Saturday, December 1, 2018

At the Movies: The Long Ride, A Documentary


The Long Ride introduction (2:36) from Valerie Lapin Ganley on Vimeo.

The Long Ride, a documentary film about the historic 2003 Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride which sparked a new Civil Rights Movement for immigrant workers and  comprehensive immigration reform.  The film, which was released in 2017, won the Best Documentary Award at the Immigration Film Fest in Washington, D.C. last month and a Mención Honorifica at X Encuentro Hispanoamericano de Cine y Video documental: Contra El Silencio Todas Las Voces in Mexico City, in addition to screenings at numerous other film festivals and community events in the U.S., Mexico and Spain.

Alarmed by the increase in immigration raids, deportations, family separation, and attacks on workers’ rights, more than 900 immigrants and allies traveled across America to focus public attention on the plight of immigrant workers and to call for reform of the broken immigration system. They were inspired by the 1961 Freedom Riders who risked their lives fighting to end segregation. The film chronicles their journey focusing on 106 Riders from Northern California.  Their first stop after boarding buses in the Bay Area was at the State Capitol for a rally where several Sacramento residents joined the Ride.  During the 12 day trip, they met with local activists, held press conferences and participated in demonstrations in support of immigrant rights.  In Washington, D.C., they called on lawmakers to  pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation including a pathway to citizenship, family reunification, stronger workplace rights and civil rights for all.  The film is laced with personal accounts of the Riders own experiences as immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.  The last 12 minutes of the 77 minute documentary provides updates with several Riders on the on-going fight for immigrant rights to this day including both challenges and successes such as enactment of several pro-immigrant laws in California. The film is a valuable educational tool and blueprint for how to take action for social justice. 

You may find more information about the film at


December 1, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Hasan Minhaj: Immigration Enforcement/PATRIOT Act


In an episode of his Netflix series (“Immigration Enforcement/PATRIOT Act), Hasan Minhaj takes a close look at the nation’s immigration enforcement system. Using data from The Marshall Project’s immigration reporting, Hasan breaks it down with a mix of facts and humor. As he describes the massive difference between the nation’s increase in the immigrant population and the decrease in violent crime, Hasan says, “That’s immigrant dads yelling at their kids, “Don’t f**k this up. They’ll deport us.”



November 27, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Being The Kind Of Immigrant British People Don't Mind So Much

The Mash Report is a comedy program on BBC Two. (Side note: there are a LOT of BBC channels). A few weeks ago, this horribly-uncomfortable-yet-hillarious episode aired: How to be the kind of immigrant British people don't mind so much.


November 21, 2018 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Try Guys - Learning Immigration With Hiroshi

I just stumbled across this video from The Try Guys, a group of comedic youtubers. About a year ago, they filmed an episode with immprof extraordinaire Hiroshi Motomura. The episode does a great job of laying out the difficulties inherent in seeking citizenship in the United States through, you won't believe this, hypotheticals (all of which would be excellent for class).

Keep this episode in mind for intro-to-immigration material. Maybe you've got a course that requires getting up-to-speed on immigration in advance. This might be a good clip to assign - perhaps paired with Virgil Webe's immigration hotel.

Kudos to Hiroshi for reaching out the young folk where they spend 99.99% of their time - on Youtube!


November 19, 2018 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Meet The Dreamers Caught in the DACA Fight | Waking Dream Ep. 1


Waking Dream, is done and Episode One just launched on a PBS YouTube channel! 

 The link to Ep1 is HERE and the rest of the series will roll out every Tuesday for the next 5 weeks.

Waking Dream shows us the powerful journeys of undocumented young DREAMers with stories of resilience and hope in the face of legal limbo. Meet: Dilan, a Bay Area teacher with an uncertain future who preps underprivileged kids for theirs; Rossy in south Texas where, without DACA, checkpoints would keep her from completing her PhD; and twins John and James, the sons of Filipino immigrants who dream of serving in the US military and want nothing more than "to give back, to protect the people that welcomed us."

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November 15, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will "The Apprentice" Come Back to Haunt President Trump?


NBC News reports that lawyers suing President Donald Trump over his decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans, Haitians, and Hondurans are seeking unaired footage from the reality television show "The Apprentice" to try to bolster their case alleging the move was racially motivated.

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights has issued subpoenas to MGM Holdings Inc. and Trump Productions LLC demanding any footage shot during the production of the show in which Trump "uses racial and/or ethnic slurs" or "makes remarks concerning race, nationality and/or ethnic background."

Former White House staffer and fellow reality-TV star Omarosa Manigault Newman claimed in a book released in August, "Unhinged," that a tape exists of the president using the N-word on the reality show's set.

The case filed in federal court centers on the Trump administration's decision to end TPS for thousands of noncitizens from Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras.  The lawsuit alleges that President Trump's move to rescind the program was rooted in racial animus, citing comments that he made on the campaign trial and in office.


November 15, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Set Your DVR for Full Frontal's Holiday Special "Christmas on I.C.E." (Dec. 19, 10:30PM ET/PT, TBS)

Well, that headline pretty much sums it up. Here's a preview to whet your appetite:

I may need to ask Santa for an expanded cable package.



November 14, 2018 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

At the Movies: Eldorado, a documentary


Eldorado is a 2018 Swiss documentary film directed by Markus Imhoof. It was selected as the Swiss entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.

Drawing inspiration from his personal encounter with the Italian refugee child Giovanna during World War II, Eldorado tells how refugees and migrants are treated today: on the Mediterranean Sea, in Lebanon, in Italy, in Germany and in Switzerland.


November 13, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

At the Movies: Abu Adnan


Abu Adnan (Full film here)
Duration: 25:13
Director: Sylvia Le Fanu
Producer: Sune Wahl 
Winner: Indy shorts, Grand Prize Winner, Oscar Qualifying festival.
Sayid, a refugee doctor from Syria, has just received a Danish residence permit, and is about to embark on establishing a new life in rural Denmark together with his son Adnan. At the same time as having to learn a new language, he faces the challenge of maintaining his boy's respect, in a situation where Adnan's assimilation seems to be going somewhat faster than his own.
The story is a different take on refugees, because more than a film about refugees it’s a story about humans, and a story that we know resonate not only with refugees but also immigrants and non immigrants, this is not a story about politics, but as I said, a human story. Its about communication and what often gets lots in translation through language and culture. Its a film with no bad guys, only people trying their best the real enemy here is what is lost in translation. We wanted to make a film that presents a realistic look into the inner workings of a refugee/immigrant family trying to settle in a new country not only fighting with a new language and culture, but also the new family dynamics, that come in play when the children learn the language and assimilate faster. 


November 3, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Immigrant of the Day: Mo Amer

Mohammad "Mo" Amer is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, Amer sought asylum in the U.S. during the first Gulf War. He was granted asylum, though it took many years to become a U.S. citizen.

His comedy includes bits about on his life as an English-speaking refugee in the U.S. and the hurdles he faced making his way to overseas gigs on an refugee travel document.

Here he is on Colbert last year:

And here's a preview for his Netflix show "the Vagabond."

Lots of great material for class, and just the humor break you need this week.


November 2, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trump Tweets Immigration Campaign Ad: What do you think?



For commentary on the ad, click here.



November 1, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Trump eyeing executive order to end citizenship for children born in U.S. to noncitizens


John Wagner for the Washington Post reports that President Trump is planning to sign an executive order that would seek to end the right to U.S. citizenship for children of noncitizens born on U.S. soil, he said in a television interview taped yesterday.  The move, which would unquestionably violate the Fourteenth Amendment.  For a brief discussion, see Garrett Epps' piece in The AtlanticHere is a summary of the views of 11 legal experts.
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” Trump said during an interview with Axios scheduled to air as part of a new HBO series starting this weekend. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”


October 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Don't Be A Lawyer

My Crazy Ex Girlfriend is a show on the CW that intersperses traditional dialogue with dream-sequence song and dance numbers. This week's show featured Don't Be A Lawyer:

Here is one of the most memorable lines: "There are so many other professions that don't turn you into Jeff Sessions."

Also of note, in the midst of the song, an aspiring lawyer inquires "What about human rights law?" The song answers back: "No money, no, no money." Then, "Immigration law?" The answer: "No money, plus it's a bummer."

This is NOT one for the classroom.


October 27, 2018 in Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 26, 2018

Immigration Front-and-Center in Political Ads

I'm currently working on an article that focuses on political ads and how they portray sanctuary cities. If you see one - send it my way!

As a result, I'm paying more attention to all political ads these days. And this one, which popped up during a commercial break for the NBC Nightly News, particularly caught my eye:

This idea that a vote for "Any Democrat" (the title of the ad on youtube) is a vote for open borders comes straight from the President, who has tweeted:

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 11.50.27 AM

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Vox has investigated Trump's rhetoric of Democratic support for open borders. The title pretty much sums up the conclusions: "Anatomy of a lie."


October 26, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Law & Order SVU Takes on "Zero Tolerance"

Finding-mom-law-and-order-svu Law-and-order-svu

A new Law & Order SVU episode this week took on the Trump administration's family separation and "zero tolerance" policies.  It was sympathetic to the plight of the immigrants affected but I am not sure what I thought of the overall episode.  Click here for a recap.


October 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

At the Movies: Letters from Our Elders



Look out for this documentary featuring immigrant stories from the Haitian community in Tijuana as well as San Diego Border Dreamers, which is coming next week to the San Diego Central Library. The film's website describes the movie as "A film that shares stories about immigrants spanning generations and cultures in modern society." 

The independent film, “Letters from Our Elders,” by the Buenpaso Collective, seeks to connect the story of the director’s grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, with stories of today’s immigrants.  The documentary follows two Haitians who came to Tijuana and eventually into the U.S. and three members of San Diego Border Dreamers, a group of young unauthorized immigrants affected by the Trump administration’s changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.



September 25, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Latino Ex-Employee Files Discrimination Claim Against Federation for American Immigration Reform


Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Scott Bixby at the Daily Beast reports on a claim of discrimination by an employee of a well-known immigration restriction group:

"When Joe Gomez joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as its sole Latino employee, he told friends that the anti-immigration organization’s reputation as a hate group was unfounded. But after enduring months of racist slurs, mockery of his medical condition and racialized abuse from FAIR’s top management and executives, Gomez said, he filed a complaint with Washington D.C.’s Office of Human Rights. A copy of the complaint was provided to The Daily Beast."

Gomez no longer works for FAIR. He reportedly plans to donate the lion’s share of any financial settlement reached with FAIR to a charity supporting migrants. “After working at FAIR, I think I owe it to them,” Gomez said.





August 28, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

When The U.S. Government Tried To Replace Migrant Farmworkers With High Schoolers


Farmers often proclaim that immigrant workers for field work that no U.S. citizens will do.  Gustavo Arellano on NPR reminds us of an effort by the U.S. government to prove that this claim was wrong. 

In 1965, Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz wanted to recruit 20,000 high schoolers to replace the hundreds of thousands of Mexican agricultural workers who had worked in the United States through the "Bracero Program," a guest worker program in place from WWII to 1964.  The program ended in 1964   "But farmers complained — in words that echo today's headlines — that Mexican laborers did the jobs that Americans didn't want to do, and that the end of the Bracero Program meant that crops would rot in the fields."

Secretary of Labor Wirtz cited the farm labor shortage and a lack of summer jobs for high schoolers as the reason for a new program of employing male high school students in the fields.  Specifically, Wirtz wanted high school athletes.  the new program was  called A-TEAM — Athletes in Temporary Employment as Agricultural Manpower.

Read the story about how the program fizzled.  As Gustavo Arellano writes,  the "experiment quickly disappeared into the proverbial dustbin of history. In fact, when Stony Brook University history professor Lori A. Flores did research for what became her award-winning 2016 book, Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement, she discovered the controversy for the first time. Until then, the only time she had heard of any A-TEAM, she now says with a laugh,`was the TV show.'"

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August 26, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Watch: Logic’s emotional VMAs performance protesting family separation


From Vox

In a performance of his song “One Day” at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, rapper Logic and Ryan Tedder took the stage alongside hundreds of immigrant children and their parents.

The performance echoed the song’s recently released music video, which also addresses the ongoing immigration and family separation crisis. As hundreds of kids filed onstage to stand behind Logic as he rapped, “We do it for the children,” the emotion of the moment struck home — especially when it was revealed that the shirts the children wore were emblazoned with the words “We Are All Human Beings.”

Here is the music video:



August 21, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

At the Movies: Crazy Rich Asians

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The film "Crazy Rich Asians" is getting tons of popular attention.  The plotline summarized on IMDB:  This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend's family.



August 16, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)