Saturday, June 3, 2017
Born in in the Dominican Republic, Major League Baseball player Albert Pujols is on the verge of baseball history. With 599 home runs, Pujols will soon hit number 600, a number hit by only eight others (including Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth). Now playing for the Los Angeles Angels, Pujols previously played 11 seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals, with whom he was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player and nine-time All-Star.
Pujols moved to the United States in 1996. As a rookie for the Cardinals in 2001, he was unanimously voted the NL Rookie of the Year. While with the Cardinals, he played on two World Series championship teams. After the 2011 season, Pujols became a free agent and signed a 10-year contract with the Angels.
UPDATE (June 4): Yesterday, Pujols hit home run number 600 against the Minnesota Twins.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
World events have had an impact on one NBA professional basketball player.
ABC News reports that, after being detained in Romania and having his passport revoked by the Turkish government, Enes Kanter, who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, is back in the United States. Kanter had been on a world tour for his Light Foundation, doing charity events to provide meals and clothes, and had already made stops in a number of countries. But after a flight from the Philippines to Bucharest, Romania, Kanter was detained by airport officials and told his Turkish passport had been "canceled." Kanter announced the situation in a video on social media, saying the Turkish government revoked his passport because of his "political views." Kanter has been a harsh critic of current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling him a "dictator" and the "Hitler of our century."
According to sources, the NBA worked with the State Department to get Kanter to London late on Saturday, with Oklahoma Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford making calls on his behalf. Kanter is a citizen of Turkey, but he is a lawful permanent resident in the United States.
Sports Illustrated reports that the Turkish government has issued a warrant for Kanter's arrest.
UPDATE (June 3, 2017): Kanter, who later was the subject of an arrest warrant, later reported that the Turkish government had arrested his father.
Monday, May 22, 2017
USA Today reports the immigration backstory to professional boxer Ray Beltran's spectacular knockout victory of Jonathan Maicelo last Saturday night. Before the fight, Beltran (33-7-1) had been told by immigration experts that climbing into mandatory challenger position for the International Boxing Federation lightweight title would likely prove decisive in his long fight to become a green card holder after entering the United States as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico as a teen.
Beltran’s situation was first featured on USA TODAY Sports last week, as part of the Sports on the Border series.
Beltran seeks to convince U.S. immigration authorities that he is an "extraordinary athlete" and eligible for an employment-based (EB-1) lawful permanent resident visa. The visa is typically available to certain sportspeople, entertainers, and masters of the arts and sciences. Recently, he has been in the U.S. under a temporary (nonimmigrant) visa for athletes.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Born in Toronto, Canada, Kelly Tyler Olynyk, a professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics, had a monster game in Game 7 of a playoff series against the Washington Wizards. He played college basketball for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Olynyk scored 12 of his career-playoff-high 26 points over a three-and-a-half-minute stretch of the fourth quarter as the Celtics emerged with a 115-105 triumph over the Washington Wizards in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Friday, April 21, 2017
Outside reports on an interesting form of immigration consciousness-raising. While others are celebrating Cinco de Mayo with revelry, a group of swimmers will set out from a beach in San Diego and swim south, landing in Tijuana, in defiance of President Trump’s restrictions and rhetoric on immigration
In 2014, Kim Chambers became just the sixth person in history (of six total) to achieve the Ocean’s Seven, an aquatic version of the Seven Summits that involves open-water swims across the English Channel, the Catalina Channel (California), the Kaiwi Channel (between Oahu and Molokai), and the North Channel (between Ireland and England), among others. She’s also the only woman ever to swim 30 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge to the jigsaw of rock in the Pacific that is the Farallon Islands, a feat she checked off in 2015. Her latest mission: a 10K open water swim across the U.S.-Mexico border.
On the morning of Cinco de Mayo, Chambers and 11 other seasoned marathon swimmers from five countries will launch from Imperial Beach, the southernmost beach in California, just a few miles from the U.S./Mexico border. They’ll swim approximately one kilometer south along the coast, past the border, and land at Playas de Tijuana, roughly two-thirds of a mile into Mexico. On the U.S. side, they’ll be flanked by a crew of American kayakers who will carry the swimmer’s passports; once they cross the border they’ll be escorted by a team of Mexican paddlers along with representatives from the Mexican Navy.
"We want to cast a global spotlight on migration, which is a natural thing," Chambers says. After being raised on a farm in remote New Zealand, Chambers came to the U.S. to attend University of California, Berkeley. She holds a green card and lives in San Francisco.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
This week, the United States, along with Mexico and Canada, bid to host the World Cup in 2026.
As Paste reports, one of the big issues with the bid was the need to provide assurances to FIFA that "fans and players from around the world can actually enter the country" for the event. That's no small feat given President Trump's well-publicized efforts to put in place a travel ban. (And who knows what our immigration policies will look like in 2026!)
Here's what I find fascinating. Check out this statement from US Soccer president Sunil Gulati:
“We have very specifically addressed this with the president... He is fully supportive of the joint bid, encouraged the joint bid, and is especially pleased with the fact Mexico is participating in the joint bid.”
The "this" in that first sentence is the travel ban. So, I think Gulati is saying that Trump "specifically addressed" the issue of waiving whatever ban is in place in 2026 to make the country compliant with FIFA's rules regarding access to the game. Okaaay.
Gulati also says that Trump is "especially pleased with the fact Mexico is participating in the joint bid." A joint bid, I should say, that is being referred to as the "NAFTA bid."
While Trump hasn't given any recent indications of a desire to eliminate NAFTA, he sure ran on a platform that did. Is this a signal of a new warming to our NAFTA partners? Color me intrigued.
Monday, February 27, 2017
A first-round pick of D.C. United in the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, Miguel Aguilar is believed to be the first DACA recipient to become a professional athlete. That temporary status allowed him to work, get a driver’s license and graduate from the University of San Francisco with a finance degree and a 3.7 grade-point average.
Aguilar’s parents separated when he was 9 and his mother Carmen fought to protect two sons and a daughter in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, where running gun battles between rival drug cartels had turned the city into a danger zone. So she secured travel visas for her children and sold the family’s belongings at a yard sale to finance their journey to Sacramento, where relatives took them in.
“We were just kind of leaving everything behind,” Aguilar remembered. “We weren’t thinking of coming back.” So when those visas expired, the Aguilars exchanged life in Mexico for life as undocumented immigrants in the shadows in the U.S.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Fore!!!!! Why President Trump's immigration policy could affect golf's workforce more than you think
We know that President Trump likes golf and has built a golf course or two. Perhaps the argument that might sway him on immigration is that the administration's heightened enforcement will adversely impact golf course maintenance workers. Gabriel Thompson for Golf Digest looks at the concern that Trump's immigration enforcement policies might have on immigreant workers on the nation's golf courses.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
84 Lumber Joins Budweiser in Making Immigration a Super Bowl Sunday Story: “The will to succeed is always welcome here.”
84 Lumber's Super Bowl ad centers on a mother and daughter traveling through Mexico. This is the full ad, which includes the portion Fox deemed too controversial to air during the Super Bowl. 84 Lumber's Super Bowl ad centers on a mother and daughter traveling through Mexico. This is the full ad, which includes the portion that the Fox network deemed too controversial to air during the Super Bowl. (84 Lumber)
Thomas Heath in the Washington Post explains how building supplies company 84 Lumber sparked controversy with its Super Bowl ad featuring a Mexican mother and daughter embarking on a difficult journey north. It ends with the written words: “The will to succeed is always welcome here.” The Super Bowl ad asked viewers to visit the 84 Lumber website if they wanted to find out how the journey ended. The website version included a five-minute “director’s cut” version that concludes with the pair entering the United States through a door in the border wall, which looks more ominous and foreboding than beautiful. I found the ending to be powerful and moving. 84 Lumber’s site was overwhelmed by the traffic.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Getting the guacamole, chips, chicken wings, etc. ready for Super Sunday? Watch out for this commercial. Anheuser-Busch will run a Super Bowl commercial that tells the tale of founder Adolphus Busch and his journey as an immigrant from Germany to America. “Even though it happened in the 1850s, it’s a story that is super-relevant today,” an Anheuser-Busch BUD, -0.22% vice president, Ricardo Marques, reportedly told Adweek.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
It has been reported (and here) that Court documents filed in U.S. court in Miami list Major League Baseball star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes as a possible government witness in the case against Florida sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and his associate Julio Estrada, who are accused of smuggling Cuban ballplayers into the United States. Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu is also listed as potential witnesses in the trial, which is scheduled for Jan. 3 in Miami. Hernandez and Estrada have pleaded not guilty.
A grand jury indictment unsealed earlier this year says baseball ballplayers paid more than $15 million to a smuggling ring to leave Cuba. The ring provided the players with phony documents, false identities and secret boat travel from Cuba to Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The smugglers allegedly took a cut from any Major League Baseball contract signed by the players.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
More than 3,300 migrants have died in the Mediterranean this year, according to the IOM. Photograph: Imago / Barcroft Media/imago/Haytham Pictures
Refugees continue to die seeking to cross the Mediterranean into Europe. The latest: The Guardian reports that the goalkeeper of the Gambia’s national women’s football team died crossing the Mediterranean in the hope of starting a new life in Europe, her former coach has said. Fatim Jawara, reportedly just 19, was on board a boat that ran into trouble in the Mediterranean in late October while crossing from Libya to Europe.
More than 3,300 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean this year, according to figures from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Jawara made her debut for the national team, known as the Scorpions, a year ago in a friendly against a team from Glasgow.
Jawara is said to have left the Gambia in September to cross the Sahara and head for Libya, where most African migrants begin the sea crossing to Europe.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Stuart Anderson of Forbes focuses on the truly global nature of the 2016 World Series. This World Series has players born in at least 13 different countries. The leading country of origin for players on 2016 Opening Day rosters (and disabled lists) was the Dominican Republic (82 players), followed by Venezuela (63) Cuba (28), Mexico (12), Japan (8), South Korea (8), Canada (6), Panama (4), Colombia (3), Curacao (3), Brazil (2) and Taiwan (2).
Today, approximately 26 percent of major league baseball players are foreign-born, a more than five-fold increase from the 1940s.
In the World Series, the Chicago Cubs have 6 foreign-born players and the Cleveland Indians have 5 foreign-born, players on their rosters.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
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.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Los Angeles Dodger Adrian Gonzalez made a political statement of sorts in the team's trip to Chicago for the first two games of the National League Championship Series. The Dodgers won game 2 1-0 on Gonzalez's home run.
A.J. Perez of USA Today reports that Trump International Hotel and Tower didn’t host the Los Angeles Dodgers on their stay in Chicago for Games 1-2 of the National League Championship Series. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez had the team find him accommodations. “I didn’t stay there,” Gonzalez told the Southern California News Group. “I had my reasons.” Gonzalez, whose solo homer proved to be the difference in the Dodgers’ NLCS Game 2 victory, did not name Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as the reason he decided to go solo on the trip to the Windy City. “We’re here to play baseball not talk politics,” Gonzalez said.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, started the first game last night against the Chicago Cubs in the National League Chapionship Series. The Cubs won the opener. Maeda did not have his best outing in a no-decision.
Born in Osaka, Maeda previously was a star in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Earlier this year, Maeda signed an eight-year, $25 million, contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Maeda made his Major League debut on April 6, 2016, pitching six shutout innings. He hit a home run in his second at-bat for his first major league hit. Maeda was selected by Baseball America to their all-rookie team. He had a 16-11 record and a 3.49 ERA in his first year with the Dodgers.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
ESPN reports some very sad news from Major League Baseball. Miami Marlins pitching ace Jose Fernández, just 24 years old, was killed in a boating accident in Florida early this morning. The U.S. Coast Guard said Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach.
Fernández was born in Cuba and made three unsuccessful attempts at defecting before he was successful. He was selected by the Marlins in the 2011 MLB draft. Fernández made his MLB debut with the Marlins on April 7, 2013. He was named to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game and was later named National League Rookie of the Year.
Fernández became the first pitcher in the modern era to win his first 17 career home decisions, as well as go 24-1 in his first 25 home decisions. He was one of the top pitchers in Major League Baseball at the time of his death.
Fernández attempted to defect unsuccessfully three times; each failed defection attempt was followed by a prison term. Fernandez, along with his mother and sister, successfully defected in 2007. On that attempt, José's mother fell overboard and José had to dive into the water to save his mother's life.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Michele Waslin for the American Immigration Council reports that nearly 50 foreign-born athletes proudly represented the U.S. as part of the Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro, and eight of them won medals.
- Kerron Clement, born in Trinidad and Tobago, won Gold in the men’s 400 meter hurdles (Track and Field).
- Kyrie Irving, who won gold with the U.S. Men’s Basketball team, was born in Australia to U.S. citizen parents and has dual citizenship.
- Paul Chelimo, originally of Kenya, won Silver in the men’s 5,000 meter race (Track and Field). Chelimo is one of four immigrant Olympians who enlisted in the Army, train with the military’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), and competed for the U.S. in track and field.
- Danell Leyva, who defected to the U.S. with his family from Cuba, won two individual Silver medals in Gymnastics.
- Steffen Peters, who was born in Germany and became a U.S. citizen in 1992 won a team bronze in Dressage (Equestrian).
- Phillip Dutton, who was born in Australia, won an individual bronze in Equestrian.
- Dagmara Wozniak, who was born in Poland and came to the U.S. with her parents as a child, was part of the Bronze medal winning Saber Fencing team.
- Foluke Akinradewo, born in Canada to Nigerian parents, won Bronze as a member of the Women’s Volleyball team.
The diversity of this year’s team was evident, not only in the athletes but also their parents, coaches, and all others who helped the team succeed. Geno Auriemma, coach of the gold medal winning women’s basketball team, was born in Italy and came to the U.S. with his family when he was a child. Marta Karolyi, national team coordinator of the gold medal winning women’s gymnastics team was born in a part of Hungary that is now Romania. She and her husband defected to the U.S. in 1981.
Monday, August 22, 2016
I was watching the finish of the Marathon in the Olympics yesterday and was not sure what the Silver Medal winner was trying to convey. MSN explains that, when he crossed the Olympics marathon finish line, Feyisa Lilesa put his hands above his head in an "X." Lilesa was protesting the Ethiopian government's killing of hundreds of the country's Oromo people — an ethnic majority that has long complained about being marginalized by the country's government. The group has held protests this year over plans to reallocate Oromo land. Many of those protests ended in bloodshed.
According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people have been killed since November. For months, the Oromo have been using the same "X" gesture that Lilesa, 26, used at the finish line.
Fearing for his life, Lilesa may not be returning to Ethiopia.
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Michele Waslin for the American Immigration Council reminds us that, as the Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. is well-represented by its citizens – both native and foreign born. Forty-seven of those competing on Team USA were born outside of the country.
Some like basketball star Kyrie Irving, Boyd Martin who competes in equestrian, rugby player Madison Hughes, and water polo player Tony Azevedo were born abroad to U.S. citizen parents. Others, like sailor Bora Gulari, tennis player Denis Kudla, and fencer Dagmara Wozniak, came to the U.S. as children with their parents. Still other Olympians, like canoeist Michal Smolen, immigrated for college or as adults.
Their stories remind us how immigrants come from all over the world and contribute their talents to the U.S. Runner Charles Jock was born in a refugee camp in Ethiopia after his parents fled civil war in Sudan. He came to the U.S. with his family at age three where they were granted asylum and settled in San Diego. Nick Delpopolo, who competes in Judo was born Petra Perovic in Montenegro where he spent his first 21 months in a dirt-floor orphanage. He was adopted by American parents and grew up in New Jersey.