Saturday, October 28, 2017

Immigrant Players in World Series in Racial Controversy


Photo: Twitter                          

Its World Series time and the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros are in a dogfight.  Two foreign-born ballplayers are at the center of a controversy.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Yuli Gurriel hit a home run into to lift the Astros to a 1-0 lead in the second inning of Game 3 of the World Series.  His reaction to the homer immediately afterward has sparked controversy.

A television camera caught Gurriel appearing to ridicule Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish's Asian heritage. A giddy Gurriel, taking a seat on the bench immediately following the homer, used his fingers to act as if he was slanting his eyes and he also appeared to say, "Chinito," which translates from Spanish to English to "little Chinese boy." 

Darvish is from Osaka, Japan, and has played the past six seasons in the majors leagues, with most of his time spent with the Texas Rangers. The Dodgers acquired the pitcher in a trade in late July for the stretch run and postseason.

"Of course Houston has Asian fans and Japanese fans and Asians, like, all over the place. Acting like that, you just disrespect all the people around the world. To the Houston organization, that's not OK," Darvish said. 

Gurriel, a native of Cuba who's spent the past two seasons with the Astros, said he was informed during the game that he would have to answer for the gesture afterward.  He has apologized.



October 28, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fake News Report: International soccer star may sue Breitbart for using photo in "illegal immigration" story


The Hill reports that international soccer star Lukas Podolski is considering legal action against Breitbart News for using a photo of him in an article about illegal immigration, according to a new report.

BBC News reports Podolski, who starred on the German national team during their championship run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, has consulted with his lawyer about the matter.

The far-right website posted a story, titled “Spanish Police Crack Gang Moving Migrants on Jet-Skis,” last week with a photo of Podolski riding a jet-ski as the lead image.

Breitbart has since replaced the photo and added a correction to the bottom of their story.




August 22, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mexican Fighter Fights to be an American, Green Card


Dan Rafael on ESPN reports on an extraordinary story from professional boxing.  Moost boxers fight for money and world titles.  Lightweight contender Ray Beltran fights for much more.

Born into poverty in Los Mochis, Mexico, Beltran and his family slipped across the Mexican border when he was 16 in order to make a better life for themselves in the United States. .

Beltran has been in the United States since, but is now here legally thanks to a P1 work visa, which allows him to pursue his boxing career as an athlete who is "internationally recognized with a high level of achievement, evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country."

That visa will expire in about two and a half years, at which point Beltran would have to return to Mexico. Besides impacting his career, it also would potentially tear apart his family.  Beltran is married with three young children who were born in the United States and thus are U.S. citizens.

Beltran seeks to earn his permanent resident status as an "extraordinary athlete," which would allow him to received an EB-1 green card available to certain sports figures, entertainers, and Nobel Prize winners. If Beltran gets his green card, he can remain in the United States.

In his quest to remain in the United States, Beltran won a split decision last night (in a match in Los Angeles that this viewer thought was one-sided in Beltran's favor).


August 6, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Immigrant of the Day: Albert Pujols (Dominican Republic), Major League Baseball Player

375px-Albert_Pujols_on_April_14 _2012


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.



June 3, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball Star in International Incident


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.


May 28, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Professional Boxer Fights for Green Card


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.


May 22, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Canadian Powers Celtics to Big NBA Playoff Win in Game 7


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.

ESPN reports on Kelly Olynyk's improbable Game 7 performance.  Boston's 7-foot backup center stole the show.

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.


May 16, 2017 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 21, 2017

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


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.


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.


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

Monday, February 27, 2017

DACA Recipient a Major League Soccer Star


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.


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


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.



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.



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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Trial in Cuba Baseball Player Trafficking Case


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.


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

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Teenage Gambian soccer star dies during Mediterranean crossing


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


Photo courtesy of

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.


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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Immigrants Make It a Truly World Series


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.


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




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


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.

Trump tower

Trump International Hotel and Tower (Chicago)



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

Sunday, October 16, 2016

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


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



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.


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