Bowen Yang is the first Chinese-American cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” He is also one of the first openly gay comedians. He is getting positive coverage in the news media as a trail blazer on both grounds (and here) and praise from actress Sandra Oh who has worked with him when she hosted SNL.
So far Mrs. Yang is best known for his Kim Jong-un (for which he learned some lines in Korean), Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, and a concocted character for “Weekend Update” named “Trade Daddy.” Trade Daddy is a Chinese trade representative negotiating with the Trump administration who has an attitude: “A tariff is like a tax but it’s a little bit bitchyyy. And a retaliatory tariff is when China goes, ‘No rare earth minerals for you, you’ve been baaaad.’” For his “S.N.L.” audition, Yang he did an impression of The New York Times’s former chief book critic, Michiko Kakutani.
Outside SNL, Mr. Yang is playing a supporting role in the new Comedy Central show “Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens.” He also tours as a stand-up comedian and co-hosts the podcast Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers.
Mr. Yang is an immigrant born to Chinese parents who lived in Australia and Canada before he moved to Colorado.
It has been said before but it is worth saying again. Aviva Chomsky for the Nation reminds us that a number of President Trump's immigration policies are rooted in those of Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. As Chomsky puts it,
"In many ways, Donald Trump is only reiterating, with more bombast, ideas and policies pioneered under Clinton, that then became a basic part of Barack Obama’s approach to immigration. Those policies drew directly on racist `tough on crime' and antiterrorism police tactics that also helped foment white racial fears."
"Discover the history and contributions of Chinese Americans to California from the Gold Rush to the present day in `Gold Mountain: Chinese California Stories.'
This all-new signature exhibition explores how Chinese immigrants came to California in search of a better life, then stayed and helped to build the modern state. In so doing over the last 150 years, they triumphed over racism and other obstacles with ingenuity and perseverance.
In their stories, visitors will see the contributions that Californians of Chinese descent have made to our state’s economy, governance, and culture, and recognize the strength that comes from the state’s rich diversity.
The `Gold Mountain' Grand Opening today has a special Lunar New Year celebration featuring free admission with advance registration and an afternoon of exhibit-related programming."
Happy lunar new year! In recognition of this significant holiday, here are two stories about Asian and Asian American culture - one celebratory and one mournful.
The Asian-American Canon Breakers (Exclude Me In in the print edition of the New Yorker) profiles writer-activists who forged a cultural identity through their writings. Four writers known as the "four horsemen" -- Frank Chin, Jeffery Paul Chan, Shawn Wong, Lawson Fusao Inada -- founded the Combined Asian American Resources Project in order to mark a literary movement that distinguished between Chinese Americans who had lived in Chinatowns for multiple generations and recent immigrants to the Chinatowns who tended to be the focus of outsider writing. As Chin wrote, "“If the purpose of BRIDGE [a Chinatown magazine] is to bind me to the immigrants,” Chin wrote, “I’m not interested in being bound.”
Their writing style was colorful and irreverant. Some examples appear in the anthologies Yardbird and Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers. Some of the authors had appeared in anthologies before “Aiiieeeee!,” such as Kai-yu Hsu and Helen Palubinskas’s “Asian-American Authors” (1972) and David Hsin-fu Wand’s “Asian-American Heritage” (1974), but the style and political tone of the new movement is distinct. The New Yorker article by Hua Hsucontains detailed analysis of the specific essays within the anthologies and mentions further examples from more modern times. Definitely worth a read.
The mournful story is about a fire that likely extinguished nearly every artifact in the collection of the New York City Chinatown's Museum of Chinese in America. The 85,000 objects were kept in storage within a building at 70 Mulberry Street that serves as a cultural hub and houses a senior center, the Chen Dance Center and a number of community groups. A GoFundMe campaign has been started to facilitate recovery.
The Trump administration has named a new head of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Rodney Scott will take over for Carla Provost, who is retiring, according to an announcement obtained Friday by The Associated Press from Mark Morgan, acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Scott has been a member of the Border Patrol for 27 years, having joined in 1992 as a member of Border Patrol Academy class 252. He takes over the Border Patrol at a critical time. The agency is in charge of border security and has managed high levels of crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border. Scott has led the San Diego Sector, which includes 60 miles of border shared with Mexico and 931 miles of coastal border. He has direct oversight of the area’s eight Border Patrol stations and more than 2000 law enforcement officers and staff.
Prior to his new appointment, CPA Scott served as the CPA of the El Centro Sector, as the Deputy Chief Patrol Agent at SDC, and as the Patrol Agent in Charge at the Brown Field Station in SDC. CPA Scott also has held a variety of leadership positions, including Assistant Chief within CBP’s Office of Anti-Terrorism in Washington, D.C., and as the Director/Division Chief for the Incident Management and Operations Coordination Division at CBP Headquarters.
Joe Patrice at Above the Law reports that the Georgetown Law dean's office sent around an email informing students that, among other things, the school is considering changing law school policies to allow for the punishment of students, faculty, or staff who disrupt speakers.
As been blogged about here, the Trump administration this week moved to address "birth tourism." Some news reports make it seem that visitors are coming to the United States to give birth to U.S. citizens in large numbers. The data does not support that assertion.
"Currently, it is not illegal to come to the United States with the intention of giving citizenship to a child. There are also no definite, specific statistics as to the number of people coming to the country with that intention. However, the U.S. Center for Disease Control ("CDC") reported 7,955 births by non-residents in the year 2012, the last year this data was available, which may serve as a very rough indication of the number of individuals who come to give birth in the country." Matthew D. Kugler, Current Developments in Immigration Law: The Debate Surrounding "Birth Tourism", 32 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 321, 321 (2018) (footnote omitted).
Reuters and the Associated Press report that Mexican authorities yesterday adopted tougher measures against Central American migrants, detaining 800 of them who had entered Mexico from Guatemala intending to reach the border with the United States. Mexico is under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to contain migrants crossing through Mexico on their way to the United States.
he National Migration Institute (INM) said it had transferred 800 migrants, some of them unaccompanied minors, to immigration centers where they would be given food, medical attention and shelter. If their legal status cannot be resolved, they will be returned to their home countries.
The authors talk about the federally-administered CODIS or Combined DNA Index System. As of January 6, it's being used in a way it's never been before -- to "warehouse the genetic data of people who have not been accused of any crime, for crime detection purposes." Yikes.
Collecting DNA in this manner, the authors posit, "puts us all at risk."
Well, "once you break the norm requiring criminal conduct for inclusion in CODIS, it is difficult to re-establish." This brings us closer towards the creation of a dystopian "genetic database that will ultimately encompass anyone within United States borders, including ordinary Americans neither convicted nor even suspected of criminal conduct." And that should be concerning. Because "the more complete the information database, the more suffocating, dehumanizing — and potentially totalitarian — the society."
"What if the United States government took the DNA of vast numbers of Americans for use without their consent? The Trump administration has just brought us one step closer to that dystopia. On January 6, the federal government began collecting DNA from any person in immigration custody — previously, it had required only fingerprints. With this move, the federal government took a decisive step toward collecting and tracking large numbers of its citizens’ genetic information too."
Continuing the thread (and here) on travel restrictions for pregnant passengers: The State Department has told US embassies across the world to deny visas to people they suspect are coming to the US to give birth, according to diplomatic cables obtained by Vox. The cable, sent Wednesday afternoon, says that the new policy goes into effect on Friday, January 24.
The policy would create a barrier for pregnant people seeking a short term visa from a consulate abroad, such as the B visas that is which offered for tourists, business travelers, and people seeking urgent medical care. According to the cable, a US consular officer can’t ask a visa applicant if they are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. However, “if you have reason to believe the applicant will give birth during their stay in the United States, you are required to presume that giving birth for the purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship is the applicant’s primary purpose of travel,” the cable reads. The presumption can be overcome if if the passenger demonstrates “a different and permissible primary purpose of travel.”
The cable also says that a visa applicant “seeking medical treatment in the United States must demonstrate to the consular officer’s satisfaction that they have both the means and the intent to pay for all treatment-related costs.”
The apparent goal is to clamp down on foreigners giving birth to children in the US who become American citizens by birth. Immigration advocates and medical experts worry that the broad discretion given to consular officers could prove dangerous to pregnant people seeking medical care. The government does not track how many pregnant travelers come to the US on B visas, but 2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the new guidance would likely affect roughly 10,000 people annually.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the cable, drafted by a staffer who works on consular affairs. The State Department didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment about these concerns.
Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. Her family fled Somalia to escape the war and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. After first arriving in New York in 1992, Omar's family secured asylum in the U.S. in 1995 and lived for a time in Arlington, Virginia, before moving to and settling in Minneapolis. Omar became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
The Immigrants is song performed by different musicians. Pick your favorite version:
Here's the meat of the chorus:
The immigrants are here to stay, to help build America The immigrants ain't going nowhere, they're here for America Fighting for a better life Fighting through the grunge America remember Ellis Island We all came here to take the plunge
For many years now, I've been teaching the meaning of conviction under INA 101(a)(48) with the same analogy. I talk about the McDonald's test. As in, is this a conviction that you're legally required to say that you have when you apply for a job to work at McDonald's? Do you have to check the "yes, I have a felony" box?
I don't use a visual aid, but I was mentally referencing something like this:
And then I talk about how the answer is different for immigration purposes. Deferred adjudication might mean you don't have to check the McDonald's box but it doesn't mean that immigration won't come after you.
This has worked like a charm. Or so I thought.
I finally had a student approach me -- one who did not grow up in the United States. This student came to me in office hours to ask for the cite to the McDonald's (SCOTUS ___) test so that they could better understand INA 101(a)(48). Never having worked in the United States, this student didn't understand the concept of disclosing criminal convictions to a prospective employer.
Once I understood this problem, I took a different approach: Had this student seen Marvel's Ant Man? Yes, the student had. Phew. I could then talk about how "Baskin Robins always finds out." And then it clicked.
SO.... going forward. I am going to use the above photo. And I'm going to use this 1 minute and 16 second clip from Ant Man.
I'm hopeful this will level the playing field for non-USC-born students who may have been struggling with my McDonald's example.
"Antonio was tired of people calling him names. Staff members at the Virginia juvenile hall where he was held would call him pendejo and `nion head,'he said. After fleeing violence in Mexico at age 15 and arriving alone at the US border, he’d been sent to Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in 2016 and held alongside American teens while he awaited immigration proceedings. Shenandoah is one of two juvenile halls nationally that the Office of Refugee Resettlement uses to hold unaccompanied minors who are deemed threatening.
Antonio hadn’t broken the law, but his detention in Virginia felt like a punishment: Once, when he got in a fight with an American kid who taunted him, he says staffers restrained him by tying him to a chair for four hours, allegedly hitting him while he sat there. Over a year and a half at Shenandoah, Antonio (not his real name) says he was tied to the chair about five times. In court documents, he recounted that staffers who restrained him would sometimes put a bag over his head, meant to deter biting or spitting. `It had small holes that I could see out of, but only a little,' he said."
Click the link above for more details.
UPDATE (1/23, 7 a.m. PST): Click here for more on the changing "standards" of immigrant detention.
People fleeing immediate danger due to the climate crisis cannot be forced to return home, the UN has said.
The landmark ruling centres on the case of Ioane Teitiota, whose home - the Pacific Island of Kiribati - is threatened by rising sea levels.
Mr Teitiota applied for protection in New Zealand in 2013.
The UN rejected his claim, saying he wasn't in immediate danger, but the wording of its ruling allows others to claim asylum based on climate change.
Sending asylum seekers home when their lives are threatened by the climate crisis "may expose individuals to a violation of their rights" - specifically, it said, their right to life.
"Given that the risk of an entire country becoming submerged under water is such an extreme risk, the conditions of life in such a country may become incompatible with the right to life with dignity before the risk is realised," its decision added.
The UN ruling - which is non-binding - is the clearest warning to countries that they may be breaching a person's human rights if they send them back to a country at immediate risk of climate-related danger.
Both Kevin and Ming have recently talked about U.S. concerns regarding birth tourism. Let me add my two cents to the discussion.
Like Ming, I was struck by the story of a passenger on Hong Kong Express Airlines being asked to take a pregnancy test in a misguided effort to avoid birth tourism. Here is my personal take on her story: I feel you, and that WHOMPS.
Since hitting puberty at the age of 12, I have been asked if I am pregnant so many times that I have lost count. Doctors have asked me--refusing to listen to my denials, conducting unnecessary tests , and asking me to pay for them. Strangers on the street have stopped me to ask about my nonexistent unborn child.
This is something that happens to zaftig women. Or, put more bluntly:
Being asked if you are pregnant is the worst. It's humiliating. It's embarrassing. It stays with you.
Lest you think this is just a me issue, it is not. Just today I spoke with another woman about a doctor refusing to believe her statements that it would be biologically impossible to be pregnant, conducting a test, and requiring her to pay for it.
So I am just horrified by what this woman had to go through. To not only be asked if she is pregnant but to then have to prove that she is not by peeing on a stick in front of stranger is more than anyone should have to bear.
Putting aside the issue of whether airlines should be screening for birth tourism at all (for the record, they should not!), any airline thinking about asking a passenger if they are pregnant would do well to remember the words of the inestimable Bill Murry:
Muslim Advocates Statement on Trump’s Confirmation of Expanded Muslim Ban
WASHINGTON, DC — In an interview today, President Trump publicly confirmed that his administration is working on an expansion of the Muslim Ban. Next Monday, January 27th is the third anniversary of the first Executive Order implementing the ban. AP, BuzzFeed, CNN and other media outlets have previously reported that the White House could announce a dramatic expansion of the ban on or around that date. The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera:
“President Trump’s plan to expand the Muslim Ban is a cowardly and reckless attempt to distract the country and sow anti-Muslim hate. The Muslim Ban was wrong in 2017 and it is wrong now.
Tens of thousands of American families are already hurting and separated because of this bigoted and cruel ban. Doubling down on it won’t make any of us safer but it will allow the president to continue using anti-Muslim hate as a political weapon.
Congress must stand up to this naked and cynical bigotry by immediately passing the NO BAN Act, a historic civil rights bill that would end this ban and all religious and nationality bans. The Muslim Ban is a grave insult to our nation’s founding commitments to religious freedom and equal treatment under the law. Congress must do everything possible to end this cruelty right now.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.
"Sanders’ old approach to immigration — which included a focus on the potential harm new skilled and unskilled workers entering the US under guest worker programs would inflict on unemployed American citizens — stood out against his otherwise consistently progressive record. The stances were reflective of elements of the labor movement that saw immigrant workers as a threat, both in terms of lowering wages and reducing job prospects for union workers."
Sanders' immigration positions have changed in the last four years:
"Sanders . . . has spent time closely listening and working with immigrant rights activists, forming new policy and finding new ways to talk about the issue, in line with the more progressive conversations in this primary. And he is now running for president with the support of grassroots Latino activists and major immigrant rights groups [such as Make the Road Action]."