Friday, April 21, 2017

These Swimmers Are Challenging Trump’s Immigration Platform on Cinco de Mayo

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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.

KJ

April 21, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What World Cup Bid Signals for Muslim Ban, NAFTA

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.

-KitJ

April 13, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 27, 2017

DACA Recipient a Major League Soccer Star

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The Los Angeles Times reports on an immigrant who benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

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.

KJ

February 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fore!!!!! Why President Trump's immigration policy could affect golf's workforce more than you think

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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.

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KJ

February 26, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

84 Lumber Joins Budweiser in Making Immigration a Super Bowl Sunday Story: “The will to succeed is always welcome here.”

ImmigrationProf previously highlighted the Budweiser pro-immigrant story told by commercial during the Super Bowl, which saw an amazing comeback by a Trump-backed team known as the Patriots. 

 

 

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.

February 7, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl Commercial | “Born The Hard Way”

 

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.

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KJ

February 1, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Trial in Cuba Baseball Player Trafficking Case

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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.

KJ

November 16, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Teenage Gambian soccer star dies during Mediterranean crossing

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More than 3,300 migrants have died in the Mediterranean this year, according to the IOM. Photograph: Imago / Barcroft Media/imago/Haytham Pictures

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Photo courtesy of NAIJ.com

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.

KJ

November 3, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Immigrants Make It a Truly World Series

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It has been an exciting World Series 2016, more for Cleveland Indians fans than Chicago Cubs ones. Ahead in the series 3-1, Cleveland is on the verge of becoming World Champions.  

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.

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Carlos Santana, born in the Dominican Republic, hit a home run for Cleveland in Game 4.

 

KJ

 

October 30, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Julio Urias, Mexican Athlete, To Become Youngest Pitcher For MLB Postseason Game

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez refused to stay at Donald Trump's hotel in Chicago

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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.

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Trump International Hotel and Tower (Chicago)

KJ

 

October 18, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Immigrant of the Day: Kenta Maeda (Japan), Los Angeles Dodgers

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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.

October 16, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

RIP Jose Fernandez, Cuban American MLB Star

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ESPN reports some very sad news from Major League BaseballMiami 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.

KJ

September 25, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Eight Foreign-Born Olympians Win Medals for Team USA

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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.

KJ

August 27, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ethiopian Silver Medal Winning Olympics Marathoner Protests Government

 

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.

KJ

August 22, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Team USA Includes These Immigrants and Foreign-Born Athletes Competing for Gold

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.

KJ

August 6, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

First-Ever Refugee Team Hit of Rio Olympics

 

The first-ever Refugee Team is a hit at the Olympics in Rio.  According to news reports (and here), the crowd at Maracanã Stadium during the Olympic opening ceremony last night reserved its loudest cheers for the Refugee Olympic team. The International Olympic Committee previously announced that it would field a team under its own flag earlier;  It announced a 10-person team in June. The team of six men and five women fled their home countries — Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo. They are swimmers, runners, and judokas.

The International Olympic Committee named 800m runner Rose Nathike Lokonyen, originally from South Sudan, to be the team’s flagbearer at the opening ceremony.  Rose carried the Olympic flag. The young runner arrived in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya in 2002 and is part of the Tegla Loroupe Foundation.

 

 

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In more Olympics news, NBC reports that people living in the world’s largest refugee camp will now be able to watch the 2016 Rio Olympics.   The International Olympic Committee has partnered with FilmAid International, an organization that brings film to displaced people across the world, to broadcast the games for almost 200,000 people living at the refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, for the next 16 days, according to olympic.org

KJ

August 6, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Immigrant of the Day: Robinson Cano, Professional Baseball Player, Dominican Republic

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Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano got his name from his father, who admired baseball great Jackie Robinson.  Born in the Dominican Republic, Cano came to the United States to play baseball.  In 2012, Cano became a U.S. citizen.

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Cano was born Oct. 22, 1982 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. The city is often called “The Cradle of Shortstops” because so many of them have come out of this city.  His father, Jose Cano, played briefly with the Houston Astros in the 1980s Cano spent most of this childhood in the Dominican Republic.

Canó is a six-time All-Star (2006, 2010–2014) and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2006, 2010–2013). He won two Gold Glove Awards (2010, 2012) and has been named American League Player of the Month twice (September 2006, April 2010). In 2011, Canó won the Home Run Derby. He was a member of the Yankees' 2009 World Series championship team and the Dominican Republic's 2013 World Baseball Classic championship team, for which he won the tournament's most valuable player award. 

 

KJ

July 4, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Soccer dream becomes an immigration nightmare

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Brooke Gemmell, Buba Jobe and Don Gemmell (Courtesy of Gemmell family)

This story is nothing less than an immigration nightmare!  .

Bubacarr Jobe was born in Gambia, a tiny West African nation where a third of the population earns less than $1.25 a day.  His passage to his soccer dream consisted of flights to Senegal, Morocco, Newark (N.J.), St. Louis, Memphis and finally Houston.  Jobe, or “Buba” as he’s known, misses those Houston skyscrapers. There’s a chance he won’t see them again, because Bubacarr Jobe is a young man has an immigration crisis.  He is an athlete with a team but without a country.

Buba Jobe’s journey to the United States began in 2011.  When he arrived in Texas, just 16 years old, he found himself stunned by luxuries like hot water and electricity and baffled by animals who lived inside people’s homes. 

Soon after he got to Houston, Buba tore his ACL. The coach of the Rush, Don Gemmell, along with his wife, Brooke, took him in. Through the rehab, the three became close.

Gemmell hoped to help Buba stay in the U.S., and a lawyer advised him to obtain a Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa. The family went ahead. But before that process was complete, Buba turned 18 and his visitor’s visa had expired.

“He became unlawfully present,” says John Sandweg, a former general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security. “He became illegal.”

The family wasn’t aware of this mistake until they traveled to Canada to apply for the new visa at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa. Officials there looked at his case, immediately saw that Buba was in the U.S. without a valid visa, and banned him from returning to the States for 10 years.

“We were horrified,” Gemmell says. “My wife was in tears. So here we are in Ottawa. We have to put him on a train to Toronto to my hometown. Buba has never set foot on a train. It was so gut-wrenching saying goodbye. He was supposed to come back and play in the USL (United Soccer League).”

The Gemmells went back to Texas. Buba went to London, Ontario, to stay with Gemmell’s extended family.

“We all go to Canada and then I get rejected and they have to go back to the USA,” Buba says. “It was scary.”

Buba remains separated from his only family in the US while he lives in Canada.

 

 

KJ

July 1, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fox Sports takes reporter Emily Austen off the air after racist remarks

 

Cindy Boren of the Washington Post reports that Emily Austen, a Fox Sports Florida and Fox Sports Sun sideline reporter who covers the Tampa Bay Rays and Orlando Magic, has been taken off the air after making derogatory, racist and anti-Semitic remarks on Barstool Sports' "Rundown" show this week.   Austen disparaged Mexican, Chinese and Jewish people, as well as Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, on the daily show broadcast on Facebook Live.  Asked about a high school valedictorian who said on Twitter that she was an undocumented immigrant, Austen said: "I didn't even know Mexicans were that smart. . . .That's f---- up. I didn't mean it like that. You see, you guys know that the Chinese guy is always the smartest guy in math class." 

The above is an excerpt of the video, the entirety which can be found on Vimeo.

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Emily Austen

KJ

June 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)