Saturday, October 22, 2016
(Photo: Casa Migrante)
This Los Angeles Times video provides coverage of a legal clinic in Tijuana, MX for migrants, refugees and deportees organized by Al Otro Lado, a non-profit co-founded by Los Angeles attorney Nora Phillips. (We previously blogged about Al Otro Lado here). The clinic brought together immigration lawyers, interpreters, students, and even a doctor to provide triage-style advice to individuals in Tijuana, many of whom were Haitian migrants at the US-Mexico border.
Southern California Public Radio has an interesting segment on a little-known lynching of eighteen Chinese immigrants that took place in Los Angeles's Chinatown in 1871. While 8 individuals were prosecuted for the racialized violence, their convictions were eventually overturned.
The Chinese American Museum of Los Angeles will be holding a panel discussion and commemoration of these events on Monday, October 24.
In, "How a Clinton-Era Law is Still Criminalizing Immigrants Today," Vice.Com shares stories of individuals detained and deported - and families separated - as a result of the 1996 laws the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). Numerous immigrations scholars have critiqued these two laws since they went into effect, and the individual stories continue to be powerful.
The Supreme Court yesterday released its December calendar and set oral argument in Jennings v. Rodriguez, which involves the question whether bond hearings are required in cases of the detention of immigrants, for Wednesday, November 30. It is the only case set for argument that day.
Stay tuned for updates.
The Underground by Hamid Ismailov
After Uzbek author, journalist, and poet Hamid Ismailov was forced into exile when the government declared his work subversive, he emigrated to London, where he now works at the BBC as the Head of the Central Asian Service. His stunning novel The Underground tells the story of a biracial orphan growing up in late-Soviet Moscow.
From the Bookshelves: How to Travel without Seeing: Dispatches from the New Latin America by Andrés Neuman
How to Travel without Seeing: Dispatches from the New Latin America by Andrés Neuman Translated from the Spanish by Jeffrey Lawrence A kaleidoscopic, fast-paced tour of Latin America from one of the Spanish-speaking world’s most outstanding writers.
Lamenting not having more time to get to know each of the nineteen countries he visits after winning the prestigious Premio Alfaguara, Andrés Neuman begins to suspect that world travel consists mostly of “not seeing.” But then he realizes that the fleeting nature of his trip provides him with a unique opportunity: touring and comparing every country of Latin America in a single stroke. Neuman writes on the move, generating a kinetic work that is at once puckish and poetic, aphoristic and brimming with curiosity. Even so-called non-places—airports, hotels, taxis—are turned into powerful symbols full of meaning. A dual Argentine-Spanish citizen, he incisively explores cultural identity and nationality, immigration and globalization, history and language, and turbulent current events. Above all, Neuman investigates the artistic lifeblood of Latin America, tackling with gusto not only literary heavyweights such as Bolaño, Vargas Llosa, Lorca, and Galeano, but also an emerging generation of authors and filmmakers whose impact is now making ripples worldwide.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky
The magnum opus from Alejandro Jodorowsky—director of The Holy Mountain, star of Jodorowsky’s Dune, spiritual guru behind Psychomagic and The Way of Tarot, innovator behind classic comics The Incal and Metabarons, and legend of Latin American literature.
There has never been an artist like the polymathic Chilean director, author, and mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky. For eight decades, he has blazed new trails across a dazzling variety of creative fields. While his psychedelic, visionary films have been celebrated by the likes of John Lennon, Marina Abramovic, and Kanye West, his novels—praised throughout Latin America in the same breath as those of Gabriel García Márquez—have remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world. Until now.
Where the Bird Sings Best tells the fantastic story of the Jodorowskys’ emigration from Ukraine to Chile amidst the political and cultural upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries. Like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Jodorowsky’s book transforms family history into heroic legend: incestuous beekeepers hide their crime with a living cloak of bees, a czar fakes his own death to live as a hermit amongst the animals, a devout grandfather confides only in the ghost of a wise rabbi, a transgender ballerina with a voracious sexual appetite holds a would-be saint in thrall. Kaleidoscopic, exhilarating, and erotic, Where the Bird Sings Best expands the classic immigration story to mythic proportions.
Tariq and Tabinda Sheikh
In a season of mean-spirited talk about immigration and immigrants, it is nice to hear an upbeat immigrant story. NPR on its Story Corps had a lovely one today.
When Tariq Sheikh first saw Tabinda, he remembers she was wearing yellow gloves. A recent arrival from the Dominican Republic, Tabinda had just taken a job as a housekeeper at a New York City hotel — the very same hotel where Sheikh worked at the hotel's front desk.
And when Tariq saw her, he was utterly tongue-tied. He couldn't even say hello.
"Oh, I thought you was rude and mean," she tells him, on a visit with StoryCorps in 2014. "I said, 'Oh my God, this guy don't even say hi.' You're just staring at me!"
But there were a very simple reason for his silence at the time, he tells her: She was the woman of his dreams. "Yeah," she answers, "but I didn't have that dream!"
Still, Tariq, who was an immigrant from Pakistan himself, built up his courage to ask her out for coffee. And it took her two days to answer — but she had a good reason, too: "because I didn't know how to speak English," she explains.
The International Organization for Migration reports that 319,711 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 19 October, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy. Some 168,857 people have arrived in Greece and 145,381 in Italy during 2016. The total is well below the number of arrivals at this point in 2015, when over 650,000 migrants and refugees had made the journey.
I found the description of migrant deaths to be chilling, with the routine nature of the report of the real human tragedy sounding akin to a weather report:
"Some 3,654 people have died trying to make the crossing in 2016. These include five bodies recovered on Wednesday, when an Irish navy ship encountered a rubber boat and rescued 118 survivors off Libya.
By comparison, deaths through 21 October 2015 stood at 3,138 – 2,822 of them on the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy."
When Latino colleagues from across NPR shared their families' immigration stories for Hispanic Heritage Month, their essays were full of things achieved and things surrendered; cultures celebrated and cultures lost; decisions made by choice and by coercion. Camille Salas, a librarian, wrote about her grandfather's decision to join the Navy in exchange for U.S. citizenship. Cecily Meza-Martinez, of News Operations, wrote about her family's hardships and achievements, which included a role in building Disneyland. Producer Ana Lucia Murillo wrote about how her father crossed the border from Mexico to the U.S. in the bottom of a van marked "Laundromat." Click the NPR link above for more stories.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
New York Times reporters ERICA BERENSTEIN, NICK CORASANITI and ASHLEY PARKER have covered Donald J. Trump's rallies for more than a year. His supporters at these events often express their views in angry and provocative ways. The video includes chilling expressions of hatred directed at women, immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, and others. Its only a little over three minutes but offers much food for thought about the America in which we all live.
Louisiana State Flag
Last week, ImmigrationProf reported on a law that restricted the marriages of immigrants. That law may not be long for this world.
With the help of the National Immigration Law Center, a Louisiana man is challenging the law, which denies some immigrants in the state the fundamental right to a legal marriage. Viet “Victor” Anh Vo filed the lawsuit Vo v. Gee, et al. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He and his partner were prevented from obtaining a marriage license in multiple Louisiana parishes because of a state law that requires any foreign-born person to present a certified birth certificate to obtain a marriage license.
Vo, 31, is a U.S. citizen and has been a resident of Louisiana since he was three months old, but he was never issued an official birth certificate because he was born in a refugee camp in Indonesia after his parents fled Vietnam. His partner, Heather Pham, also is a U.S. citizen.
Vo is represented pro bono by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ), and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom LLP. The complaint filed today is available here.
My Shingle, which focuses on sole practitioners, profiles Mitra Nejat, an Orange County immigration attorney who came to the United States from Iran in the 1970s as a teen, started law school later in life and built a thriving immigration law practice.
Sounds like an Immigrant of the Day candidate to me.
Immigration Article of the Day: Refugees in Our Midst: Applying International Human Rights Law to the Bullying of LGBTQ Youth in the United States by Marisa Silenzi Cianciarulo
Refugees in Our Midst: Applying International Human Rights Law to the Bullying of LGBTQ Youth in the United States by Marisa Silenzi Cianciarulo, Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law February 26, 2016
Abstract: This Article explores the severe bullying of LGBTQ students from a comparative international human rights perspective. Modern international refugee law, in existence since 1951 and accepted by 146 countries, provides a useful framework for evaluating the seriousness of the harm experienced by bullied LGBTQ youth in the United States. Applying international refugee law, this Article assesses whether the failure of U.S. schools and governments to protect children who are victims of physical and psychological bullying on account of their actual or perceived sexual orientation constitutes a violation of human rights such that were such students to seek asylum in another country they would likely qualify. In order to make this determination, the article assesses whether bullied LGBTQ students in the United States suffer harm severe enough to constitute persecution; whether the persecution occurs on account of the students’ membership in the particular social group of “transgender students and students with actual or perceived lesbian, gay or bisexual sexual orientation”; whether the federal government has refused to provide protection to such students by failing to pass legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, or legislation specifically aimed at protecting LGBTQ students from violence and other forms of severe bullying in schools; and whether individual state and local governments have allowed the persecution of LGBTQ students to proliferate by curtailing, refusing to enforce, or refusing to implement policies aimed at protecting them. The Article concludes with a determination of whether bullied LGBTQ youth in some U.S. locations are victims of state-sponsored or state-permitted human rights violations and provides appropriate recommendations.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Tonight, the nation saw the third and final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The debate was held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Chris Wallace of Fox News was the moderator. Here is a complete transcript.
The 90-minute debate started off in a subdued fashion only to heat up in the last hour. The sniping between the candidates grew increasingly heated. The candidates frequently talked over one another. Generally speaking, Clinton spoke substance and Trump had sound-bites and one liners. In many ways, each candidate played to his or her base.
The first topic was the Supreme Court. Clinton emphasized that she wants a Court that stands up for individual rights, not those of corporations. She expressly stated the need to maintain Roe v.Wade and marriage equality. Trump criticized Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg for her public criticism of Trump. He promised to appoint Justices who would uphold Second Amendment rights, be pro-life, and would interpret the Constitution according to the framers' intent. Clinton defended her criticism of the Heller decision and emphasized that, having lived many years in Arkansas, she believed in Second Amendment rights. On abortion, Trump admitted that the appointment of right to life Justices would mean the end of a woman's right to choose (with states being permitted to regulate abortions). Clinton defended her pro-choice positions and emphasized that government should not be involved in these most difficult personal decisions.
The next topic was immigration. There was nothing too surprising here except that the discussion got sidetracked into one about Putin and Russia.
Trump criticized any amnesty for undocumented immigrants and repeatedly called for "strong borders." He mentioned that there were parents in the audience who had children who had been killed by immigrants. Trump accused Clinton of supporting "open borders." He said that the nation needed "strong borders" to keep drugs out of the country. Trump further reiterated his support for the "wall"; with Trump-like flair, he said that we had to get some "bad hombres" out of the country, a reference that was trending after the debate.
Clinton said that she did not want to destroy families through deportations; she emphasized that is what Trump's "deportation force" would do. Clinton emphasized that mass deportations would "rip the country apart." Still, Clinton expressed support for the deportation of violent immigrants. She said she would introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill in her first 100 days. It would include a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. Clinton also expressed support for increased border security.
At a couple of points, Trump seemingly criticized the Obama administration for mass deportations. Clinton made it clear that she did not support open borders. Chris Wallace quoted a portion of a speech on Wall Street made public by WikiLeaks in which she seems to express support for free movement within a common market similar to the European Union. Clinton deflected the discussion to blaming Russia's Vladimir Putin for the leak. A lengthy digression to Russia and Putin sidetracked the debate away from immigration.
The economy was the next topic of the debate. Both candidates said that they would create more jobs. Trump said that Clinton's tax plan was a "disaster" and would lead to a massive increase in taxes. He promised to reduce taxes. Trump claimed to be a free trader but still would renegotiate NAFTA and get a better deal.
Fitness to be President? In some ways, the entire debate touched on this all-important topic. Chris Wallace asked Trump about the many accusations by numerous women about his conduct toward women. Clinton attacked Trump for attacking the dignity of the accusers and challenged the nation to make a statement about "who we are as a nation." In a statement that is truly hard to take seriously, Trump said "nobody has more respect for women than I do." Rather than worry about unsubstantiated allegations, he said that voters should focus on Clinton's missing e-mails.
The sparring continued about the Clinton Foundation, pay for play, etc., with the candidates frequently talking over each other. At one point, Clinton mentioned that undocumented immigrants -- about half whom pay federal income taxes through use of a Tax Identification Number -- paid more in taxes than Donald Trump.
The following discussion of the debate grabbed the most headlines: When asked whether he will accept the results of the election, Trump equivocated and said that he would look at what he sees on election day. Trump said that, because of her criminal activity over many years, Clinton should not be permitted to run for President. Clinton criticized Trump for repeatedly claiming that the election was rigged.
Foreign policy was the next topic of discussion. The debate meandered, touching on ISIS, Syria, Aleppo, Mosul, a refugee crisis (and, according to Trump, many ISIS-aligned people within our borders). Clinton said that careful, thorough vetting of any and all refugees but would not allow the nation to turn its back on women and children.
The final topic was the national debt and entitlements. The candidates talked about ways of reducing the debt. Among other things, Trump would end Obamacare.
Chris Wallace allowed each candidate to have a one-minute final statement. Clinton emphasized her desire to reach out to all Americans. Trump promised that he would make America great again and a country where "illegal immigrants" are not treated better than veterans. This is what he said precisely:
“We take care of illegal immigrants — people who come into our country illegally — better than we take care of our vets.”
The factcheckers at the Washington Post stated bluntly that this is an absurd comparison that has received Four Pinocchios.
If you have small children at home, you may feel compelled the skip the televised Presidential debate out of a desire to shield them from hearing what Trump has to say (or, alternatively, how you might react to the content of the debate). Some Twitter hashtags that can provide an alternate venue to track the debate include #DebateNight and #Debates2016, or, for immigration-specific coverage, #immigration, #fightforfamilies, and #endfamilydetention.
The Latin Times reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers will try to go up 3-1 in the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. 20-year-old Julio Urias will start for the Dodgers. This will be the first career postseason start for the Mexican-born pitcher, and just his second playoff appearance. Urias made a two inning appearance against the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series.
Febin Bellamy is a Georgetown University business student, immigrant from India, and founder of the Facebook group Unsung Heroes.
As WaPo reports, Bellamy was inspired to start the group after getting to know a janitor (and fellow immigrant) working at Georgetown. Their connection led Bellamy to "see" previously "invisible" workers across his campus. And he looked for a way to facilitate more student-staff connections.
What Bellamy came up with was a Facebook group where he posts photographs of Georgetown workers alongside their stories (a la HONY).
Many, it turns out, are immigrants.
The shared stories have not only increased communication on campus, but they've led to pretty remarkable fundraisers. For example, students raised several thousand dollars to help a cafeteria cashier return to Southern Sudan to visit family there.
Bellamy has plans to expand Unsung Heroes beyond the Georgetown campus. That, I know, is a campus movement we could all get behind.
In this publication (“What’s the Big Idea? Recommendations for Improving Law and Policy in the Next Administration”) from the American Constitution Society, Professor Cristina Rodriguez outlines possible immigration reform in a new administration.