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)

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Michael Olivas funeral services and obituary

Professor Michael A. Olivas passed on April 22, 2022. Excerpts from his obituary appear below:

Michael led an extraordinary life; he was an impactful scholar, a beloved teacher and mentor, an "accidental" historian, a radio personality, a counselor to political leaders and deans, and a beloved friend. 

After his early education in Santa Fe, Michael graduated magna cum laude from Pontifical College Josephinum and received his Masters and Ph.D. at Ohio State. He then went to Georgetown University Law Center and found a passion for the law. He became a law professor at the University of Houston where he taught for 38 years. He founded the Institute of Higher Education Law and Governance and served as President of the UH Downtown Campus. He served as president of the Association of American Law Schools, elected as a member of American Law Institute and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He was a member of the American Educational Research Association and the National Academy of Education. He was a long time Board member of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund.

In the legal academy, he founded the Latino Law Professor Association and served as a mentor to law professors all over the country. Professor Olivas single handedly mentored and recruited dozens of Latinos into the academy. He wrote 16 books including: No Undocumented Child Left Behind: Plyler v. Doe and the Education of Undocumented School Children; Perchance to DREAM: A Political and Legal History of the DREAM Act; Suing Alma Mater: Higher Education and the Court; and, The Law and Higher Education: Cases and Material on Colleges in Court. The legacy of his scholarship is lauded in a book, Law Professor and Accidental Historian, The Scholarship of Michael A. Olivas, which collected articles by professors around the country who wrote about the brilliance and prescience of his work in immigration, education and diversity. 

Funeral services are on Saturday, April 30 at the Santa Fe St. Francis Cathedral with a rosary at 11:00, the Eulogy at 11:30 and the mass celebrated at noon. A livestream will take place here. In lieu of flowers, Dr. Reyes requests donations be made to MALDEF, 634 S. Spring St. 11th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90014 or to student scholarship funds he established at the University Houston Law Center.

Tributes from other ImmigrationProf editors (and here), and law professors reflect an outpouring of love and loss at his passing.

Olivas memory

April 28, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 24, 2022

The Rock N Roll Law Professor: Michael Olivas


As posted two days ago, we lost a wonderful immigration colleague, Michael Olivas, a few days ago.  To celebrate his life, I wanted to post a bit about some of his loves.  For example, every Christmas holiday season, Michael would allocate a day to watching the Godfather movies

Michael especially loved rock and roll and had a radio show on The Law of Rock N Roll.  The website had "posse postings" with nuggets like this:

"Immigration files on George Harrison and The Concert for Bangla Desh

USCIS has helpfully posted the A-file of the late George Harrison, as he was petitioning to be allowed to perform in the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh... Download PDF File"
Michael had eclectic musical interests, from Linda Ronstadt to Van Morrison to REO Speedwagon to Little Richard.  He always had some thoughts on The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, who I listen to.  I liked this story about Michael's first formative rock n roll experience:
"When [he] was 11 years old he told his parents he was going to spend the night at a friend’s house. Instead, he rode his bike to the Albuquerque Civic Auditorium and found himself electrified with the crowd by founding father of rock ‘n’ roll Little Richard."  (bold added).  And, as he put it, Little Richard changed his life.


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

Monday, April 4, 2022

Ukraine President Zelensky Appears in Video at the Grammys


The war in Ukraine made the Grammys last night.  Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a taped speech during the 2022 Grammys amid his country’s war with Russia.

The video introduced John Legend’s performance of “Free” as part of a special tribute to Ukraine, which is facing an humanitarian crisis with the Russian invasion. Host Trevor Noah introduced the special performance.




April 4, 2022 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Don't Forget the Super Bowl Game -- Among Immigration Enforcement, Television Ads, and the Half Time Show

Bill Hing posted yesterday about the Department of Homeland Security presence at the Super Bowl.

Besides immigration enforcement activities (and the world football championship game), Super Sunday is a cultural phenomenon.  Check out the half time show with of Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre.  Past half times have featured Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and many more (including Janet Jackson in the famous "wardrobe malfunction incident). 


Besides the half time show, many revelers at Super Bowl parties carefully watch the expensive television advertisements

And, yes, there even is an immigration story here.  In 2017, with President Trump in office, Budweiser made news with a Super Bowl ad on immigration.  


84 Lumber also ran an immigration ad during the 2017 Super Bowl:


Last but not least, don't forget the football game.  The resurgent Los Angeles Rams play the upstart Cincinnati Bengals at 3:30 p.m. PST.  My pick:





February 13, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Your Playlist: Scott Ainslie

The Land That I Love by Scott Ainslie explores themes of the push/pull factors leading folks to enter into the United States without authorization.

For example, the chorus cries: "If it weren’t for low wages – I’d be living there still."

Verse two tackles the crossing itself:

So, we paid the coyotes. We rode in the van.
We walked in the desert; lost in this land.
Her feet were so blistered – that she could not go on.
When I left her I kissed her. When I came back, she was gone.

You can read about Scott's journey to writing this song at this link. It's dedicated to "Grecia Cruz, who crossed into the Tohono O’odham Reservation desert and was lost June 23, 2007." Ainslie hopes that listeners will "be moved to learn more about NAFTA and the role that US trade policies and globalization play in manipulating labor on both sides of our southern border and in creating the pressing needs that are driving immigration."


January 27, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)