January 09, 2013
DREAL : Dreams Are Real
December 22, 2012
Black Migration Film List
Here (Download Black Migration Films_Clip) is alist of films and clips (w/synopses & links) on Black migration, which was posted on the Immprof listserve.
December 05, 2012
Profile Your Immigration Law Clinic
Do you want to post a profile of your law school's immigration law clinic on the ImmigrationProf blog? If so, please feel free to send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) a profile with information about the clinic -- and perhaps pictures and a story or two about a recent case.
Lack of Latino Role Models in Books for Young Latino Readers
Earlier this week, ImmigrationProf reported on the criticism of the hit film Argo for having Ben Affleck portray the Mexican-American hero of the spy caper and effectively erasing his Mexican ancestry. Along similar lines, it appears that young Latino readers have a very difficult time finding any books with Latino characters. Read on.
Why is it so hard to find Latino role models in popular American culture? Finding Latinos in positive roles on television and film can be difficult. By the way, skip the recent Oliver Stone film Savages if you want to see positive portrayals of Latinos.
December 03, 2012
Ben Affleck's Argo and the White-Washing of the Mexican-American
I have not yet seen the popular film Argo with Ben Affleck but it sounds like a semi-historical thriller that I would enjoy. However, Moctesuma Esparza, an award winning producer, has a troubling take on the movie.
Argo is loosely based on a memoir written by Antonio "Tony" Mendez, a CIA operative, who led the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film stars Ben Affleck as Mendez.
Esparza claims that Argo
"perpetuat[es the] ethnic and racial invisibility of Latinos in Hollywood. Antonio `Tony' Mendez is an American hero of Mexican ancestry whose exploits are dramatized in the movie Argo. . . . The concern I am focusing on here is the director/producer's choice to portray Tony as if he is a white non Latino, so [Affleckl] could play the role. This is classic `brown face' at its worst. There is no reasonable justification for this choice as the film could have been cast otherwise without affecting its commerciality. Not only did a Latino actor not play Tony, who clearly in real life looks like a Chicano, but his ethnicity is stolen from the Latino community at a time when Latinos have been demonized. Our real Latino national heroes if acknowledged would dramatize our patriotism and contribution to the United States. The film actually goes out of its way to obscure Tony Mendez' ethnicity. His name (Mendez) is mentioned only once and the character says he is from New York (Tony was born in Nevada from a mining family with six generations in Nevada and raised in Colorado). Nowhere in the movie does the viewer get that the hero is Mexican American. . . . [The role of Tony Mendez] was an excellent role that would have elevated a Latino actor like Benjamin Bratt or Michael Peña."
Photos Courtesy of Tail Slate
Food for thought.
DOCUMENTARY -- Outlawing Shakespeare: The Battle for the Tucson Mind
Outlawing Shakespeare: The Battle for the Tucson Mind is a documentary that focuses on the elimination of the Mexican American Studies program within the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) in Arizona. Under a federal de-segregation decree, Mexican American Studies was created and was successful at improving academic achievement for Latino students in Tucson until earlier in 2012 when it was shut down by the TUSD School Board. Click here and here for stories on the documentary and here for an interview with the film's Executive Producer Gabriel Buelna.
The L.A. Times just completed an editorial on the abolition of Mexican American Studies in Arizona.
November 29, 2012
Immigration Article of the Day: Sources of International Migration Law by Vincent Chetail
Sources of International Migration Law by Vincent Chetail, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies November 13, 2012 FOUNDATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION LAW, pp. 56-92, B. Opeskin, R. Perruchoud, J. Redpath-Cross, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Abstract: Although migration is frequently considered as a matter of domestic jurisdiction, the movement of persons has been internationalized by a complex set of norms. The main sources of international law reveal a relatively dense picture. This chapter reviews the sources of international legal norms that govern migration by examining treaty law, customary law and general principles of law. It concludes by assessing the role of soft law on the traditional sources of international migration law.
November 28, 2012
How To Get Through A U.S. Border Checkpoint (At Least If You Look and Talk a Certain Way)
November 13, 2012
Academy Award® Nominees Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson to be Honored for Role in Raising Awareness About Domestic Workers and Need for Labor Protections
On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), will host “Leading with Love” a special gala celebration and awards dinner. The gala will celebrate the more than 10,000 nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers who work as part of the NDWA every day, as well as the movement’s special champions, Academy Award® Nominees Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson, as well as domestic worker advocates Guillermina Castellanos and Linda Oalican and domestic worker groups Casa Latina (Seattle, WA), Domestic Workers United (New York, NY), and Mujeres Unidas y Activas (Oakland, CA), who have been on the front lines of the ongoing fight to win dignity, respect, and labor protections for domestic workers in the United States.
Both Viola Davis and Cecily Tyson’s performances in the Academy Award-winning film The Help brought domestic workers into the public spotlight, sparking an unprecedented national conversation about the realities of today’s domestic workers.
WHAT: The National Domestic Workers Alliance’s “Leading With Love” Cocktail Reception, Gala Celebration, and Awards Dinner.
WHO: The National Domestic Workers Alliance, co-founded by Ai-jen Poo, called “The Nannies’ Norma Rae” by The New York Times and named one of the TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World, will host the evening.
Attendees will include: Honorees: actresses Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson; domestic worker labor activists Guillermina Castellanos and Linda Oalican; domestic workers’ rights groups Casa Latina, Domestic Workers United, Mujeres Unidas y Activas Special Guests: Michele Assellin, Mike McCoy & Voices United, Taller Cosita Seria Honorary Co-Chairs: Simon Greer, Maya Harris, Benjamin Jealous,Manuel Pastor, Cecile Richards, Richard L. Trumka, Luz Vega-Marquis Honorary Host Committee Member, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano
WHEN: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 Media arrivals-5:30 pm Red Carpet-6:30 pm Gala Kickoff-7:30 pm WHERE: National Museum of Women in the Arts 1250 New York Avenue NW (H St & 13th St) Washington, DC 20005
For a full list of Hosts and Sponsors, click here.
October 21, 2012
Jeremy Redmon of the the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on an interesting coincidence facing actor Tony Guerrero. In “Undocumented Executive,” a low-budget comedy, Guerrero plays an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who lands a top corporate job. Like his character, Guerrero is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. However, a happy ending is not in sight. Guerrero must leave the United States by January 24 or face deportation. "So Saturday night’s film premiere at the Plaza Theatre will also serve as a going away party."
October 19, 2012
Rosie Perez mocks Mitt Romney's 'it would be helpful to be Latino' comment in new video
October 17, 2012
West Coast Premiere of Shenandoah, a Documentary on the Luis Ramirez Killing
Last night, UC Davis School of Law hosted the West Coast premiere of Shenandoah, a documentary about a coal mining town with a rich immigrant heritage, which was dramatically challenged when four of the town’s white, star football players were charged in the beating death of an Mexican immigrant named Luis Ramirez. In it, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Turnley creates a deeply felt portrait of a working class community and the American Dream on trial.
Turnley and Billy Peterson, Executive Producer and CEO of Epic Match Media, were in attendance for the showing of the film. Along with Turnley and Peterson, immigration law expert (and former ImmigrationProf blogger) Professor Leticia Saucedo participated in a fascinating discussion and analysis of the film after the showing.
The film, in my estimation, is much more than about the tragic death of Luis Ramirez, although we learn many insights about that story. The film demonstrates the nation’s need to confront and address racism in modern American social life as well as the often harsh impacts that the changing national and world economies on small-town America.
Shenandoah also reveals much about the tough times in which we live in terms of immigration. Harsh talk of “illegal aliens”, “anchor babies”, and worse create the kind of environment in which a hate crime like the killing of Luis Ramirez by a group of all-American boys can occur. As has been reported, hate crimes directed at Latinos have been at high levels for a number of years. It does not seem coincidental that the frequently coarse debate over immigration, and the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, has occurred over the same time period of high levels of hate crimes against Latinos. The film this made me consider just how important moving forward on immigration reform was.
Shenandoah also causes one to think about whether the hyper-aggressiveneess of beloved high school football in a small town contributed to the violence that resulted in a tragic death. A somewhat surprising feature of the film was the personal growth of Brian Scully, one of the perpetrators of the crime, who admitted his role in the horrible incident, later testified against other defendants, and grew personally from his experience (and moved away from high school football).
Last but not least, the U.S. Department of Justice under President Obama brought federal civil rights charges against the wrongdoers after a jury in state court found the defendants guilty of only simple assault, the least serious criminal charge. That intervention thus brought some modicum of justice to those who participated in the beating death of Luis Ramirez. The Obama administration has demonstrated more of an interest in these kinds of prosecutions than the Bush administration.
If you get a chance to see Shenandoah, I highly recommend it.
October 01, 2012
Watch The Call: Fight for Immigrant Women's Rights
Sonia has worked so hard for this: a healthy family and a normal life in an average American town. But on a night that should have been like any other, she is forced to make an impossible choice that could shatter her family’s dreams forever. Keep your daughter safe -- or keep your family together? What call would you make?
September 11, 2012
At the Movies: HARVEST OF EMPIRE The Untold Story of Latinos in America
“We are all Americans of the New World, and our most dangerous enemies are not each other, but the great wall of ignorance between us.” Juan González, Harvest of Empire
At a time of heated and divisive debate over immigration, Onyx Films is proud to present Harvest of Empire, a feature-length documentary that examines the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today. Based on the groundbreaking book by award-winning journalist Juan González, Harvest of Empire takes an unflinching look at the role that U.S. economic and military interests played in triggering an unprecedented wave of migration that is transforming our nation’s cultural and economic landscape.
From the wars for territorial expansion that gave the U.S. control of Puerto Rico, Cuba and more than half of Mexico, to the covert operations that imposed oppressive military regimes in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Harvest of Empire unveils a moving human story that is largely unknown to the great majority of citizens in the U.S.
“They never teach us in school that the huge Latino presence here is a direct result of our own government’s actions in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America over many decades -- actions that forced millions from that region to leave their homeland and journey north,” says Juan González at the beginning of the film. Harvest of Empire provides a rare and powerful glimpse into the enormous sacrifices and rarely-noted triumphs of our nation’s growing Latino community.
The film features present day immigrant stories, rarely seen archival material, as well as interviews with such respected figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz, Mexican historian Dr. Lorenzo Meyer, journalists Maria Hinojosa and Geraldo Rivera, and others.
The film will soon be showing in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C.
September 10, 2012
Undocumented Immigrant for a Day: 'La Caminata' Gives Tourists A Simulated Illegal Border-Crossing Experience
Will wonders never cease?Sara Gates on the Huffington Post In the small town of El Alberto, Mexico, tourists can get the "illegal" experience. More than 100 residents are employed by the Caminata Nocturna, a simulated experience that allows tourists to act as migrants attempting to cross the border. During the four-hour Saturday night trek, participants must evade U.S. border agents, while jorneying through the dark wilderness. Since opening in 2004, the border-crossing "theme park" has been visited by thousands of people.
Filmmaker Jamie Meltzer documented the hike in his film "La Caminata," (Spanish for 'the hike') speaking to El Alberto residents who act as border patrol guards or smugglers and tourists.
September 09, 2012
Immigration Article of the Day: The Anti-Immigrant Game by Pratheepan Gulasekaram and Karthick Ramakrishnan
Abstract: Laws such as Arizona's SB 1070 are not natural responses to undue hardship but are products of partisan politics.
August 18, 2012
At the Movies: Searching for Sugar Man
Searching for Sugar Man (2012), winner of the Sundance Jury Prize and the Audience Award for best international documentary.
Here is a synopsis of the film from its website:
In 1968, two producers went to a downtown Detroit bar to see an unknown recording artist – a charismatic Mexican-American singer/songwriter named Rodriguez, who had attracted a local following with his mysterious presence, soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics. They were immediately bewitched by the singer, and thought they had found a musical folk hero in the purest sense – an artist who reminded them of a Chicano Bob Dylan, perhaps even greater. They had worked with the likes of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, but they believed the album they subsequently produced with Rodriguez – Cold Fact – was the masterpiece of their producing careers.
Despite good reviews, Cold Fact was a commercial disaster and marked the end of Rodriguez’s recording career before it had even started. Rodriguez sank back into obscurity. All that trailed him were stories of his escalating depression, and eventually he fell so far off the music industry’s radar that when it was rumored he had committed suicide, there was no conclusive report of exactly how and why. Of all the stories that circulated about his death, the most sensational – and the most widely accepted – was that Rodriguez had set himself ablaze on stage 4 having delivered these final lyrics: “But thanks for your time, then you can thank me for mine and after that’s said, forget it.” The album’s sales never revived, the label folded and Rodriguez’s music seemed destined for oblivion.
This was not the end of Rodriguez's story. A bootleg recording of Cold Fact somehow found its way to South Africa in the early 1970s, a time when South Africa was becoming increasingly isolated as the Apartheid regime tightened its grip. Rodriguez's anti-establishment lyrics and observations as an outsider in urban America felt particularly resonant for a whole generation of disaffected Afrikaners. The album quickly developed an avid following through word-of-mouth among the white liberal youth, with local pressings made. In typical response, the reactionary government banned the record, ensuring no radio play, which only served to further fuel its cult status. The mystery surrounding the artist's death helped secure Rodriguez's place in rock legend and Cold Fact quickly became the anthem of the white resistance in Apartheid-era South Africa. Over the next two decades Rodriguez became a household name in the country and Cold Fact went platinum.
August 13, 2012
Freedom University Needs Your Support
In the fall of 2010, the Board of Regents banned undocumented students from Georgia’s top five research universities. In defiance of that ban, a group of students, faculty, and volunteers opened Freedom University Georgia in the fall of 2011. FU is open to all students regardless of their immigration status or ability to pay. We hope you will take a moment to visit our website, sign the petition against the Regents' ban, and make a monetary donation or buy a book or two to support our ongoing work. Freedom University depends entirely upon your generosity.
All the best, Dana Bultman, Lorgia Garcia-Peña, Betina Kaplan, Bethany Moreton, Pamela Voekel, and Freedom University Students & Volunteers
August 12, 2012
Shenandoah: The Documentary
Shenandoah, Pennsylvania burst on the national scene in 2008, who a group of former high school football players beat an undocumented immigrant, Luis Ramirez, on a Saturday night. A documentary (Shenandoah) film has been completed and will be released this fall. Sam Dolnick offers a preview in the N.Y. Times.
This is the tantalizing synopsis of the film from the film's press kit:
"An epic feature documentary about a coal mining town with a fiery immigrant heritage, once pivotal in fueling America’s industrial revolution and today in decline and struggling to survive and retain its identity, soul and values - all of which were dramatically challenged when four of the town’s white, star football players were charged in the beating death of an undocumented Mexican immigrant named Luis Ramirez. Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Turnley’s most personal work, SHENANDOAH creates a deeply felt portrait of a working class community, and the American Dream on trial."
For details about release of Shenandoah, check out the film's Facebook page.
July 14, 2012
Is Stone's Film Savages Racist?
Oliver Stone's latest epic is the film Savages, set in southern California. The movie is about two independent marijuana growers based in beautiful Laguna Beach battling a violent Mexican cartel engaging in a hostile takeover attempt. The film, with generous amounts of graphic violence, is not likely to calm anyone's concerns about the drug wars along the U.S./Mexico border.
It seems fair to say that the film is receiving decidely mixed, if not more negative than not, reviews. An informative New Republic review can be found here.
One reviewer considers the film to "racially insensitive" as well as one of Stone's worst. I have seen the film and can say that it seems as if no person of Mexican ancestry -- at least who is not killed -- is positively depicted; at the same time, none of the main characters are without serious flaws. However, the violent "muscle" for the American pot growers (Taylor Kitsch) is portrayed in a much more heroic light (a la Chuck Norris) than his cartel counterpart (Benicio del Toro) who is reminiscent of Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in the iconic Scarface.