Monday, November 27, 2023

Activist and Actress, America Ferrera, the Daughter of Immigrants

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Anti-Immigrant Riot in Dublin



Europe has been bnsy this week on the anti-immigration frontYesterday, Ireland’s prime minister condemned anti-immigrant protesters who rampaged through Dublin after a stabbing of children rumored to have been committed by an immigrant. 

"Police arrested 34 people after Thursday night’s rioting when up to 500 people looted shops, set fire to vehicles and threw rocks at crowd control officers equipped with helmets and shields.  The violence began after rumors circulated that a foreign national was responsible for the attack outside a Dublin school on Thursday afternoon. Authorities haven’t disclosed the suspect’s nationality."

According to the Associated Press, "Thursday’s unrest came amid rising tensions over immigration in Ireland that mirror trends in other parts of Europe. Earlier this year, people carrying signs reading `Ireland is full' demonstrated in Dublin, and protesters blockaded a hotel housing asylum-seekers in County Clare on the west coast. . . .

Commissioner Drew Harris, head of Ireland’s national police force, described those who took part in Thursday’s unrest as a `complete lunatic hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology.'”


UPDATE (11/26):

NPR report on the riot and the stabbing that led to the riot..



November 25, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

At the Movies: Esto es Frontera/At the Border



Rommel H. Ojeda for Documented reviews the documentary Esto es Frontera/At the Border.”   In that film, "directors Braulio Jatar and Anaïs Michel . . . follow the lives of two trocheros, people who are familiar with the geography of an area and help others navigate it. . . . Filmed in the city of Cúcuta, the documentary depicts the crisis that has been brewing at the crossroads of the Colombian and Venezuelan border. Since 2014, more than 7.7 million Venezuelans have been compelled to leave their country to seek refuge in neighboring countries and beyond."


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

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Geraldo Rivera Predicts Trump 'Will Be Cruel' With 'Draconian' Immigration Plan


Weighing in on Donald Trump’s reported plans to launch an immigration crackdown if elected to a second term, media personality Geraldo Rivera said he believes that the former president will follow through if given the opportunity.

“I believe he is serious. I believe that in his mind, he sees a very simplistic answer to this problem. You know, brutality,” the former Fox News host told CNN’s Jim Acosta.

Update (Nov. 15):  For visual learners, here is what a return of President Trump to the White House might bring to immigration.



November 14, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 11, 2023

At the Movies: At the Gates (2023)


The new film At the Gates is now playing at theaters in New York and Los Angeles.   IMDb summarizes the plot of the new movie as follows:  "A housekeeper from El Salvador brings her son to help her clean an affluent family's Los Angeles home. After being told by her employers that immigration officers are searching for her, she accepts the invitation to shelter in their house."  The film's website elaborates:

"Ana Ibarra . . . , a housekeeper from El Salvador, has been working for the Barris family for eight months when she first brings her teenage son Nico . . . to help her. Told by the Barrises that their family’s home has been visited by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents looking for the mother and son during a sweeping crackdown, the pair is grateful when Marianne (Miranda Otto) offers to let them stay in the house until the situation can be sorted out. Her attorney husband Peter (Noah Wyle) appears reluctant to have Ana and Nico stay and imposes a series of strict conditions: Don’t leave the house, don’t stand near windows, turn over all cell phones, stay out of his office and spend nights hidden away in a locked storage space in the basement.

After several days without further visits from ICE, Nico begins to bristle under the restrictions. Breaking the rules and wandering through the house at night, he surprises the Barrises’ teenage daughter Lauren (Sadie Stanley), who has her own misgivings about the Ibarras’ presence.

As time goes by and tensions mount, each family begins to question the other’s motivations in this riveting and emotional thriller."

I look forward to seeing the movie but admit that I am not sure what I will think of it.  Part of a review from Indie Wire did intrigue me:  "“At the Gates” convincingly argues that self-involved U.S. citizens are blind or indifferent to the uncertainty that haunts so many of the immigrants who come here in search of a better life, even — and perhaps especially — when they rely on those people as indispensable workers and adopt them into their own homes `like members of the family.'"


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

Friday, October 27, 2023

Green Gold Land | L.A. Times Short Docs


This interesting documentary (Green Gold land) might interest ImmigrationProf blog readers:   "Two Chinese immigrants hope for a brighter future in the cannabis cultivation industry, but their journey unfolds bitterly. . . . In `Green Gold Land,' we follow Ho Shi-Cheng, a cannabis grower, who travels to Oklahoma to teach other Chinese immigrants how to cultivate the plant. We also feature another immigrant from California, who lost his savings trying to get started in the business.

Many Asians we spoke to in Oklahoma have been in the United States for decades, but live on the economic margins and aren’t fluent in English. For them, the hope of riches in the cannabis industry hasn’t materialized. There are no winners in this story. And yet, we found perseverance even in the face of failure. This film is not only about cannabis. It is about immigrants struggling to have a shot at the American dream.

This documentary is the first part of [an] investigative reporting project in association with the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism."


October 27, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

At the Movies: Runner A film by Bill Gallagher


Bullfrog Films presents...Runner from Bullfrog Films on Vimeo.

Runner A film by Bill Gallagher

87 min | English SDH Captions | Scene Selection

Subtitle options: French, Bahasa, Lithuanian, Thai


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“If hope needed a home, Runner would deliver the perfect dwelling place."

Sarah Hillyer, Founder and Director, Center for Sport, Peace, and Society,

University of Tennessee-Knoxville



A film by Bill Gallagher

87 min | English SDH Captions | Scene Selection

Subtitle options: French, Bahasa, Lithuanian, Thai

When he was only 8 years old, Guor Mading Maker ran from captivity in war-torn Sudan to eventually seek safety in the US. In his new life, Maker began running again, participating in high school track and field and eventually becoming a sensation and qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. But because the newly formed South Sudan was not recognized by the International Olympic Committee, Maker had to fight to compete independently, refusing to run for Sudan and taking a stand against its oppression.


Runner depicts Maker’s difficult and triumphant journey from refugee to a world-renowned athlete, told in intimate interviews with gorgeously animated flashbacks of Guor’s upbringing, and culminating in a heart-wrenching reunion with his parents after a 20-year separation.

Runner is now available on DVD with public performance rights for purchase and rental by schools, libraries, and other organizations. Academic streaming can be licensed from Docuseek. Campus and community groups interested in hosting a community screening can book now through Bullfrog Communities.


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

Saturday, September 16, 2023

At The Movies: Fremont

Fremont is a film about an Afghan refugee, Donya, living in (where else?) Fremont, California. In her past life, Donya worked as an interpreter for the U.S. military. Now, she works in a fortune cookie factory. (In a wild life-imitates-art-imitates-life moment Donya is played by an Afghan refugee, Anaita Wali Zada.)

Here's the trailer:

For more, check out this stellar review from the Washington Post, which lauds the film's "lushly monochromatic cinematography," "mournful yet sometimes raucous ethno-jazz score," as well as "Zada’s quietly resolute performance."

I'll be honest, my hopes were not high when I looked to see if this film was playing anywhere near me. But it is! Tomorrow at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art! Woot. Woot. 


September 16, 2023 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Teaching Client Responses to Trauma & Persuasive Storytelling

As I've blogged about before, I've been using this John Oliver clip to teach students about SIVs for wartime translators.

One of the key takeaways for me is how one translator appears on the program and talks with a very flat affect about the murder of his father and the kidnapping of his young brother. I've found this to be a good introduction to discussion of how client trauma presents in wildly different ways and in ways that students may not be expecting.

This year I offered an unexpected pairing to the above video:

Yes, that's acclaimed actress Bryce Dallas Howard crying on command while Conan O'Brien talks about shopping at Home Depot.

I asked my students to think about how they would expect someone to present when talking about their trauma. Why people might present differently -- everything from cultural norms to survival tactics.

I'll be re-raising the Howard video when we watch clips from Well Founded Fear and hear the one asylum officer complain about how: "People are actually coached... They tell them, well, you really should cry in the interview. Not that that's really gonna help them. But they think if they cry that that's gonna get them a grant."

That comment, of course, begs this question: Will a failure to show any emotion when recounting a horrific story show lack of truthfulness? Should a lawyer anticipate that problem? How can they proactively address it?


September 13, 2023 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Now Streaming: Stop Time

Stop Time is a documentary exploring the story of Lucio Pérez, a Guatemalan migrant who sought sanctuary in a Massachusetts church basement for over three years after being ordered deported.

"Lucio recounts the forces that brought him to the United States, entangled him in the immigration system, and ultimately led him to sanctuary."

The full length film is 50 minutes long. Here is the trailer:


August 20, 2023 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 17, 2023

At the Movies: The U.S. and the Holocaust by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein

Art for The U.S. and the Holocaust documentary

A documentary examines how what the U.S. did — and did not do — helped shape the Holocaust. Three documentarians, including the famous Ken Burns, realized that a retelling of the persecution of European Jews was be just as essential to their film as detailing the xenophobia, racism and political decisions that made American inaction toward refugees so tragically consequential.

Here is the synopsis of The U.S. and the Holocaust:

"The U.S. and the Holocaust is a three-part, six hour series that examines America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the twentieth century. Americans consider themselves a “nation of immigrants,” but as the catastrophe of the Holocaust unfolded in Europe, the United States proved unwilling to open its doors to more than a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of desperate people seeking refuge. Through riveting firsthand testimony of witnesses and survivors who as children endured persecution, violence and flight as their families tried to escape Hitler, this series delves deeply into the tragic human consequences of public indifference, bureaucratic red tape and restrictive quota laws in America. Did the nation fail to live up to its ideals? This is a history to be reckoned with."

Premiered September 18, 2022.



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

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Green Card Game

David Biers of the Cato Institute created a "game" to illustrate the perils of migrating to the US... legally.

Try it here.


August 16, 2023 in Data and Research, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

The UK's Migrant Detention Barge

The United Kingdom has attempted a unique solution to housing asylum seekers: an off-shore barge called the Bibby Stockholm. The first 15 migrants came aboard just last week.

The barge has the capacity to hold 500 migrants. This short video from Sky News offers a look inside the facility. It would make an amazing comparative contribution to discussions of immigrant detention in the U.S.

Only a few days after opening, the Bibby Stockholm was forced to release its detainees to other facilities when legionella bacteria was discovered in the water system. There's no word yet on when they'll return, but the UK Health Minister has suggested it may be back in business in just a few days.


August 16, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Inventing Anna Update



ImmigrationProf Blog previously posted on the immigration case of Anna Sorokin, whose elaborate fraud captured the world's imagination, continues.  The subject of the Netflix series "Inventing Anna", Sorokin served about four years in prison after found guilty of a variety of criminal charges.  By the way, the series is a fun watch.

Sorokin had claimed to be a German heiress named Anna Delvey who had a multi-million inheritance and was raising funds to launch a Manhattan social club. She was found guilty of swindling friends, banks and New York City luxury hotels to fund a lavish lifestyle.

In 2019, Sorokin was found guilty of eight charges, including attempted grand larceny in the first degree, grand larceny in the second degree, grand larceny in the third degree and theft of services. Her sentence of 4 to 12 years in prison was cut short and she was released in February 2021. 

Sorokin then was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — this time for overstaying her visa. Delvey remained in ICE custody until October 2022 and has been living under house arrest in New York. She still faces possible removal to Germany. 

July 16, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 7, 2023

At the Movies: Translators, A Documentary Short


Translators is a documentary short—proudly presented by U.S. Bank—that follows the lives of three families who rely on their children to translate everyday life. This is their story.  As the film's website states,

"Every kid needs their parents.

But for 11 year-old Densel, 13 year-old Harye, 16 year-old Virginia, and the over 11 million children across the U.S. who are the only English speakers in their family, sometimes that relationship gets flipped. This is the untold story of kids who act as their family's translators on matters that are sometimes more adult than they are."

Interviews were edited for brevity and clarity. You can watch the short documentary here.

July 7, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 19, 2023

Dispatches From The Outlaw Ocean: Episode 10 -- Migrants on the High Seas



Dispatches From The Outlaw Ocean - Episode 10: Freedom or Death from Ian Urbina on Vimeo.


Ian Urbina today released the last episode of the 10-part doc series Dispatches From The Outlaw Ocean.  The episode may be of interest to readers of this blog:

"In international waters between the African and European coasts, an almost daily battle occurs. This episode explains how the EU is trying to stem the flow of migrants by creating a shadow immigration system that captures migrants before they reach the high seas and sends them back to Libyan detention centers run by militia. This film, shot aboard a Médecins Sans Frontières ship, reports on the desperate race between humanitarian NGOs and the Libyan Coast Guard to reach the overflowing migrant ships in the Mediterranean. Whoever wins, determines the fate of the passengers within.

This episode is based on an investigation we made back in 2021 that ran in the New Yorker. We sent a team to Tripoli and also to a five-week embed in the sea in a Médecins Sans Frontières ship which resulted in a documentary you can see here."

You can watch the whole series here.



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

Friday, June 16, 2023

Immigration Article of the Day: Gang Accusations: The Beast That Burdens Noncitizens by Mary Holper

Photo of Mary Holper

Gang Accusations: The Beast That Burdens Noncitizens  by Mary HolperBrooklyn Law Review, Forthcoming (2023)


This Article examines the issue of gang evidence through the lens of the law’s use of presumptions and the corresponding burdens of proof at play in immigration proceedings. In immigration law, most of the burdens of proof fall on noncitizens. These burden allocations allow adjudicators to readily accept the harmful presumption contained in the gang evidence — that urban youth of color are criminals and likely to engage in violent crime associated with gangs. This Article seeks to explain how this racist assumption led to the creation of a gang database, and proposes an evidentiary presumption that the gang evidence is not reliable, in order to specifically instruct the judge to reject the presumption society has put in place about urban youth of color and criminality. In this way, this Article tracks common interests of critical race theory, by explaining how U.S. society has subordinated people of color in the creation of gang databases, and seeking to not only understand, but change this bond between law and racial power.Part I explains the justifications for why gang databases exist, using the creation of Boston’s Gang Database as an example. Following the lead of critical race theorists, this Part asks whether there is a counter-account of the social reality in Boston that led to the creation of this database. This Part then discusses various forces that gave rise to its creation: the segregation and concentration of poor people of color in certain neighborhoods; the diminishing social services in these neighborhoods, which gave rise to the police acting as the primary social workers, all the while surveilling young men of color; the extraordinary powers granted to the police to surveil and control these young men; and the labeling of a dangerous minority whom the government can eradicate through detention and deportation. Part I also explains how local anti-gang efforts became part of a national immigration enforcement agenda. Part II discuss es burdens of proof in the law and how the burdens operate in immigration cases to validate harmful presumptions that a young man of color is a gang member. Part III proposes the creation of an evidentiary burden that gang evidence is unreliable in immigration cases and explains how that burden can counteract the harmful presumptions contained in the gang evidence.


June 16, 2023 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 15, 2023

At the Movies: Sansón and Me (2022)


The website for Sansón and Me describes the documentary as follows:

"During his day job as a Spanish criminal interpreter in a small town in California, filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes met a young man named Sansón, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who was sentenced to life in prison without parole. With no permission to interview him, Sansón and Reyes worked together over a decade, using hundreds of letters as inspiration for recreations of Sansón’s childhood—featuring members of Sansón’s own family. The result is a vibrant portrait of a friendship navigating immigration and the depths of the criminal justice system, and pushing the boundaries of cinematic imagination to rescue a young migrant’s story from oblivion." 

A letter by Sansón about his experience can be found here.

I hope to see the full film soon.  Reviewing Sansón and Me for the New York Times, Glenn Kenny for the New York Times writes that "The film is an unusually layered look at how the combination of privation, misplaced familial loyalty and just plain rotten luck can make the immigrant experience in America a nightmare."

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

Republican National Committee slams Biden reelection bid with Artificial Intelligence generated ad



I missed this Republican National Committee ad when it was released a few months back.  Among other policies, Biden's immigration policies were part of the scary futuristic scenario depicted if President Biden were re-elected.


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

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

At the Movies: Flamin' Hot (2023)


IMDb summarizes the film, directed by Eva Longoria, as follows:

"This is the inspiring true story of Richard Montañez who as a Frito Lay janitor disrupted the food industry by channeling his Mexican heritage to turn Flamin' Hot Cheetos from a snack into an iconic global pop culture phenomenon."

There is some debate about the true origins of Flamin' Hot cheetosLaura Zornosa for Time magazine explains that

"Flamin’ Hot, Eva Longoria’s feature directorial debut, is not a factual history of the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto—nor is it meant to be.

Instead, in diving into the story of Richard Montañez—the man who claims to have invented the cult favorite spicy snack—Flamin’ Hot tells an acutely human story of a man trying to break generational cycles and start life anew."

The son of Mexican immigrants, Montanez grew up in a migrant labor camp and rose from janitor to the C-suite at Frito-Lay.  Click here for the CNN review of Flamin' Hot.


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