Monday, January 10, 2022

Bob Marley's U.S. Immigration File


LexisNexis Immigration Law brought to my attention an immigration gem -- Bob Marley's U.S. Immigration File.  the file is the subject of this article by Claudia Gardner in DanceHallMag.

"Reggae legend Bob Marley was ordered by United States Immigration officials, to leave the country or be deported, on two occasions, records dating back to 1966 have revealed. The documents, totaling 95 pages, which were requested by journalist and social justice activist Murv Glass a month after Bob died in 1981 under the Freedom of Information Act, have been online from as far back as August 2021."

Check out the article for documents in Marley's Immigration and Naturalization Service file.



January 10, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 24, 2021

Your Playlist: Alex Boyé

This is Refugee's Christmas by Alex Boyé:

Here are some choice lyrics:

I′m calling America one time
Tell me what you say
Please don't put me on hold
Don't call me useless
I am here
To remind you
We're not invisible
Standing right here
We are Humans with hopes & fears


December 24, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Music Break: Foreigner, Head Games


I was listening to some classic rock radio and wondered how the band Foreigner got its name.  It turns out that half the band was British and half was American.  And it turns out that one of the band's hits was about the law.




December 23, 2021 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Your Playlist: Sade

Here's a mellow number for your Saturday night -- Sade's Immigrant:

Here are the first verses:

Coming from where he did
He was turned away from
Every door like Joseph
To even the toughest among us
That would be too much

He didn't know what it was to be black
'Til they gave him his change
But didn't want to touch his hand
To even the toughest among us
That would be too much


November 6, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Your Playlist: El Tri

It's Saturday night and time for a new immigration song. Try El Muro (The Wall) by El Tri.

Some lyrics:

Voy buscando encontrar mi camino (I'm looking to find my way)
Voy buscando una oportunidad (I'm looking for an opportunity)
Se que voy a encontrar mil problemas (I know I'm going to find a thousand problems)
Se que voy a tener que luchar (I know I'm going to have to fight)
Pero vale el esfuerzo la pena (But it's worth the effort)


October 23, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Teenage People Smugglers on the U.S./Mexico Border

WaPo's multimedia story The child migrant smugglers of Northern Mexico is definitely worth a read. And look.

The article tells the story of teenage people smugglers operating on the U.S.-Mexico border. Teenagers are particularly suited to this work, the article explains, because the DOJ doesn’t prosecute Mexican minors for smuggling. All bets are off for the 18+ crowd.

The article focuses on one teen in particular and the choices seasoned smugglers like him must make when they age-out of the migrant-trafficking side of cartel business. I won't offer spoilers, but it's intense.

The article includes photos and videos that would be really compelling additions to class.

And there's even a link to a rap song that could be used before your discussion of people smuggling:


October 6, 2021 in Current Affairs, Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Your Playlist: Robbie O'Connell & Finbar Clancy

Kilkelly Ireland Song, performed by Robbie O'Connell & Finbar Clancy, is truly unique. The lyrics come from old letters, dating to the late 1800s, between an Irish immigrant to America and his family back home in Ireland.

Fair warning: you're going to want some tissues in hand while listening to this one.


October 5, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 17, 2021

Your Playlist: Malini D. Sur

Check out Yes I Am (American) by Malini Sur:

In an early verse Sur sings: "Yes I am an American. And my skin in brown. I am an American, with a name you can pronounce."

Later, she references SB 1070, singing: "Who are you? And do you belong? You're looking like you are strange."

Her response? "Yes I am an American, as god-fearing as you."


September 17, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Your Playlist: The Pogues

The Pogues are a Celtic punk band. Tell me that doesn't intrigue you! My older sister was introduced to their music in college and helpfully passed along an appreciation of the band to me. There's a flavor of immigration in several of their songs, but I'll highlight just two.

First up: Thousands Are Sailing

Choice lyrics:

"Ah, no", says he, "it was not to be
On a coffin ship I came here
And I never even got so far
That they could change my name"

Next, check out Body of an American

This one you may be familiar with, if you're a mega-fan of The Wire. It was a favorite sing-a-long when the cops got drunk. The song's about a wake for an Irish-American boxer who's body has been shipped back to Ireland for burial.

Choice lyric: "I'm a free-born man of the USA"


August 11, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 5, 2021

6 experts give a letter grade on Biden-Harris administration's handling of immigration thus far


President for six months, Joe Biden has faced many immigration challenges and high hopes after the Trump years of  tough and unforgiving immigration enforcement. How is he doing?

Business Insider's "6 experts give a letter grade on Biden-Harris administration's handling of immigration thus far" offers a variety of views:

Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee's US/Mexico Border Program:  Grade:  D

Carlos Rojas Rodriguez, longtime immigration organizer who Biden told to 'vote for Trump':  Grade:  F

Lee Gelernt, deputy director ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project:  Grade:  N/A

Roberto Lopez and Laura Peña, TX Civil Rights Project:  Grade:  D/F

Bob Carey, former director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement under President Obama:  Grade:  B/B+

Oliver Merino, coordinator for Immigration Legal Resource Center:  Grade:  F

Vicki Gaubeca, director of Southern Border Communities Coalition:  Grade:  B-



August 5, 2021 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Your Playlist: Chris Rea

The blues is a genre uniquely suited to convey the pathos of immigration. Check out Chris Rea's Immigration Blues:

Some choice lyrics:

Don't know where my cousin went to
Maybe they sent him back alone
I miss the ones I left so badly
Maybe I should have stayed back home


August 4, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Your Playlist: Coco Tea

Add a little reggae to your immigration playlist with Coco Tea's New Immigration Law:

The song dates to 1997 and, I'm guessing based on the timing (I can't find any interview to confirm absolutely) that it's about the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009 (1996).

Some choice lyrics: "the Law, treating everyone like outlaw" and "it might earn you indefinite detention."


July 28, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Your Playlist: Chambao

Looking for a new song on this Saturday night? Try Papeles Mojados by the Spanish flamenco-electronic band Chambao:

Some of the great lyrics: "Navegan cargaos de ilusiones" and "Ponte tú en su lugar."


July 17, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Your Playlist: Ana Tijoux (with Roja y Negro)

The music video for Misterio by Ana Tijoux & Roja y Negro features women day laborers of the Workers Justice Project (WJP).


July 11, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Arturo O'Farrill's "Fandango at the Wall" Transcends Borders



Each year since 2008, around Memorial Day, a transnational jam session happens on both sides of the wall at the Tijuana-San Diego border. This Fandango Fronterizo Festival inspired Grammy-winning musician and composer Arturo O’Farrill to launch a three-part project (album, book and film) under the title Fandango at the Wall to explore the close connections between Mexico and the United States. For this concert O’Farrill and his special guests tear down musical walls, exploring jazz, classical, Broadway, hip hop and son jarocho.  NPR interviewed O'Farrill and discussed how he's not only crossing artificial borders but erasing them. 

Good news for those in the UC Davis area.  Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Band plus Villalobos Brothers and the Conga Patria Son Jarocho Collective will appear at the Mondavi Center on October 14.


July 6, 2021 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 2, 2021

Los Jornaleros del norte "Sabor a mi"


Check out the music video from a day laborer band, Los Jornaleros del Norte.   For more than 25 years, the band has told the stories and struggles of immigrant communities.   

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network is promoting the Los Jornaleros music on its website and its Radio Jornalera.

Enjoy the classic Mexican song Sabor A Mi.


July 2, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Your Playlist: María del Pilar

Check out Illegal en Estyle by María del Pilar:

She croons:

Yo no cruzo la frontera con mis tenis marca brinca me llevan al norte.
En avión sin bigotes en tour bus, no a pata.

How does she cross the border? Not by foot, but by plane. She's illegal, in style.

This song is the perfect accompaniment to a conversation about how more undocumented migrants today are visa overstayers as opposed to border crossers.


July 1, 2021 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Your Playlist: MF DOOM

Banished, by MF DOOM (Daniel Dumile), a collaboration with Jneiro Jarel, opens with: “Villain got banished/Refused out the U.S., he ain’t even Spanish.” Other sweet lyrics: "No, not deported/ Be a little minute before things get sorted."

Over at Pitchfork, Noah Yoo has the skinny about DOOM, and his "Lifelong Struggle With the U.S. Immigration System."

This article is worth a READ. Seriously. Quick version:

DOOM came to the US on a B2 visa as an infant in 1971. His mom (an immigrant from Trinidad) filed a family-based petition for him when he was three. The petition was approved but was never followed up by a visa application, apparently because his mother didn't have the money to pursue it. In 1993, he pled guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault, paid a fine and restitution, and served probation. In the course of his rap career, he went to Canada in 2004 and had trouble returning to the US. He said he thought he was a USC or LPR; he was neither. He sought registry. The government served an RFE and ultimately denied the application saying the request for evidence wasn't responded to. He left the country again on tour, and was deemed inadmissible upon his return in 2011 based upon: (i) not having a visa, (ii) CIMT, (iii) unlawful presence. He tried to enter again in 2012, and again was denied. In an interview with Q magazine in 2012, he said: “I’m done with the United States, it’s no big deal.” DOOM died in 2020.

Y'all, the exam just writes itself!


June 22, 2021 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Your Playlist: Diana Jones

Diana Jones is a NYC based singer songwriter and her new CD Song To A Refugee (released yesterday) is a "heartfelt folk record focusing on the refugee crisis around the world as well as the border crisis." Here is the video for her song "We Believe You" (featuring Richard Thompson, Steve Earle and Peggy Seeger):

As Jones told the New York Times, “It’s important that we have people in our lives who believe us, especially for traumatized people — people who, in this case, are being demonized or ‘othered’ for wanting a safe haven and, eventually, a home.”

This song would be a truly excellent introduction to your discussion of issue of credibility in asylum cases.


June 12, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Your Playlist: The Linda Lindas

I first heard The Linda Lindas perform in the Netflix film Moxie. I became an immediate fangirl, following them on instagram. The members of The Linda Lindas are all tween and teenage girls--10(!), 13, 14, and 16. They are "Half Asian and half Latinx. Two sisters, a cousin, and their close friend."

Yesterday, the band performed their song Racist, Sexist Boy at the LA Public Library. Mila (10) introduces the song saying: "A little while before we went into lockdown a boy in my class came up to me and said that his dad told him to stay away from Chinese people. After I told him that I was Chinese, he backed away from me." Mila responded by co-writing this song with her bandmate Eloise.

You are a racist sexist boy / And you have racist sexist joys / We rebuild what you destroy
You say mean stuff / And you close your mind to things you don’t like / You turn away from what you don’t want to hear.

Man. These girls ROCK.

I'm pretty sure this is going to be my new anthem heading into discussion of Chae Chan Ping.


May 22, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)