Sunday, May 28, 2023

At the Movies: The Six: The Untold Story of RMS Titanic's Chinese Passengers

The Six (2021).jpg



The sinking of the Titanic has a distinct hold on the American imagination.  A 2021 documentary film "The Six" looks at an aspect of the luxury ship's sinking that has been largely ignored.  IMDb describes the film as follows:  "The last great mystery of Titanic is unraveled, as an international team searches for the ship's lost Chinese passengers, uncovering an extraordinary tale of survival and dignity in the face of racism and anti-immigrant policy."  The film's website offers more detail:

"When RMS Titanic sank on a cold night in 1912, barely 700 people escaped with their lives. Among them were six Chinese men. Arriving in New York with the other survivors, the six were met not with compassion, but suspicion and slander. Less than 24 hours later, they were expelled from the country, and vanished.

What became of them, and why did they disappear so completely? In an epic journey that crosses continents, an international team of investigators sets out to uncover the truth about the six Chinese, and to right a century-old injustice.

For the first time, we discover who these men really were, tracing their origins and tracking down descendants denied access to their history. The Six is an extraordinary story of survival and dignity in the face of racism and anti-immigrant policy that still reverberates today."





May 28, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 25, 2023

For Your Citizenship Class

ICYMI--Hertz, the rental car agency, refused to rent a car to a Puerto Rican man who presented a driver's license but not a passport for identification. Why? Because he was an "out-of-country" renter and so needed to present his passport. The police were ultimately called and sided with the car agency. There's a lot of short clips that you can use in class, many embedded in this WaPo article. And here's some short-ish NBC commentary:


May 25, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 15, 2023

DHS Secretary: Border encounters dropped 50% after the end of Title 42



"The sky is falling.  The sky is falling."  I was reminded of that refrain as critics attacked President Biden's lifting of the Title 42 border closure order, which originally was entered by the Trump administration in March 2020.  

UPI reports that there has been a 50% drop in encounters at the U.S./Mexico border in the two days following the end of Title 42 according to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Title 42 has been used to rapidly expel more than 2.8 million migrants and asylum seekers.  The order expired midnight Thursday.  There had been great concern that its lifting would lead to a flood of migrants and asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States.

Mayorkas told Jonathan Karl on ABC's This Week yesterday that such a surge has yet to be seen. "In fact, over the past two days, the United States border patrol has seen an approximately 50% drop in the number of people encountered at our southern border as compared to the numbers earlier this week before Title 42 came to an end," he said. Mayorkas credited the drop to the administration of President Joe Biden, which in the lead up to Title 42's expiration initiated a slew measures -- some controversial -- at stemming the potential increase. "We have been preparing for this transition for months and months, and we've been executing our plan accordingly," Mayorkas said.


May 15, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 12, 2023

Title 42 Order Lifted, The Feared Mass Migration Not in Sight


Hours ago, the U.S./Mexico border saw the much-anticipated Biden administration's lifting of the pandemic-motivated Title 42 order put in place by President TrumpTitle 42 unquestionably has been in the news and the subject of many blog posts.  Many feared that the result would be a mass influx of people crossing the border.  In fact, bolstered by Republican critics of Biden immigration policies, news stories have been running all week fueling concern with masses of migrants storming the border.



Given that the Title 42 order allowing for immediate expulsion of migrants -- and the refusal to accept asylum applications -- has been in place for several years, one might expect pent-up migration demand to lead to an influx of migrants.  The Biden administration took a number of steps to deter migrants from entering unlawfully and the President himself cautioned that it would take time for migration flows to stabilize.

As it turns out, Title 42 was lifted.  There was no immediate mass migration.  No caravans.  Rather, the U.S. government must return to, within various regulatory and legal limits, migrants are permitted to apply for asylum and have their claims decided in Asylum Officers. and immigrat5ion courts.  Due process and the recognition of legal writes -- including rights under international law -- can take time and resources.  But that is the task that is before the nation.

UPDATE May 15:



May 12, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Amid Growing Anti-Immigrant Hate, 8 Killed as Driver Plows Into Group Near Migrant Shelter in Texas

Earlier today, Kit Johnson blogged about the tragic killings in Texas over the weekend.  Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! interviews human rights activist Jennifer Harbury about the migrants -- many of them apparently Venezuelans -- killed near a shelter in South Texas.

According to NBC News, the driver of the vehicle that killed eight and injured ten, was identified by authorities identified as George Alvarez.  The victims were waiting at a stop near the Ozanam Center, a migrant shelter in Brownsville.  Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda said authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the crash was intentional.

The Independent (United Kingdom) reported that "[a] witness to the car crash that killed eight people outside [the] migrant shelter . . . says the driver made anti-immigrant remarks before he was detained by members of the public."



May 9, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 6, 2023

CBS Evening News: Biden administration prepares for expiration of Title 42

I just caught this report from CBS Evening News. The coverage of the current situation in El Paso is particularly good, starting at minute 2.


May 6, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 5, 2023

Pathbreaking Asian American bookstore closing after 41 years


One of my favorite spots during graduate school was Eastwind Books of Berkeley, located on University Avenue a short distance from the UC Berkeley campus. It was a place to find innovative writing and discover fresh voices. It was also a gathering place for community, causes, and working out ideas to launch a movement.

So I was saddened to see in the Berkeleyside that Eastwind Books closed this week. To be sure, Eastwind is part of a larger movement of independent bookstores closing their brick and mortar locations due to competition from online booksellers, rising rents, and a transformation of commercial activity in a college town during the pandemic. They're also a small operation helmed by Harvey and Beatrice Dong, community activists who are now in the 70s, who deserve to rest and dedicate themselves to other pursuits in retirement.

But this wasn't just any indie bookstore. As the Berkeleyside article states aptly, it's served as a "library, salon, stage, and publisher for generations of Asian American writers, activists and academics." For those who never got to focus on ethnic studies because their high schools and colleges didn't teach it, Eastwind stocked the canon and refreshed it with new releases as the field of study enlarged. For those who didn't know they would be interested, they stocked music, graphic novels, and art alongside the academic monographs. (Not to mention the Asian American authors who launched first books with signings that might've been hard to garner in mainstream bookstores.)

We should all be heartened to know that Eastwind will continue to sell some books online and its sister organization, Eastwind Books Mulicultural Organization, will host events and publish books (one is already listed for May 2023). More details on the future operation and glimpses of the history and context for Eastwind as part of a larger landscape of bookstores appear in this feature article


May 5, 2023 in Books, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday Funny

It's Friday. The semester is winding down but this just means exam writing or exam grading or cramming in every single service obligation into the two weeks before people head off for the summer. Hm. Maybe that's just me. Anyway, I think we could all use a Friday Funny. This one is courtesy of actor/comic Billy Eichner.

IMMIGRANT OR REAL AMERICAN? #billyeichner #billyonthestreet #newyork

♬ original sound - Billy On The Street Fan

It reminds me of the two end-of-semester games that I play with immigration law students: (1) Born in the U.S.A. or not? and (2) Naturalized American or Foreigner?

Now here's a bit of a downer to report after your humor break... the HOOPS I had to jump through to post this living in a red state. I watched it on my personal cell phone (not connected to university wifi), sent the link to my personal email, then had to charge my frequently neglected personal computer so that I could post from there. Because TikTok is banned from all university equipment! I could rant for a good long while about Oklahoma politics but that's more of a Saturday Shout than a Friday Funny.

Have a great weekend everyone!


May 5, 2023 in Conferences and Call for Papers, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

John Oliver on Biden’s immigration record


On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver with comical gusto examined Joe Biden’s record on immigration, particularly with migrants seeking asylum at the southern border.




May 3, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 23, 2023

A Distinct Society: Playwright Kareem Fahmy on Canada-US Border during Muslim Ban

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing the premiere of Egyptian playwright Kareem Fahmy's thoughtful play, A Distinct Society, in the Bay Area. The play takes place inside the Haskell Free Library, a public library straddling the US-Canada border with a front entry in Vermont. The title references the Quebecois background of the librarian, Manon, who once voted for separatism, who posts on social media that the library can be a meeting place for families divided by their inability to enter the US. during the Muslim travel ban. An Iranian father and daughter try to meet one another there on numerous occssions, but they are blocked by a roving Border Patrol officer who uses duct tape to secure a border between the children's section and the nonfiction section of the library. There is love, there is betrayal of trust, and there is fear for the humanity of migrant families amid intensifying immigration enforcement.

The version I saw took place in Mountain Valley as a joint production of Theatreworks of Silicon Valley and Pioneer Theater Company of Salt Lake City. It continues through the end of April 2023. Interviews with the five main characters and the playwright appear below.



April 23, 2023 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 21, 2023

10 interesting video games about immigration

I am not a gamer but am well aware that video games are incredibly popular.  Indeed, a few law professor friends are avid video game fans. 

Keza MacDonald and Keith Stuart for The Guardian offer their favorite video games about immigration.  Here are the games on the list:


Papers, Please



Bury Me, My Love



Grand Theft Auto IV


Syrian Journey


Finding Home



Assassin’s Creed Valhalla






Not Tonight






The Night Fisherman


April 21, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

A new cooking show breaks down borders through food


A new cooking competition show on YouTube highlights first- and second-generation immigrant chefs creating meals, Edwin Flores writes for NBC News. "Food is a space for storytelling, and it’s also a space for meaning-making and identity-making," said Juanita Monsalve of United We Dream, which produced the show. "No Borders, Just Flavors" premieres 8 p.m. Thursday.  


April 19, 2023 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 17, 2023

Farmworkers: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)


Farmworkers: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

The exploitation of farmworkers is nothing new.  

"John Oliver discusses the conditions farmworkers face, how we’ve failed to protect them, and the Jolly Green Giant’s body hair."




April 17, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

At the Movies: The New Abolitionists (2023)








Directed by: Christina Zorich

Running Time: 99 mins

THE NEW ABOLITIONISTS, a documentary feature film from Christina Zorich, takes audiences on a journey into Southeast Asia, an area widely considered to be the “most trafficked" region of the globe, and searches for answers to why and how human sex trafficking flourishes in these areas. Zorich follows four Christian Ministries, which are also non-government organizations (NGOs), eager to educate and inform herself and her audience on the complexities of all the issues surrounding and generating human sex trafficking. 

From Cambodia to Thailand, the story becomes increasingly complex, as throughout filming Zorich encounters obstacles, including the need for the initial NGO to demand anonymity. Subsequent to the conclusion of filming, threats became public from Cambodian government officials to revoke the visas of NGOs for revealing the intricacies and dark truths of this criminal industry. 

In her first feature film debut, Zorich sheds light on a topic that for decades is still a worldwide concern. THE NEW ABOLITIONISTS traverses the intricacies of the disturbing reality while not only exposing the causations of trafficking, but also hoping to educate and provide solutions to help end the burgeoning criminal industry. This labor of love was a five year process with the goal of telling a story that needs to be told.

The film is directed by filmmaker Christina Zorich. Written by Laura Spaeth and Andrea Valentin, THE NEW ABOLITIONISTS is produced by Susannah Barnes and Olympia Dukakis, and executive produced by Zorich with consulting producer Stavroula Toska. Landon Satterfield, Ciaran Michael Vejby and Zorich serve as editors with music by Andew Barros.

The film is now available to rent/own on Amazon, iTunes, AppleTV, Vudu, XBox, Google Play, YouTube Movies, AT&T U-Verse, DirecTV, Dish Network, Sling TV and more. The DVD will be available via,,, and by the end of April.

Press Materials: Available Here




April 11, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Homeland Security Secretary responds to challenges of immigration | 60 Minutes


On 60 Minutes, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas refuses to say that there is a "crisis" at the southern borders.



April 4, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

125th Anniversary Celebration of birthright citizenship in birthplace of Wong Kim Ark

Two hundred people packed into SF Chinatown to mark the 125-year anniversary of a court ruling that guaranteed birthright citizenship in the United States over the weekend. The celebration, hosted jointly by the 6 companies and the Chinese Historical Society of America, featured commemorations from public officials and a lively discussion among a group of law professors and legal historians researching the legacy of Wong Kim Ark. Panelists included Professor Charles McClain, Professor Gabriel Jack Chin, Professor Amanda Frost, and 1990 Dirctor Susana Liu-Hedberg. Yours truly moderated.  (Coverage from Channel 7 news (timestamp is 9:26) and English and Chinese-language newspapers continues to unfold as the week of events culminates today, March 28, 2023. Photo, L-R Chen, McClain, Chin, Frost, Liu-Hedberg.)

In addition, the Center for Race, Immigration, Citizenship, and Equality (RICE) at UC Law San Francisco hosted a March 23 lecture from Professor Sam Erman (video posted) and a Chinatown tour that included a stop (and selfie) in front of Wong Kim Ark's birthplace. (Photo, L-R: Ming Hsu Chen, Amanda Frost, Rachel Rosenbloom, Sam Erman.)

IMG_3593 Copy


Continuing coverage of the Wong Kim Ark decision will be added to this thread: Professor Amanda Frost wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post and Jack Chin spoke with NPR.



March 28, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 13, 2023

Immigrant Story Takes Seven Oscars at Academy Awards


Many Americans watched the Academy Awars last night.   Everything Everywhere All at Once  took home a boatload of Oscars, including Best Picture.  It has an immigration storyline:  "The fate of the world lies in the hands of an overwhelmed immigrant mother. As bizarre and bewildering dangers emerge from the many possible universes, she must learn to channel her newfound powers and fight to save everyone."

March 13, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 5, 2023

At the Movies: Split at the Root (2022)


Split at the Root is a documentary that would be of interest to ImmigrationProf readers.  The IMDb database describes the film as follows:  "When a Guatemalan mother seeking asylum was separated from her kids under Zero Tolerance Policy, a Facebook post by a mom in Queens coalesced into a movement as thousands of like-minded women across the US refused to stand by quietly." 

"When news of the [Trump administration's] Department of Justice’s zero-tolerance policy for unauthorized entry into the United States came out in mid-2018, a group of moms in Queens sprang into action. They created an organization called Immigrant Families Together, aimed at reuniting mothers held at Eloy Detention Center in Arizona with the children taken from them by the government. `Split at the Root' follows one of these women: Rosayra, an asylum seeker from Guatemala who had crossed into the U.S. with her two sons. The documentary . . . is a heartbreaking reminder of the cruelty of these separations, showing that reunification is often only the beginning of a long journey for the families torn apart."

The film is streaming on Netflix.  Reviews can be found here and here.


March 5, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

At the Movies: Seeking Asylum

March 1: Join the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) for the San Francisco Premiere of Seeking Asylum


Join CGRS on Wednesday March 1 for the San Francisco premiere of Seeking Asylum, a documentary film that bears witness to the endless obstacles people seeking asylum face in their pursuit of refuge in the United States. In a dismantled system that has been designed for failure, the film follows the journey of Kensy, a Honduran mother, as she searches for protection for her family.

This important film shines a light on the courageous people at the center of CGRS's advocacy. Join us at the Strand Theater for an exclusive screening followed by a panel moderated by KQED's Immigration Senior Editor Tyche Hendricks and featuring the film’s creators from Honeypot Productions, CGRS Director Professor Karen Musalo, Professor Bill Ong Hing, Rev. Deborah Lee of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, and leaders from Mujeres Unidas y Activas. Panelists will discuss the most urgent challenges facing asylum seekers at the border and in the Bay Area today, including the Biden administration's newly announced asylum ban.

Date: Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Time: 6:00-9:00 pm PST

Location: The Strand Theater, 1127 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Register online here and RSVP on Facebook!

Unable to join us in San Francisco? Visit to rent the film, or sign up to host a screening in your community.


February 22, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 19, 2023

At the Movies: Redress


Redress is a short film that provides an in-depth look at the Japanese-American reparations program as told by those who both administered and participated in it.  Reparations were provided to persons of Japanese ancestry interned by the U.S. government during World War II.

The film's website describes the background for the film:

"In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, a historic piece of legislation that sought, for the first time, to provide a measure of justice to Japanese Americans forty-six years after their incarceration during World War II. The Japanese American Redress program that resulted proved to be a success story of the United States government - a program whose history is now captured in the film and material of this website. . . . This project aims to document the complex history of Japanese American Redress."

On this anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 (February 19),  watch the new trailer to learn about these untold stories,

The creators of the documentary sought to contribute to further discussions on Japanese American redress and the lessons it holds for future movements.

For more information about the film and its place in history, please visit here or on Facebook or Instagram.


February 19, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)