Monday, April 8, 2024

At the Movies: The Absence of Eden


A movie of interest to ImmigrationProf readers!  The synopsis: "An ICE Agent struggling with the moral dilemmas of border security and an undocumented woman fighting to escape a ruthless cartel cross paths and work together to save the life of an innocent girl."

April 8, 2024 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

PBS: Immigrant workers face injury, lack of protections on U.S. dairy farms


Dairy farms employ many migrant workers.  PBS News Hour reports on how immigrant workers suffer routine injuries and lack protections on U.S. dairy farms.  According to the report, many workers feel that employers treat them as less than human, but they can't push back because of their immigration status.

ProPublica has been investigating the realities of life for immigrant workers on Midwest dairy farms. In the PBS report, John Yang speaks with ProPublica reporter Melissa Sanchez about what she’s found.


March 27, 2024 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 25, 2024

At the Movies: Problemista, a Comedy

The new film “Problemista” follows protagonist Alejandro’s desperate quest to stay in the United States and achieve his dreams.  Here is the description of the comedy on IMDb:

"Alejandro is an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador struggling to bring his unusual ideas to life in NY. As time runs out on his work visa, a job assisting an erratic art-world outcast becomes his only hope to stay in the country."

The film was just released
CNN and the Roger Ebert website offer perspectives on Problemista here.

March 25, 2024 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Help Fund Fieldwork, a documentary

Main fundraiser photo

Law professor Yxta Maya Murray and Paulina Sierra are fundraising for "Fieldwork," their documentary about farmworkers in Fresno, California. Yxta is a law professor and writer (novels!), and Paulina is an artist and filmmaker. In March of 2024, they traveled to Fresno and filmed interviews with fifteen farmworkers living in Fresno, Mendota, Macfarland, and other towns in the region. These farmworkers explained to us how they suffered from pesticides exposure, extreme heat, housing precarity, deportation risk and fear, cancer, and harm to their families as a consequence of their labors in California groves. We are turning this footage into a documentary that we will screen at film festivals, law schools, conferences, and, most importantly, community centers throughout Central California. We are fundraising for honoraria paid to participating farmworkers, travel costs, and technology needed to finish this film.


March 17, 2024 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 8, 2024

60 Mintutes: Operation Lone Star

On Sunday, 60 Minutes aired a report on Operation Lone Star. See below (1:50-14:56):

There's a corresponding 60 Minutes Overtime segment: Patrolling the border with a Texas state trooper.

Cecilia Vega is the reporter behind both segments, either/both of which would be great for your crimmigration course.

The first video offers striking visuals--mass border crossings, the physical barriers imposed by Texas, how easily those barriers are breached, the detritus left behind by migrants. Vega speaks both with Gov. Abbott as well as a former head of the Border Patrol.

The second video, as its title suggests, focuses on state enforcement away from the border. Vega accompanies a state trooper as she looks for evidence of "people smuggling." Vega states: "When Trooper Gooding is out on patrol she's looking for one thing primarily, and that is smugglers. Human traffickers." This is a great segment for talking about mission drift--what highway patrol traditionally has looked for (highway safety) vs. what they're currently enforcing (immigration laws).


March 8, 2024 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

At The Movies (Friday): Problemista

Another exciting immigration movie is about to drop--Julio Torres' Problemista. Check out the trailer:

If the name Julio Torres doesn't ring an immediate bell, let me refresh your memory with this trailer for his HBO series Los Espookys. (You had me at the name my friend.)

Anyhoo, back to Problemista. As the trailer shows, it's a surrealist take on Torres' life in El Salvador and immigration to New York. I can't wait to see it.


February 28, 2024 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 26, 2024

At The Movies: Io Capitano

Io Capitano is an Italian movie by filmmaker Matteo Garrone. Italy's submission to the Oscars for Best Foreign Film, the movie is "an epic odyssey from West Africa to Italy told through the eyes and experiences of two Senegalese cousins — teenagers living in Dakar who yearn for a brighter future in Europe."

Here is the trailer:

WaPo declares the movie "gorgeous at times yet also tough to watch."

Io Capitano was released nationwide in the US on Friday (Feb. 23). Nationwide doesn't include Norman, Oklahoma, but you big city types might be able to catch it in theaters. The sweeping desert scenes look like they'd be particularly stunning on the big screen.


February 26, 2024 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Birthtourism documentary

PBS is streaming a new documentary on birth tourism, How to Have An American Baby. It takes the view of Chinese mothers, leaving China for a better future by migrating to Southern California to give birth to children who will be US citizens. The practice, is not unlawful per se -- most women have tourist visas that permit lawful entry, though entering under false pretenses is unlawful -- but it has been politically controversial. The filmmaker, Leslie Tai, explains her purpose as exposing the American Dream that doesn't come after 10-years being embedded with a group of mothers in Rowland Heights. She depicts the entire industry as false promises and scams: Chinese salesmen scamming pregnant women by hiking prices on tour packages, pregnant women being coached in US hotels on how to scam the hospitals into a longer stay, and wealthy or well-connected mothers taking advantage of their drivers in the US.

 The tw-hour film can be accessed from PBS here. The LA Times offers a review here.


January 31, 2024 in Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Video at Civil Procedure-Immigration Intersection

I know I'm not the only immprof whose 1L course is Civil Procedure. This post is for all y'all.

A student turned me onto this video from Vox, released about 7 months ago, called Why Texas judges have so much power right now. It's a well done (and blessedly short) piece explaining how federal judges in Texas are assigned cases. Short answer: the state's 4 federal districts are further subdivided into even smaller local districts, some of which only have 1 judge, such that filing in a particular sub-district means getting a specific judge.

The substantive law that this video uses to explain this Civ Pro concept is the Texas lawsuit to prevent the Biden Administration from ending Remain in Mexico. (With a nod to the mifeprestone litigation, too.) In addition to discussing judge-shopping, the video discusses the concept of nationwide injunctions and how one federal judge can effectively control/set policy for the entire country.


January 9, 2024 in Film & Television, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

At the Movies: How the Gringo Stole Christmas (2023)


Need an upbeat holiday movie?  George Lopez stars in the just-released How the Gringo Stole Christmas.  Here is the IMDb summary:  "Bennie's daughter is on her way home for the holidays. However she surprises him by arriving with her brand new boyfriend - an uninvited GRINGO."  You can fill in the blanks.  But a summary from MovieWeb offers some details:

"How the Gringo Stole Christmas is a wholesome holiday flick about an older, grumpy, stuck-in-his-ways father who's forced to change after the arrival of his daughter's non-Hispanic boyfriend. Starring George Lopez, the film is packed with enough sarcastic lines of comedic dialogue to keep you chuckling throughout. With its endearing characters and relationships, along with the film's pleasant (albeit unoriginal) story, How the Gringo Stole Christmas is a charming holiday film that celebrates Hispanic culture and families. Is it predictable? Sure, but the film's focus and cultural specificity, George Lopez's wise-cracking humor, and the alluring interactions between characters make for an entertaining enough Christmas film."


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

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


View this email in your browser


“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.


Order the Film

Request a Preview






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)