Tuesday, July 14, 2015
For those who discuss translation issues in immigration court, have I got the song for you. Malina Kathleen Reese sings the anthem "Let it Go" from the movie Frozen, after running the lyrics through Google Translate (several times). The result is incredibly charming with lyrics like "Give up! Give up! Tune in and slam the door!"
The song is an excellent jumping off point for discussing:
- Quality problems for esoteric languages Quality problems for fluent speakers with agendas (e.g. a Tutsi translating for a Hutu)What it might be like for clients to not have other witnesses testimony translated for them, nor exchanges between the IJ and counsel
I learned of this great song from television personality John Oliver. In October 2014, John Oliver ran a scathing report on the U.S. treatment of military translators from Afghanistan and Iraq. It's really a must watch, if you missed it.
The interview with Mohammad toward the end of the program is a particularly excellent teaching tool as it provides a venue for class discussion on how we expect people to relay stories of intense horror (his father was murdered and his baby brother was kidnapped for ransom - facts he relays with little visible emotion) and the problems with judging veracity by way of demeanor in court.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
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."'
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
It's Tuesday afternoon. Maybe you're sitting around the office trying to muster up the energy to proofread the current draft of your school's ABA site visit questionnaire. You know you could do it, if only you had a great background beat.
Ladies and gentlemen, enter Timbalive with their exceptionally catchy tune Llego mi pasaporte. And, bonus, it's a great classroom song for covering citizenship or defenses to deportation. After all, the opening lyrics are: "Ya llego, ya llego mi pasaporte, soy Americano y no hay quien me deporte...!!!"
Do watch the video. President Obama shows up. Sort of.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
CNN reports that likely Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said that he has changed his position on a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, becoming the latest Republican to recast their stance on the issue. Christie said Monday that he does not support possible citizenship for the immigrants, calling it an "extreme way to go." In 2010, the newly-elected Republican encouraged leaders in Washington to secure the border but also to "put forward a common sense path to citizenship for people."
Thursday, May 14, 2015
REO Speedwagon's Take It On The Run offers the perfect musical introduction to a discussion on the use of hearsay in removal proceedings. Listen to Kevin Cronin croon:
Heard it from a friend who
Heard it from a friend who
Heard it from another you been messin' around
The song is also an acoustic companion to Mary Halper's Confronting Cops in Immigration Court. Enjoy.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Our Immigrant of the Day comes from the pages of the New York Times. Discovered in Jakarta, Indonesia, about three years ago, Joey Alexander moved with his parents to New York last year, with the help of jazz luminaries like the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
"Joey may be the most talked-about one that jazz has seen in a while, though he is hardly alone. There’s José André Montaño, a 10-year-old blind pianist from Bolivia; Kojo Roney, a 10-year-old drummer who had a concert residency last month in Brooklyn; and Grace Kelly, 22, an alto saxophonist who made her first album at 12. The list goes on, with some prodigies developing major careers and others falling short of their early promise."
Grossman Law LLP represents Joey.
Hat tip to Dan Kowalski.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
This week's podcast features crImmigration prof César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, who spoke about European immigration. César pops up around minute 12:04 and he signs off around 33:00.
The show manages to maintain a slightly irreverent and jovial tone while tackling serious and topical immigration issues. Here's a sample question from Stephen: "Now, if you listen to our politicians here in the United States, you'll know that the solution to our immigration problem is more fencing. Probably a taller one. Probably one that is longer and maybe even electrified ... so ... has Europe considered putting a fence in the Mediterranean sea. If so, how tall?"
I also can't resist noting Stephen's musing on whether Europeans, in arguing that their immigration policies aren't racist, might say: "We're also concerned with protecting the Baltic Sea." Touché.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Your playlist today needs to include Kristina Karo's Give Me Green Card.
You may be wondering, who on earth is Kirstina Karo? I wondered that myself. She claims to be a childhood friend of Mila Kunis - the actress, former immigrant of the day, and a far more famous Ukrainian. Karo recently sued Kunis for stealing a chicken some 25 years ago.
A specious lawsuit and a hot new youtube video? Seems like Karo is living the American dream now.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known by as Selena, was an American singer. Called the Queen of Tejano music, her contributions to music and fashion made her one of the most celebrated Mexican American entertainers of the end of the 20th century. She was named the "top Latin artist of the '90s" and "Best selling Latin artist of the decade" by Billboard magazine.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
We've covered Los Jornaleros del Norte before, noting their participation in a new form of protest: singing in front of immigration detention facilities.
Check out their music video for Serenta a un indocumentado. It's an excellent song to accompany your class on detention, deportation, or unauthorized migration.
Friday, March 20, 2015
CNN reports the latest in a pop icon's legal troubles, which could ultimately lead to his removal from the United States:
"Two former neighbors of Justin Bieber have filed a lawsuit against the pop star, claiming he and his bodyguards repeatedly harassed them and their family, vandalized their house with eggs and threatened them with anti-Semitic remarks. . . . In the lawsuit Jeffrey and Suzanne Schwartz say Bieber hosted frequent loud parties and spat in Jeffrey Schwartz' face after he complained about the pop star driving his Ferrari at dangerous speeds down the street of their gated community in Calabasas, California. . . . The suit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, also alleges Bieber's bodyguards dismissed Jeffrey Schwartz's complaints by taunting him repeatedly with `what are you going to do about it, Jew boy?' The suit seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial."
Bieber was a previous Immigrant of the Day.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
If you teach Ozawa v. United States - the 1922 case where a Japanese man sought classification as being white - I've got two songs for your playlist. Both are classics.
First, I give you Michael Jackson's Black or White. And yes, your eyes do not deceive you. That's McCaulay Culkin in the video.
And, second, you cannot forget Kermit the Frog's soulful ballad It's Not Easy Being Green.
Sunday, March 8, 2015
An advocate of immigration reform in the United States, Grammy-winning Latina pop singer Shakira was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, on February 2, 1977. Her father is a Lebanese American immigrant and her mother a native of Colombia of Italian and Spanish descent. Shakira began her musical career at age 12 and quickly captured fans throughout Latin America.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
One musician award winner should not get lost in the shuffle. The Recording Academy also honored recipients of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, including Flaco Jiménez. Jiménez is a Conjunto, Norteño and Tejano music accordionist from San Antonio, Texas.
Jiménez began performing, at the age of seven, with his father, Santiago Jiménez Sr, who was a pioneer of conjunto music and began recording at age fifteen as a member of Los Caporales. He played in the San Antonio area for several years, and then began working with Douglas Sahm in the 1960s. Sahm, better known as the founding member of the Sir Douglas Quintet, played with Jiménez for some time.
Flaco then went on to New York City and worked with Dr. John, David Lindley, Peter Rowan, Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan. He appeared on Cooder's world music album Chicken Skin Music and on the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge. This led to greater awareness of his music outside America and, after touring Europe with Ry Cooder, he returned to tour in America with his own band, and on a joint bill with Peter Rowan.Jiménez, Peter Rowan and Wally Drogos were the original members of a band called The Free Mexican Airforce.
Jiménez won a Grammy Award in 1986 for Ay Te Dejo en San Antonio, one of his father's songs. He was also a member of the Tejano fusion group Texas Tornados, with Augie Meyers, Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender. The Texas Tornados won a Grammy Award in 1990, and Jiménez earned one on his own in 1996, when his self-titled album Flaco Jiménez won the Grammy Award for Best Mexican-American Performance. In 1999, Flaco earned another Grammy Award for Best Tejano Performance for Said and Done and one for Best Mexican-American Performance as a part of supergroup Los Super Seven.
Jiménez has also won a Best Video award at the Tejano Music Awards and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from Billboard Latin Magazine for "Streets of Bakersfield" with Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
for any of a dozen specific reasons without first obtaining a special license from the government. Airlines and travel agents will be allowed to provide service to Cuba without a specific license. And travelers will be permitted to use credit cards and spend money while in the country and bring back up to $400 in souvenirs, including up to $100 in alcohol or tobacco.
You, too, can vacation like Bey and Jay Z.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Those of your preparing for the Spring semester may be looking to update your in-class playlist. Or maybe you're just looking for tunes to listen to while revamping your syllabus. Let me recommend the 1962 hit "Let Me In" by The Sensations. It pairs perfectly with admission procedure. Enjoy!
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Photo by Jim Block
Michel Thomas was an extraordinary man. Born in Poland in 1914, Thomas left the country as a young man, studying in Germany and France in an effort to escape antisemitism. During WW2, he served in the French Resistance and ended up spending two years in French concentration camps. After the war, Thomas moved to the United States where he spent a lifetime teaching Hollywood stars to master foreign languages.
While Thomas passed away in 2005, his method for language learning lives on in audiotapes.
I was introduced to the Michel Thomas method by my colleague Lindsay Robertson. Lindsay knew that I was trying to brush up on my Spanish before heading to the immigration detention facility in Artesia, NM. In a past life, my Spanish was excellent. I studied through college - taking advanced literature courses and studying abroad. But it had been over a decade since I tried to use my skills.
I did many things to bring my Spanish back up to speed - and will post about them all, eventually. But without a doubt the most surprisingly effective tool was the Total Spanish series by Michel Thomas.
The Thomas CDs are different from anything I've ever listened to before. You listen as he teaches two students how to speak Spanish. In effect, you are the third student in the room. It's extra fun because one of the students isn't very good and so you won't feel like the dunce in the room as you practice.
Thomas emphasizes practical communication skills - pointing out the thousands of words that are largely the same in English and Spanish. As a result, you end up with a much more sophisticated vocabulary that you would if you tried to learn words one at a time.
These langauge CDs are a truly effective tool, whether you are looking to learn Spanish for the first time or looking to brush up on skills you already have. I'd actually recommend that clinics around the country invest in a copy for their students to borrow. (OU has a set available for students in our International Human Rights Clinic.)
Finally, I should also note that Michel Thomas was a polyglot. His language CDs are not just available in Spanish but a multitude of other languages.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Photo via NPR
But as it's the new year and some readers might not be at the AALS conference in DC (maybe you're home in the company of a virus in Norman, OK for example) - you might just be looking for a good book to read. And one of the best books I read all year was The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. Sure, it's from 2008. But you may have missed it. And it truly is a wonder.
But maybe you don't have time for a novel. A novel is a commitment after all. And once you pick of The Brief Wonderous Life, you won't be able to stop until you've devoured it whole.
So for a taste of the power of Díaz' writing, I offer you something shorter: his essay for Conde Naste Traveller on Fukuoka, Japan's Next Great Food City. Seriously. It's amazing.
And here's the musical accompanyment to that article:
Saturday, December 6, 2014
It was a long drive back to Oklahoma from Artesia. Especially since I haven't gotten a lot of sleep this week. I kept myself awake by dancing to Daddy Yankee - a Puerto Rican artist. Are you likely to use these in class? Probably not. But I am told that dancing is a good method for managing secondary trauma. And, so, for your listening pleasure...