Monday, February 1, 2016
The 2016 Olympics are already making the news. The torch for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will pass through a refugee camp in Athens and one refugee will be among the torch bearers, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said last week. The torch will be lit in Greece's ancient Olympia on April 21 before leaving for Brazil. It will arrive in Brazil on May 3 to start its 100-day relay across the country.
Greece became the main gateway for refugees fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. "The Olympic flame will pass through this camp here and will be shown to the refugees," IOC head Thomas Bach said during a visit to a refugee camp in Athens.. "One of the refugees will be invited to carry the torch."
The IOC has said that top athletes who are refugees with no home country to represent will be allowed to compete at the Rio Games under the Olympic flag.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Born in 1979 in Cuba, Luis Ortiz is the current World Boxing Association interim heavyweight champion. Nicknamed "The Real King Kong," Ortiz is known for his size, punching power, and counterpunching skills.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Sadly, baseball legend Yogi Berra died earlier this week. As it turns out, it has been reported that Berra benefited from the 14th Amendment's birthright citizenship provisions. was he an "anchor baby"? "It's déjà vu all over again."
Hat tip to my colleague Cappy White.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
During National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.
Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.
President Obama issued this proclamation yesterday on Hispanic Heritage Month.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Former Immigrant of the Day Fernando Valenzuela, who was born in Mexico, was a star pitcher for six different teams during his Major League Baseball career, most notably the Los Angeles Dodgers, with whom he pitched from 1980 to 1990. Thanks in part to his Mexican heritage and a devastating screwball, Valenzuela touched off an early 1980s craze dubbed "Fernandomania." That year, Valenzuela became only player in Major League history to win both the Rookie of The Year award and the Cy Young Award in the same season.
One of the more amazing stats was Valenzuela's dominance against their rivals, the San Francisco Giants. He was an unbelievable 33-2 with a 1.15 E.R.A. against the Giants and pitched 10 one hitters against the orange and black. Valenzuela no doubt was happy last night was happy as his Dodgers beat the Giants with a stellar pitching performance by Zack Greinke.
The New York Times reports on Valenzuela's recent naturalization and becoming a U.S. citizen. Although he works as a Spanish-language broadcaster for Dodgers games, he rarely does interviews and, outside calling games, keeps a low media profile. According to the Times, Valenzuela declined to take part in a news conference about his new status or to do any interviews.
Hat tip to blogger extraordinaire Kit Johnson for letting me know about this Dodgers-related immigration event.
Monday, August 24, 2015
Born in Sydney, Jarryd Lee Hayne who plays for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League. He previously starred playing professional rugby for the Parramatta Eels of the National Rugby League.
ESPN has kept its eyes on Jarryd Hayne, the Australian rugby star attempting to cross over as an NFL player. In the 49ers preseason game last night against the Dallas Cowboys, Hayne again impressed as a punt returner and running back. The 49ers beat the Cowboys 23-6. In ESPN's words,
"A surprise player who looks amazing: The Jarryd Hayne Show continued. A week after the Australian rugby star accounted for 120 total yards in Houston, Hayne returned three punts for 84 yards, with each return eliciting more oohs and ahhs. His first punt return, though, was especially epic in that he made like Willie Mays with an over-the-shoulder catch before bringing it back 27 yards. He also had eight carries for 54 yards while flashing his stiff-arm to Cowboys safety Jeff Heath in the open field on a 23-yard run to the left. So, in two preseason games, the Aussie has 258 total yards, averaging 9.0 yards per carry, 21.6 yards per punt return and 33.0 yards per kickoff return."
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
There has been a fair amount written in recent years about Major League Baseball being dominated in the modern times by Latino ballplayers, many of them foreign-born. But, according the to latest statistics from ESPN, 80 percent of the leading hitters at this point in the 2015 season are homegrown:
1 Paul Goldschmidt ARI .338 POB: Wilmington, Deleware
4 Gerardo Parra MIL .328 POB: Santa Barbara, Venezuela
5 Dee Gordon MIA .326 POB: Windermere, Florida
1 Jason Kipnis CLE .326 POB: Northbrook, Illinois
2 Prince Fielder TEX .325 POB: Ontario, California
3 Nelson Cruz SEA .324 POB: Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic
4 Eric Hosmer KC .318 POB: South Miami, Florida
5 Michael Brantley CLE .313 POB: Bellevue, Washington
Sunday, June 28, 2015
The National Basketball Association draft was last week. As ImmigrationProf blog has highlighted, the NBA has increasingly gone international. The draft reflected thius and Satnam Singh became the first basketball player from India to be drafted by an NBA team. The Dallas Mavericks selected the 7-foot-2-inch, 19-year-old with the 52nd pick in the draft.
Here are the details about Singh. Although Canadian-born Sim Bhullar became the NBA's first player of Indian descent last year, Singh would be the first player actually born on the subcontinent to make the league.
Singh was born in a village in Punjab with just 700 inhabitants. They nicknamed him "Chhotu" -- Punjab for "Little One." There were no basketball courts there -- his dad's wheat farm is 4 miles from the nearest paved road -- so he was sent off to a basketball academy at age 12.
ESPN reports that three of first seven players drafted are international players. The Orlando Magic took Mario Hezonja (Croatia) with the fifth pick after the New York Knicks took Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia) at No. 4. The Denver Nuggets made it three international players when they took Emmanuel Mudiay (Congo) with the seventh selection. The only year there were more international players taken in the top 10 was 2011 (four players). With the 26th pick, the San Antonio Spurs took Nikola Milutinov (Serbia). The Spurs have drafted nine international players in the last 10 years, the most by any team.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Kenley Jansen (born September 30, 1987) is the closer for for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball. Jansen was born in Willemstad, Curaçao, which for you non-geography buffs is an island off the coast of Venezuela. Jansen's career MLB statistics are here.
Jansen has had some health issues over the last few years but appears to be fine now. Last night, he earned the save and combined with Clayton Kershaw for a one-hit 2-0 shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Jansen relies almost exclusively on a cut fastball in the 92–97 mph range, but it occasionally tops out at 100 mph. His other main pitch is a slider in the low 80s. Jansen has recorded extremely high strikeout rates, garnering 14.6 strikeouts per 9 innings through the 2012 season. This is the second-highest total in history among pitchers who have thrown at least 140 innings.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Professional basketball in the United States has become increasing international in scope, with many more players from nations other than the U.S. playing in the NBA today than a decade ago. Not surprisingly, both teams in the finals have some foreign born players:
1. Matthew Dellavedova, Australia
2. Kyrie Irving, Australia
3. Timofey Mozgov, Russia
4. Tristan Thompson, Canada
5. Anderson Varejao, Brazil
1. Leandro Barbosa, Brazil
2. Andrew Bogut, Australia
3. Festus Ezeli, Nigeria
4. Ognjen Kuzmic, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Thursday, April 30, 2015
In this article, Sam Batkins describes some of the immigration difficulties faced by several Major League Baseball stars, including Rafael Soriano, Kendrys Morales, Jose Lopez, Jose Constanza, Wirfin Obispo, Dian Toscano, Kendry Flores, Juan Sandoval, and Alex Colome.
From the Bookshelves: Uprooting Community: Japanese Mexicans, World War II, and the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands by Selfa A. Chew and Shameful Victory: The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Red Scare, and the Hidden History of Chavez Ravine by John H. M. Laslett
There are two history books that soon will be released that may interest readers of the ImmigrationProf blog.
Joining the U.S.’ war effort in 1942, Mexican President Manuel Ávila Camacho ordered the dislocation of Japanese Mexican communities and approved the creation of internment camps and zones of confinement. Under this relocation program, a new pro-American nationalism developed in Mexico that scripted Japanese Mexicans as an internal racial enemy. In spite of the broad resistance presented by the communities wherein they were valued members, Japanese Mexicans lost their freedom, property, and lives.
In Uprooting Community, Selfa A. Chew examines the lived experience of Japanese Mexicans in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands during World War II. Studying the collaboration of Latin American nation-states with the U.S. government, Chew illuminates the efforts to detain, deport, and confine Japanese residents and Japanese-descent citizens of Latin American countries during World War II. These narratives challenge the notion that Japanese Mexicans enjoyed the protection of the Mexican government during the war and refute the mistaken idea that Japanese immigrants and their descendants were not subjected to internment in Mexico during this period. Through her research, Chew provides evidence that, despite the principles of racial democracy espoused by the Mexican elite, Japanese Mexicans were in fact victims of racial prejudice bolstered by the political alliances between the United States and Mexico.
The treatment of the ethnic Japanese in Mexico was even harsher than what Japanese immigrants and their children in the United States endured during the war, according to Chew. She argues that the number of persons affected during World War II extended beyond the first-generation Japanese immigrants “handled” by the Mexican government during this period, noting instead that the entire multiethnic social fabric of the borderlands was reconfigured by the absence of Japanese Mexicans.
On May 8, 1959, the evening news shocked Los Angeles residents, who saw LA County sheriffs carrying a Mexican American woman from her home in Chavez Ravine not far from downtown. Immediately afterward, the house was bulldozed to the ground. This violent act was the last step in the forced eviction of 3,500 families from the unique hilltop barrio that in 1962 became the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers that is now known as Dodger Stadium.
John H. M. Laslett offers a new interpretation of the Chavez Ravine tragedy, paying special attention to the early history of the barrio, the reform of Los Angeles's destructive urban renewal policies, and the influence of the evictions on the collective memory of the Mexican American community.
In addition to examining the political decisions made by power brokers at city hall, Shameful Victory argues that the tragedy exerted a much greater influence on the history of the Los Angeles civil rights movement than has hitherto been appreciated. The author also sheds fresh light on how the community grew, on the experience of individual home owners who were evicted from the barrio, and on the influence that the event had on the development of recent Chicano/a popular music, drama, and literature.
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Gursimran "Sim" Bhullar is a basketball player for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for New Mexico State. On April 2, 2015, Bhullar, who is 7 feet, 5 inches tall, signed a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings.
Bhullar's parents migrated to Canada, where Sim was born, from the state of Punjab in India. His signing has made quite a media splash.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to pick up Cuban ballplayers. Today, MLB.com confirmed that Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera has agreed to a $62.5 million deal with the Dodgers. One of the most prolific offensive players in Cuba when healthy, Olivera impressed scouts in open showcases and private workouts in the Dominican Republic last month.
Monday, February 23, 2015
The National Immigration Forum ran an ad at the Daytona 500 supporting increased immigration. The ad was slated to run on the Daytona 500 Jumbotron twice an hour, 12 hours a day, including during the race. The ad also will run at the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway later in the year.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Chavez Ravine is the current site of Dodger Stadium, a Major League Baseball stadium in Los Angeles, California where the Los Angeles Dodgers play. Chavez Ravine was named for Julian Chavez, a Los Angeles councilman in the 19th century.
The above film, Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story, is a PBS documentary telling the story of how Dodger Stadium came to be. The film shows how this Mexican American community was destroyed by greed, political hypocrisy and good intentions gone awry. During the early 1950s, the city of Los Angeles forcefully evicted the 300 families of Chavez Ravine to make way for a low-income public housing project. The land was cleared and the homes, schools and the church were razed. But instead of building the promised housing, the city sold the land to Brooklyn Dodgers baseball owner Walter O’Malley, who built Dodger Stadium on the site. The residents of Chavez Ravine, who had been promised first pick of the apartments in the proposed housing project, were given no reimbursement for their destroyed property and forced to scramble for housing elsewhere.
Fifty years later, filmmaker Jordan Mechner explores what happened, interviewing many of the former residents of Chavez Ravine as well as some of the officials who oversaw the destruction of the community. Narrated by Cheech Marin and scored by Ry Cooder and Lalo Guerrero, CHAVEZ RAVINE combines contemporary interviews with archival footage and Normark’s haunting black-and-white photographs to reclaim and celebrate a beloved community of the past.
Hat tip to Ernesto Hernandez.
Monday, February 2, 2015
Some people only watch the Super Bowl for the halftime show (viewers seemed to love or hate the Katy Perry robotic, shark-infested, post-modern extravaganza) and the glitzy new commercials. (I must say that I could not tell what most of the commercials were selling.). The Coca Cola commercial raised the ire of none other than Glenn Beck, who saw the commercial as divisive and promoting immigration. While I may have missed something, the ad seemed to me to promote tolerance and inclusiveness.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Super Sunday? Super Bowl Helps Arizona Adopt More Friendly Image, But Immigrants Say They Are Still Targeted
It is finally game day and the Super Bowl will be played in a matter of hours. And it will be played on a warm winter day in Arizona, which has seen a fair amount of ferment over the years on the issue of immigration. The state's S.B. 1070, a tough immigration enforcement measure, made the national news and was struck down in large part by the Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States.
The International Business Tribune reports that, with the Super Bowl in town, new Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey met with more than 70 CEOs this week hoping to lure new investors to a state that has struggled financially for years because of a global boycott triggered by tough immigration policies. Ducey took office in January succeeding Jan Brewer, who was for many the face of Arizona's anti-immigrant movement.
In contrast, community activists opposed to the state's many anti-immigrant measures, however, said life in Arizona remains difficult for Latinos, who are often targeted by conservative lawmakers and law enforcement officials. Tensions between conservative white residents and Hispanic voters is being whitewashed during the Super Bowl to impress visitors and potential investors, the activists said. "By hosting the Super Bowl here, people think everything is fine now and everything is beautiful, but the reality is Arizona is one of the most anti-immigrant states in the union and that hasn’t changed," said Salvador Reza, who was born in Mexico but has lived in Arizona for 22 years. "We still feel it every day."
Jude Joffe-Block reports the latest on Maricopa County Sheriff (Arizona) Joe Arpaio's legal saga in Melendres v. Arpaio, a case in which a federal district court in 2013 found that Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MSCO) had engaged in a pattern and practice of discriminating against Latinos in its law enforcement activities.
District Judge Murray Snow is expected to soon order a hearing to decide whether Sheriff Arpaio should be held in contempt for violating court orders. Lawyers for the sheriff are asking to settle the charges.
In finding that the MSCO had violated the rights of Latinos in Maricopa County, the court ordered sweeping changes at the department, and appointed a monitor to oversee compliance. In recent months Judge Snow has expressed concern that the sheriff's office has seemingly violated several court orders and, earlier this month, he tentatively set aside four days in April to hold a possible civil hearing to find out if Arpaio and his commanders should be found in contempt of court.
On Friday, lawyers for the sheriff asked Judge Snow for a settlement meeting. The motion for a settlement conference was filed on the same day that Arpaio sent an e-mail to supporters announcing his plans to run for re-election in 2016, which would be the seventh term for the 82 year old sheriff.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, often featured on this blog for his immigration shenanigans, is featured in an electronic billboard overlooking Times Square in New York City welcoming Super Bowl visitors to Arizona.