dream... but above all to dance and have fun. As the hall grew in popularity its socialist and free-spirited reputation brought it to the attention of the church and politicians who forced Jimmy to flee and the hall to close. A decade later, at the height of the Depression, Jimmy returns to Co. Leitrim from the US to look after his mother and vows to live the quiet life. The hall stands abandoned and empty, and despite the pleas of the local youngsters, remains shut. However as Jimmy reintegrates into the community and sees the poverty, and growing cultural oppression, the leader and activist within him is stirred. He makes the decision to reopen the hall in the face of what they may bring.

For more on Jimmy Gralton's deportation from Ireland, click here.


July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Senator Ted Cruz on Trump: ‘I Salute Donald Trump’


Donald Trump has had a tough week, being criticized from many quarters and losing many sponsors.  Today, “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd sat down with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in Marietta, Georgia to talk about his new book and his run for president. 

During the interview, Senator  Cruz (R-TX) was asked about Donald Trump's controversial comments about undocumented immigrants. 

See below for the exchange, and tune in to Sunday’s “Meet the Press” for Chuck’s full interview with Sen. Cruz.


Embed video: <iframe width="635" height="500" src="http://player.theplatform.com/p/2E2eJC/nbcNewsOffsite?guid=x_dc_mtp_cruztrump_150703" scrolling="no" frameborder="0"></iframe>


Cruz: Now when it comes to Trump. I like Donald Trump.  He’s bold. He’s brash.  And I get that it seems the favorite sport of the Washington media is to encourage some republicans to attack other republicans.  I ain’t gonna do it.  I’m not interested in Republican on Republican violence.

 Chuck: Rhetoric matters. Doesn’t rhetoric matter?


Cruz: I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration.  The Washington cartel doesn’t want to address that.  The Washington cartel doesn’t believe we need to secure the borders. The Washington cartel supports amnesty, and I think amnesty is wrong.  And I salute Donald Trump for focusing on it.  He has a colorful way of speaking -- it’s not the way I speak.  But I’m not going to engage in the media’s game of throwing rocks and attacking other Republicans. I’m just not gonna do it.


UPDATE (July 5):  From NBC Universal:

Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) left all options on the table on illegal immigration in the United States, telling “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd: “We should secure the border and then have a conversation.”

This morning’s show also featured an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of "Between the World and Me"; updates from NBC News correspondents Richard Engel, Andrea Mitchell and Kristen Welker; and a political panel discussion with Chris Cillizza ofThe Washington Post; Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post; Carolyn Ryan of The New York Times, and Michael Steele, fmr. Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Below are highlights, video clips, and a rush transcript of today’s program. Additional show video is available online at www.MeetThePressNBC.com. Join the conversation online with hashtag #MTP.

Like the show on Facebook, and follow “Meet the Press” on Twitter.

# # #

Sen. Ted Cruz on Illegal Immigration


You still didn't say what you'd do with the 11 million.


Well, my view is first, we secure the borders and solve the problem of illegal immigration.  And then I think we can have a conversation about what to do about the people who remain here.  I don't think the American people will accept any solution until we demonstrate step number one, we can secure the border.


So anything's on the table?  Potentially deportation or not deportation, but anything's on the table for the 11 million--


I think we should secure the border and then have a conversation at that point.

# # #

Sen. Cruz on Trump: I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration.  

VIDEO: http://nbcnews.to/1H59C1K


July 3, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Born to Run: Chris Christie for President?!?!?



I can't help it.  Presidential elections are just a lot of fun.  As they say, truth is stranger than fiction.  Who would have guessed that Donald Trump, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, and a fully array of characters would declare that they were candidates for the GOP nomination?  Now, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, with a personality that is larger than life, has made it official.  He is running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

An avowed fan of New Jersey native son Bruce Springsteen, Christie once supported a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants but publicly changed his view a few weeks ago as he readied his presidential run.  A International Business Times article observes that

"Christie has spent much of his time in office avoiding the issue of immigration. . . . Initially, Christie backed a pathway to citizenship. But that view has become untenable among many Republicans, who call it amnesty as they make an effort to stamp out any of its supporters in the party. In May, Christie shifted his position, saying he no longer backs that pathway. . . . There are still a lot of blanks for Christie to fill in on the issue of immigration. And, since it will be such a hotly contested issue during primary season, there will be many waiting to hear a more lengthy explanation of his views."'


June 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 29, 2015

NBC to Donald Trump: YOU are Fired!


NBCUniversal has cut its ties with Donald Trump, a recent GOP entrant in the race for the Presidency.  NBCUniversal, under pressure from an array of Hispanic and other groups, has announced that it is severing its business ties to Trump. The Miss USA pageant will no longer air on the network. Nor will the Miss Universe pageant. Both pageants were, until now, jointly owned by NBC and Trump.

"At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," the company said in a statement on Monday. "Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump."


June 29, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Donald Trump, You're Fired! Univision Cancels Miss USA Telecast After Trump's Immigration Comments

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Trump for President!?!?? Donald Trump of The Celebrity Apprentice Announces Presidential Bid By Trashing Mexico, Mexicans