Friday, September 16, 2022

Compelling Update from Martha's Vineyard

This video gave me literal chills. The outrage that is apparent in the voice of attorney Rachel Self, who speaks for the majority of this clip, is palpable. I think if you're looking to talk about this topic in class, this would be a fantastic video to kick of discussion.

Note Self's comments regarding how DHS officials completed paperwork -- filling in random addresses of homeless shelters in states far from where they knew the migrants were sent. That's particularly interesting given Ingrid's post from earlier today regarding a generalized practice of listing erroneous addresses (such as nonprofits without a connection to the individual) on migrants' asylum paperwork.


September 16, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

New on Netflix: Mo


Comedian Mo Amer’s new show, Mo, co-created with Ramy Youssef, is a semi-autobiographical look into the experience of people who resettle here after being forcibly displaced, per Leila Fadel and Phil Harrell of NPR. Set in the suburb of Houston where Amer grew up, the show follows the life of an asylum seeker "in immigration limbo" and reveals "the comedy and tragedy in his family’s tale." Said Amer, "Millions of people are going to relate to this and it can empower them to better their lives. And also people who didn’t go through it can relate to it and have empathy for it." 



August 24, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Governor as the Top Gun? Or Maverick?



Like Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Florida Governor Ron Desantis has embraced a Trumpian approach to immigration.  He also apparently shares the former President's sense of showmanship.

Governor Desantis 

"is cast as a maverick in a new campaign ad. Or more accurately, he’s cast as THE Maverick, Tom Cruise’s character from this summer’s blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick.

In the `Top Gov' spot released late Monday, DeSantis arrives in a bomber jacket and — mirroring scenes from the film — gives a whiteboard lecture, though his is about `taking on the corporate media,' not about pulling 10 Gs during a bombing run. He then zips up his flight suit and walks out onto the tarmac. It ends with DeSantis, helmet on, in the cockpit of a fighter jet.

Check out the video.  Not all viewers liked the ad. The title to Gillian Brockell's story for the Washington Post ("DeSantis fighter jet ad conjures 1988 Dukakis tank debacle") says it all.  For the reactions of a Navy pilot, click here.


Even though I did not care much for the DeSantis ad, I admit to enjoying the Top Gun pair of movies and was in a theater watching Top Gun: Maverick the first Saturday after its release.




August 24, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 1, 2022

Video of fatal attack on African immigrant shocks Italy


Colleen Barry for the Associated Press report that "[p]olice in Italy have arrested an Italian man in the murder of a Nigerian street vendor whose brutal beating death was filmed by onlookers without any apparent attempt to intervene physically. . . .

Police in Italy arrested an Italian man in the slaying of a Nigerian vendor whose brutal beating death on a busy beach town thoroughfare was filmed by onlookers without any apparent attempt to intervene physically.

Video footage of the attack has circulated widely on Italian news websites and social media, eliciting outrage as Italy enters a parliamentary election campaign in which the right-wing coalition has already made immigration an issue."



August 1, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 31, 2022

A Comparative Law Example For Public Charge, Inspection

John Green is a well-known American author. I've only read two of his books -- The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down -- but aspire the read the remainder as well. You make recognize the names of some of his other works, which have been made into hit movies, including Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska.

Suffice it to say, he's a big deal.

And, yet.

In this fabulous TikTok, John Green talks about why it's such a pain for him to travel into Canada. Short answer: Because years ago he was denied entry for insufficient funds. And now he's always, always subject to secondary screening.

@literallyjohngreen Reply to @bookishbrittany ♬ original sound - John Green

I love this video so much. It is DEFINITELY entering the cannon of videos that I show in class. I will probably use it when talking about inspection at the border. But I might also use it when discussing public charge screening. It's a total winner.


July 31, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Puerto Rico NOW!

Thursday, July 28 at 4:00 PM ET
A vibrant island chain in the Caribbean, a multivocal diaspora on the mainland, a US territory – Puerto Rico holds an extraordinary place in the world, encompassing a variety of stories, experiences, and challenges.Join Dr. Elizabeth Alexander (President, Mellon Foundation), Alana Casanova-Burgess (Host and Producer of the WNYC and Futuro Media podcast, La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience), Dr. Yarimar Bonilla (Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York City), and Daniel Lind-Ramos (Sculptor and Painter) for a discussion about Puerto Rico Now—its powerful multiplicity, its many lessons, and much more.
Register here. More information and future events can be found at

July 13, 2022 in Books, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lil Wayne: A Crimmigration Tale

Lil Wayne is an American rapper. So you might be wondering why I'm posting about a U.S. citizen on an immigration blog. 

Here's the thing: Lil Wayne is interesting from an immigration perspective because of his inability to get a visa to play/tour in the UK. Back in 2009, Lil Wayne pled guilty to a weapons charge stemming from the 2007 discovery of a loaded gun on his tour bus. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, though he served only eight months due to good behavior.

Lil Wayne's latest application for a UK visa was denied in June 2022. (He wanted to perform at the Strawberries & Creem festival.) The UK's Home Office (their immigration folks) told Rolling Stone magazine: “Any individual who has been sentenced to a custodial sentence of 12 months or more must have their application refused.”

All-in-all, this tale strikes me as a fun comparative law real-o-thetical to cover in your crimmigration class. You could flip the facts -- make Lil Wayne a UK citizen with the same gun conviction. What would the results be for a US visa to play at a music festival?

Moreover, it would be an opportunity to play one of my all-time favorite SNL clips--Lil Wayne and Eminem on Their Valentine's Day Single:


July 13, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

BBC: Mo Farah says he was illegally trafficked to the UK as a child


Zahid Mahmood for CNN reports that long distance running legend Mo Farah has told the BBC that he was trafficked into the United Kingdom as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant.  Check out the BBC story for details.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist was either eight or nine years old when he was flown to the UK by a woman he had never met previously.  He then was forced to "do housework and childcare."
A new documentary by the British broadcaster set to air this week tells the story of the man known as Mo Farah. In the documentary, Farah says that his birth name is Hussein Abdi Kahin and that he was born in Somaliland.  Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but is not recognized as a sovereign state.
"Despite what I said in the past, my parents never lived in the UK," Farah told the BBC.  He says that the family was "torn apart" after his father was killed in the civil war when he was four years old. 
"I was separated from my mother and I was brought into the UK illegally under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah," he said in.

July 12, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Writing Contest Winner: “Why I’m Glad America Is a Nation of Immigrants” or “What Does It Mean to Be a Welcoming Nation.” 


Since 1996, the American Immigration Council has lifted young voices and perspectives on immigration through a “Celebrate America” Creative Writing Contest.  The Contest inspires fifth graders across the United States to reflect on and write about the theme “Why I’m Glad America Is a Nation of Immigrants” or “What Does It Mean to Be a Welcoming Nation.” 

This year, the national winner was 5th Grader Elin Seiler from Elmhurst, Illinois

Watch Elin’s interview which aired live on Good Morning America

Read her prose here and learn more about the contest here



July 7, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Immigrants' Complicated Relationship with July 4th

Monday, June 27, 2022

Monday Sillies: Getting Past French Immigration

A few years ago, I pointed you towards an Irish comedy group (Foil Arms and Hog) and their take on the questions noncitizens have to answer before being allowed into the United States. It never occurred to me that the group might similarly lampoon other nations' entry expectations. And, because everyone needs a laugh right now... I present you with Getting Past French Immigration.

Thanks, gentlemen. I needed the giggle.



June 27, 2022 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, June 24, 2022

Now Streaming: Gordita Chronicles: A Coming of Age Sitcom with a Dominican Immigrant Flavor


Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times proclaims that "'Gordita Chronicles' is the sitcom of the summer."  The immigration-themed premise is simple; as summarized on IMDb, "[a] Latina reporter looking back on her childhood as a chubby, willful and reluctant Dominican immigrant growing up with her eccentric family in 1980s Miami."   

The HBO Max series premiered yesterday and stars Olivia Gonclaves, Juan Javier Cardenas, Diana Maria Riva, and Savannah Nicole Ruiz. Zoe Saldana and Eva Longoria are behind the project. Shadow and Act spoke with the cast, as well as Saldana and Longoria.

Here is a review in the Hollywood Reporter.

I watched the first episode and likely will watch the rest of the series.  The show is upbeat and light and offers a glimpse at the immigrant experience.  Think a Dominican immigrant version of The Wonder Years or less complicated Jane the Virgin.





June 24, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Clerk Who Recognized Same Sex Marriage for Citizenship Dies

This week marked the passing of Clela Rorex, a clerk from Boulder County, Colorado who in 1975 issued a marriage license to a gay couple decades before the movement took root. The Colorado Governor, Jared Polis, and national media have described her legacy for the LGBT community, which is fitting during Pride Month. Governor Polis said in the NY Times article:

“So many families, including First Gentleman Marlon Reis and I, are grateful for the visionary leadership of Clela Rorex.”

Less attention has been paid to Rorex's role in extending a key benefit of marriage: citizenship acquisition for spouses. Those who teach immigration law today may consider the case law straightforward. But until same sex marriage became federally recognized in United States v. Windsor  (2013), it was not settled that a gay citizen could pass on citizenship to his partner. Shortly after Windsor was announced, Janet Napolitano on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security directed the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to "review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse."

Although perhaps taught as a historical background in the case book, Adams v. Howerton has long been the lead case on marriage in immigration law. It was the first U.S. lawsuit to seek recognition of a same-sex marriage by the federal government, and it initially failed: the case stands for the proposition that the term "spouse" refers to an opposite-sex partner for the purposes of immigration law. 

Mr. Adams was born in the Philippines. His family moved to the United States when he was 12, and he grew up in Minnesota. Adams became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1968 and was living in Los Angeles, California when he met Anthony Corbett "Tony" Sullivan, an Australian citizen who was visiting the U.S. on a tourist visa. They were one of six gay couples granted marriage licenses by Ms. Rorex in Boulder, Colorado on April 21, 1975. On the basis of the marriage, Mr. Adams applied to the Immigration Naturalization Service for Mr. Sullivan's citizenship as an immediate relative, but he was denied. The denial letter stated that "[Adams and Sullivan] have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots." A revised letter was later sent, explaining that "[a] marriage between two males is invalid for immigration purposes and cannot be considered a bona fide marital relationship since neither party to the marriage can perform the female functions in marriage.

After losing Sullivan's appeal of his deportation order in 1985 and being denied Adams' request for residency by Australia, in 1985 the couple traveled in Europe for a year. Afterward, they returned to the U.S., lived in Los Angeles, and avoided high-profile activism that might attract the attention of immigration authorities. Adams worked for a law firm as an administrator until his retirement in 2010. After retirement, Adams and Sullivan made some appearances at events supporting same-sex marriage. Adams died at his Los Angeles home on December 17, 2012.

Sullivan survived him and, on April 21, 2014, on their 39th wedding anniversary, Sullivan filed a motion with the Los Angeles Field Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to reopen and reconsider his late husband's petition for a marriage-based green card which that office had denied. On January 5, 2014, the USCIS approved Adams' immigrant visa petition filed in 1975 on behalf of his husband. Sullivan received his green card in April 2016.

Limited Partnership, a documentary telling the couple's story, was released by Tesseract Films in 2014 and makes for a compelling immigration class!


June 23, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 3, 2022

Visiting Newly-Opened Angel Island Immigration Museum

A visit to the Angel Island Immigration Station is now enhanced by the newly-opened Immigration Museum. While the historic immigration station focuses on Chinese immigration during the time period 1880-1940, the new immigration museum brings immigration history up to date, from 1940-modern day. The new museum is located within the renovated hospital adjacent to the original station, and it fittingly begins with discussion of how gatekeeping figures into entry, public health inspections, and quarantines. The rest of the immigration museum depicts other dimensions of immigration exclusion, tracing change - or the lack thereof) -over time and across different immigration groups.

The exhibits are engaging and informative, with multimedia video and audio displays, original artifacts, and meeting spaces for community events. There is some interaction, such as the separate doors to the museum labeled "European" and "non-European"; a guide told us there was a third door for "Chinese" that is not reproduced. Inside the building, one exhibit begins with the Chinese Exclusion Act and then continues with Asiatic Barred Zones that impeded entry from Japanese and Korean immigrants before mentioning the Hart Cellar Act of 1965 that eliminated national origin quotas and ending in a display of 140 candles to "light the darkness" since Chinese Exclusion. There are pointed references to continuities between immigration detention of the Chinese, Japanese and Korean immigrants, and Central American immigrants in modern detention, including the practice of family separation. Another exhibit highlights the changing origins of refugees. Not to dwell only on the dark side of immigration history, there are displays celebrating contributions of immigrants to the U.S. -- to small businesses, technology, and more generally. 

While I've been studying immigration history for a long time and first visited Angel Island as a child, I learned a lot from the new museum. If you cannot make it to Angel Island in-person, the website has an impressive virtual gallery that includes 3D tours of some of the exhibits.





June 3, 2022 in Data and Research, Film & Television, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

A the Movies: The Courtoom

In this powerful drama from director Lee Sunday Evans and writer (and Succession breakout star) Arian Moayed, the legal thriller is given a bold and innovative new twist.Adapted verbatim from court transcripts, The Courtroom follows the harrowing journey of Elizabeth Keathley (Kristin Villanueva) a Filipina immigrant who mistakenly registers to vote while on a K3 visa, a crime punishable by deportation. Married with a newborn baby, Elizabeth, with the support of her husband and the tireless efforts of their lawyer, struggles to navigate an increasingly convoluted and nightmarish legal system.
At present, the film is available to stream for a 10 day window (from June 16 - 26) as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.
Hat tip to Jeffrey Chase, who thinks that the film might be suitable for immigration classes.


June 3, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

BTS K-Pop Stars Visit White House, Speak Against Anti-Asian Hate

In lighter news, global Korean pop (k-pop) stars BTS visited President Biden in the White House. They used the occassion to speak against anti-Asian hate and thank the president for signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act that increased reporting of incidents. Their remarks:

"We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes including Asian American hate crimes. To put a stop on this and support the cause, we'd like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again. It's not wrong to be different. Equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences."

Video of their remarks here. More coverage of their visit from NPR here.

2022-6 BTS


June 1, 2022 in Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Golden Cage: Trapped at the United States and Mexico border


Our local ABC affiliate (ABC10) focused on the U.S./Mexico border in an effort to give northern Californians a first-hand look at the issues, policies, faces, and stories.  This segment features Professor Raquel Aldana.


May 29, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 23, 2022

Podcast: The Migration Oxford Podcast

Check out this new podcast from Oxford University, "The Migration Oxford podcast," which aims "to bring together researchers and other observers to address the major migration issues of our time, both in UK and internationally."

The latest episode is titled "Rwanda and refoulement: Can the 1951 Refugee Convention survive?" Here is the summary:

In this episode of the Migration Oxford Podcast, we ask if the 1951 Refugee Convention is under attack. As states look for ways to avoid taking responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers, such as the UK's "Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda". Is the Convention still the right tool, and how can the protection it offers refugees be improved in an era where global governance of any issue is vexed at best? We speak to Dr Catherine Briddick, Departmental Lecturer in Gender and International Human Rights and Refugee Law at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, and Sabir Zazai Chief Executive of the Scottish Refugee Council to understand both the human and legal implications of the convention and moves by states to circumvent it.


May 23, 2022 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Grace Lin Newbury Award Poster

The Newbery is a beloved picture book award. On its centennial, author and illustrator Grace Lin created a memorial cover for The Hornbook's special issue. It is titled "100 Years of the Newbery Award posters" and features a young, Asian American reader and award-winning books with handpainted book covers. They are available for purchase online and through the Eric Carle museum. 100% of the artist's proceeds will be donated to I'll be picking up a few for sure!

Author Q&A is today (May 19, 2022 at 12:30pm Pacific/3:30 Eastern) online.


Grace Lin Newbury

May 19, 2022 in Books, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Chinese American History, Asian American Experiences

Ngai Lee Zia

Thurs May 19 4pm EST. A virtual event that is part history lesson and part conversation, this program will feature three leading authors, scholars, and advocates: Dr. Erika Lee, Dr. Mae Ngai, and Helen Zia. Register here.

The Mellon Foundation organizers write: "Chinese immigrants and their descendants have shaped the United States, but their experiences are not always acknowledged as part of our collective history. Chinese American stories touch on every facet of the American experience: from those of immigrants who arrived at the US via the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco; to builders of the transcontinental railroad connecting America’s east and west; drivers of urban development and access to public education; and subjects of discrimination and anti-Chinese legislation. In sharing these histories, we can cultivate a fuller understanding of our current moment and promote truthful narratives about Chinese American histories and Asian American experiences."


May 15, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)