Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Yasiel Puig Spends Final Day of Suspension Becoming U.S. Citizen


Jenna West for Sports Illustrated reports that Cleveland Indians outfielder Yasiel Puig during a three-game suspension from Major League Baseball to become a U.S. citizen. Puig made the announcement on Instagram today posting the picture of him above. "Thank you God for this great opportunity to be an American citizen," he wrote.

Today is the final day of Puig's suspension for his role in the brawl between the Piitsburg Pirates and Cincinnati Reds on July 30. He was one of eight individuals suspended, which occurred shortly after Cincinnati traded him mid-game in a three-team deal that sent Indians starter Trevor Bauer to the Reds in exchange for Puig.




August 14, 2019 in Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

At the Movies: Immigration taken on in new short film, “Illegal Rose,” starring Jasmine Guy


Illegal_Rose_Trailer- from Coffee Bluff Pictures on Vimeo.

Award-winning filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper 


The short film “Illegal Rose,” which tackles the timely issue of immigration, is kicking off its film festival run. Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper, the film stars Jasmine Guy (“A Different World,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Vampire Diaries”) and introduces newcomer Lucca Rodriguez-Pedraza.


“Illegal Rose” is set to screen at the BronzeLens Film Festival as a part of the festival’s Cinema and Social Justice Sunday lineup. The BronzeLens screening will be held Sunday, Aug. 25 at 1:00 p.m. at the Fulton County Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW, Atlanta. Doors open at noon. Tickets are free but must be reserved at


“Illegal Rose” tells the story of an unlikely friendship between Rose, a tired, disengaged, almost retired nurse who accidentally kidnaps Sylvie, a 7-year-old ICE detention center runaway, on the 4th of July.  The two women change each others lives and perspectives. “Illegal Rose” explores respect, decency and kindness through two people of different generations, ages, races and legal status, as they navigate their choices and the consequences.


“My vision with ‘Illegal Rose’ is to create a dynamic and thoughtful conversation about humankind and the importance of being both human and kind to one another,” Riley Draper said. “I hope to build empathy, encourage audiences to deeply and directly immerse themselves in the circumstances of all others, and prompt action and engagement on the neighborhood, community and national level in a positive way. ‘Illegal Rose’ reminds us that we are all human and no human being is illegal.”


Comcast will host a private screening for its employees in mid-August. The film also is slated to screen at the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival and the Capital City Urban Film Festival in Austin, Texas in September with more screening announcements coming soon.


Riley Draper is a 2017 NAACP Image Awards nominee, on the 2016 Variety magazine “Top 10 Documakers to Watch” list, and a 2018 Facebook SEEN Initiative alumna. She has written and directed the award-winning films “Versailles ‘73: American Runway Revolution” and “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice.” Riley Draper will direct her screen adaptation of “Coffee Will Make You Black,” produced by Octavia Spencer, Gabrielle Union and Tate Taylor.


“Illegal Rose” is presented by Russell M. Williamson Sr. in association with Williamson Media Group and Coffee Bluff Pictures. Executive producers include: Russell M. Williamson Sr., Cheryl Polote-Williamson, Elaine M. Brown, Nina-White Hodge, Michael A. Draper, Toni T. Ellis, Laurie Evans, Dretona Maddox, Rachel Mathews, Carla Tyson, and James Hutchinson.



August 13, 2019 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 12, 2019

US/Mexico Border Mural aims to "erase" U.S. border with mural showing faces of deportation


The Fresno Bee reports on a mural along the United States-Mexico border wall in Tijuana. The mural was completed last week at Playas de Tijuana in an effort spearheaded by Fresno State alumna Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana to bring awareness around immigration and deportation.  The project is part of De La Cruz Santana’s dissertation at UC Davis, where she is currently a doctoral student in Spanish with an emphasis on human rights.


Visitors view a new mural displayed on the Mexican side of a border wall in Tijuana, Mexico, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. The mural shows faces of people deported from the U.S. with barcodes that activate first-person narratives on visitors’ phones. Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana conceived the interactive mural in Tijuana as part of doctoral dissertation at the University of California, Davis. (AP Photo/Elliot Spagat) Elliot Spagat AP


August 12, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

At the Movies: Best of Luck with the Wall


Check out this short film.  Sarah Larson for the New Yorker describes the film as follows:

"In six mesmerizing minutes, Josh Begley’s short film `Best of Luck with the Wall,' produced by Field of Vision, shows a succession of satellite photographs of the border between the United States and Mexico—all nineteen hundred and fifty-four miles. As you watch, an urgent, minimalist score plays, and the complexity of the changing landscape—watery, forested, industrial, arid, desolate, suburban, populous—unfurls."



August 6, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

At the Movies: Love Will Find a Way Home


Love Will Find a Way Home from Yo San Miguel Gallery on Vimeo.

One day you are living the American Dream -- a great job, a beautiful family, a stake in the community. Suddenly you are being uncuffed by ICE agents at the Mexican border and told to keep walking. South. Omar Rogel and his family are lucky. They turned this tragedy into a beautiful new life, but one that will likely never again include the country that was the only home they ever knew.

Review by Martin O'Malley:   "Thank you John Bohnel and Cast of Character productions, for producing such a thoughtful short documentary. And best wishes for the Rogel-Orwin family and there pursuit of a new life here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. `The family is the first essential cell of human society.' –Pope John XXIII."


July 28, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Orange is the New Black Takes on Immigration Detention


The final season of Orange is the New Black, which was made available on Netflicx today, looks at one of the inmate's (Blanca's) experiences in immigration detention.  I have not watched it yet but will fill readers in when I have.


July 26, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 12, 2019

At the Movies: American Beat: Cops and Refugees Join Forces in Boise


Since the 1970s, thousands of refugees from countries like Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Somalia have started new lives in Idaho. The new documentary American Beat: Cops and Refugees Join Forces in Boise weaves together three heartwarming stories that rise above the divisive politics of immigration: the groundbreaking efforts of Boise police officers to integrate and mentor refugees; the determination of a former Iraqi translator for the U.S. military who is putting down roots in a new country with his family and dreaming of becoming a police officer; and a portrait of Boise itself, coming together to show refugees from war-ravaged parts of the world that, in America, a united community can conquer tragedy and hate.


"American Beat: Cops and Refugees Join Forces in Boise," created with Gail Ablow and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, won in the "Public/Current/Community Affairs - Program/Special" category at the Northwest Regional Emmy Awards. This year’s Northwest Emmys took place at Seattle’s Fremont Studios where Blue Chalk was represented by creative director, Rob Finch, and producer Whitney Bradshaw.


July 12, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Fact Sheet: Children at the Border: What You Need to Know


Do you want to learn the facts about migrant children at the border? Then check out this two page fact sheet:  Children at the Border: What You Need to Know (updated June 25, 2019) by Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic.




June 25, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Fathers Day to Mr. Viramontes! Your Immigrant Twins Graduate from Medical School


CBS News reports on an amazing story for any family, but for twins from Mexico who once worked picking grapes in California, it is truly astounding.

Octavio and Omar Viramontes, twin brothers just graduated from Harvard and UCLA Medical school, respectively, just one day apart.  Octavio and Omar's family moved from Mexico to central California when they were 10 to chase the American dream, which for newly arrived immigrants meant picking grapes in the fields and selling produce door to door.

Happy Fathers Day, Mr. Viramontes!



June 16, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Takeaway and NPR on Pending Backlog in Immigration Courts

Although the border may be the center of attention for immigration, the fate of hundreds of thousands of migrants are decided on miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. The WNYC Radiolab's Takeaway is reporting on the crisis in the immigration courts. For months, their senior reporter Beth Fertig has been sitting in on immigration courts in New York City, to see how proceedings are changing under the Trump Administration. Click below to hear this segment. An accompanying story by Fertig appears here.


"We hear so much about the border and these tent cities and these migrants coming, and all the lawsuits taking place right now," Beth Fertig said. "But the places where those cases will ultimately be decided will be in immigration court — which is this world that a lot of people don’t get to see. And these judges have the fate of all of the immigrants in their hands right now." The number of pending immigration cases has ballooned in recent years after the Trump administration implemented stricter asylum demands. These additions to the bench in New York City — the nation’s busiest immigration court — are part of a larger hiring wave across the country.

The Radiolab program comes the same week as NPR All Thing Considered interview with Jeffrey Chase, a former immigration judge, about how President Trump's new proposals to raise high-skilled immigration will affect immigration courts. The upshot: it will have no impact. Click below to listen.


UPDATE 5/24/2019: A TRAC report supplements these narrative accounts with quantitative data about the burgeoning immigration caseload and the inability of IJ hiring to keep pace.


May 23, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Halima Aden: From Refugee to "Sports Illustrated" Burkini Sensation


Here is a refugee who is breaking the mold.  Eugene S. Robinson reports in detail on model Halima Aden.  Aden is a 21-year-old former semi-finalist in the Miss Minnesota USA beauty pageant. She is Somali-American, immigrating to the United States as a child directly from a United Nations refugee camp in Kenya. Aden appears -- a first -- in the 2019 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in a hijab and full-coverage burkini because she is Muslim.

Samir Hussein/Getty Images



May 2, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 28, 2019

"My Sick Idea": President Trump on Sending Immigrants To Sanctuary Cities


Scott McDonald reports for Newsweek on President Trump's Saturday night rally ally in Green Bay Wisconsin, "mostly touting his work in office, calling out Democrats, name-shaming Democrats and spinning a rolodex of cliches often heard at his rallies." The president recalled his recent statement that he would start sending immigrants who overstayed their visits at holding facilities to the so-called sanctuary cities. “Last month alone, 100,000 illegal immigrants arrived at our borders, placing a massive strain on communities and schools and hospitals and public resources, like nobody has ever seen before,” Trump said to the crowd. “Now, we’re sending many of them through sanctuary cities, thank you very much.”  “I’m proud to tell you that was actually my sick idea,” the president said.  

Two weeks ago, President Trump said that, because detention facilities had become overcrowded, he would bus immigrant to "sanctuary cities," which limit assistance in federal immigration enforcement efforts.


April 28, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 19, 2019

NYC Mexican Restaurateurs Take the Lead on Immigration Activism


Photo from La Morada website

News from Eater NYC about  Mexican restaurateurs active in immigration causes.  Yajaira Saavedra, an owner of the Bronx’s Oaxacan restaurant La Morada (with mole on the menu!), says. “I’m very proud of my roots.” Her family’s restaurant serves Oaxacan dishes in a bright space that features the banner above:  “No deportaciones / No deportations.” A lending library offering free books to the community sits in the back, and the front door reads “Refugees Welcome.”

Saavedra, along with other Mexican restaurateurs around the city, like Daniel Ortiz De Montellano Luft of Casa Publica and Guillaume Guevara of Miscelanea, have been vocal advocates for Mexico and for their communities here in NYC. All three have spoken out on Trump’s immigration policies, and Guevara launched a line of pro-immigration goods like hats, pins, and stickers in his Mexican deli that benefits the American Civil Liberties Union. Luft and chef Fany Gerson (the two are married) have assisted their employees with immigration proceedings and paperwork.

Saavedra in particular is a striking example of a restaurateur-activist. She’s the daughter of Natalia Mendez, the chef-owner of La Morada, which is transparent about the immigration status of its proprietors. “We are an undocumented family-owned and operated Oaxaca Restaurant in the South Bronx,” its website reads in both English and Spanish. “Our goal is to preserve and share indigenous Mexican cuisine with our neighbors and friends.”

Earlier this year, Saavedra was taken into police custody; she claims she was targeted by the NYPD for being an undocumented immigrant activist.


April 19, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Colbert Unloads on Trump’s Immigration ‘Monster’ Stephen Miller


Stephen Colbert takes on White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller on immigration.  For the Daily Beast's rundown, click here.



April 18, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Father & Son Separated at Border, Reunited Nearly 11 Months Later

Check out this short (3:40) story from CBS News.

There is a lot packed into those few minutes. Jose (the father) was pressured to sign documents in English that he didn't understand, resulting in his deportation. His 10-year-old son remained in the U.S., first in federal care and then with a relative. It took nearly 11 months for the two to reunite. They are here in the U.S. and still pursuing asylum.

Lee Gelernt (ACLU) makes an appearance and puts this story into perspective: We don't know how many families were separated at the border; the government wants 2 years to sort out the mess.


April 16, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 15, 2019

At the Movies: Marcos Doesn't Live Here Anymore


Marcos Doesn't Live Here Anymore examines the national issue of immigration with the help of two unforgettable protagonists, demonstrating the human cost of deportation. Elizabeth Perez, a decorated United States Marine veteran and national immigration activist living in Cleveland, tirelessly works to reunite her family after her husband Marcos, an undocumented soccer referee from Mexico, is deported. Meanwhile, Marcos is in Mexico coping with his loneliness, grappling with the urge to cross the border illegally to see his family and the temptation to give up and move on without his wife and children. With the unfiltered intimacy that is a signature of his work, Sutherland weaves a parallel-action love story that takes us inside a world often lived in the shadows, on both sides of the border. In the end, Elizabeth's efforts to return her husband hit a legal brick wall, and she is forced to plan for the unthinkable alternative: leaving the United States to live in exile in Mexico and keep her family together. After seven years, Elizabeth, Marcos, and their children are finally reunited in Mexico, but without any sense of how to live together as a family. Ultimately, the love story ends with Marcos and Elizabeth wondering if their relationship will ever recover from the trauma of Marcos's deportation.

Click here for more on the film.


April 15, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Samantha Bee Takes on "DHS Purge"


April 11, 2019 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sen. Mitt Romney: Asylum is "Magic Word"

As Kevin noted earlier this week, President Trump recently made the following comments: "The system is full. Can't take you anymore. Whether it's asylum, whether it's anything you want, illegal immigration, can't take you anymore. We can't take you. Our country is full."

Senator Mitty Romney (R-UT) appeared on NBC's Meet the Press this morning to talk about those comments.

Interestingly, Romney began by echoing some of the president's comments from last month when  Trump accused asylum seekers and their lawyers of perpetrating "a big fat con job." Romney said that migrants on the Southern border "say the magic word... asylum." The phrase, "magic word," implies that these are individuals without valid claims to relief in the U.S. but rather some stolen password to force the doors open.

Romney went on to  note that this "magic word" has allowed some 125,000 to enter our country, "overwhelming our system."

Romney also commented on the politics of the border, noting: my opinion, the Democrats are making a huge error by making border security an issue and saying it's a partisan issue. Look, this is an American issue. We can't have millions upon millions of people flooding into our country without a border that's secure, without ICE making sure the people that are here illegally are sent back. This is a winning issue I think for Republicans. But more importantly, it's a winning issue for Americans to say, "We have to have the sovereignty of our nation." I think the president has tapped into something which the people feel very deeply.

You can watch Romney's comments in full here. The immigration talk stops at 4:56 when they move onto discussing healthcare:


April 7, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Asylum for Sale? NBC News Series

A woman throws stones at the welcome sign for the UNHCR refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya.Sally Hayden

NBC News partnered with 100Reporters and Journalists for Transparency to produce a three-part series on alleged corruption in refugee resettlements. This exclusive reporting is part of a seven-month investigation which found reports of UN staff members exploiting refugees desperate for a safe home in a new country.

Here is the second installment:  Asylum for sale: Whistleblowers say U.N. refugee agency does not always address corruption.

Click here to read the first story.

Stay tuned for Part III.


April 7, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, April 5, 2019

A Video from Freedom University


Check out this video from Freedom University.  In the film, undocumented students invite us into their lives and into the underground classrooms of Freedom University. Students wanted to create a film to thank supporters around the world, and to reach undocumented youth in Georgia who may not know about the resources and communities available to support them.

Freedom University is a modern-day freedom school based in Atlanta, Georgia.  It provides rigorous college preparation classes, college and scholarship application assistance, and movement leadership training for undocumented students banned from equal access to public higher education in Georgia.


April 5, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)