Saturday, November 30, 2019
#NoMusicForICE is a campaign by musicians to remove their music from Amazon in protest of the tech company's "providing digital infrastructure that powers Immigration and Customs Enforcement," in furtherance of ICE's "human rights abuses."
Friday, November 29, 2019
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Immprof Sarah Sherman-Stokes recently played The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun before her class on DACA. After all, John Lennon's fight for deferred action may well have paved the way for DACA itself.
Besides, in these so-often-dark days, we should all be on the lookout for a little sunshine.
Monday, November 11, 2019
I'm wrapping up asylum today in my podium immigration course. I'm going to share the Jeff Sessions quote about dirty immigration lawyers and play the Trump quote about asylum being a big fat con job. What's the perfect song to pair with this topic? Christina Aguilera's Dirrty, of course.
Friday, November 1, 2019
For your Friday night listening pleasure: Daniela Andrade's Gallo Pinto. Here's one verse:
This one’s for my mami, this one’s for my dad
Gave up everything to give me
What they couldn’t have
This one’s for dreamers
Working through their past
You are not defined by all the things that you don't have
Friday, October 25, 2019
At 74, Neil Young will finally become an American citizen: 'We've got a climate emergency' https://t.co/YOB6E2ChDy— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) October 24, 2019
Randy Lewis for the Los Angeles Times reports that rock music icon Neil Young will become a U.S. citizen. A long time resident of the United States, Young is well-known for the political angle to his music. As Lewis reports,
“`I’ve passed all the tests; I’ve got my appointment, and if everything goes as planned, I’ll be taking the oath of citizenship' shortly after turning 74 on Nov. 12. The salient point being, `I’ll be able to vote,' said Young, who has lived roughly two-thirds of his life in the U.S. since arriving in Los Angeles in the mid-’60s and first making his mark on the rock ’n’ roll landscape with Buffalo Springfield.
`I’m still a Canadian; there’s nothing that can take that away from me,' he said. . . . `But I live down here; I pay taxes down here; my beautiful family is all down here — they’re all Americans, so I want to register my opinion' about this country."
Young's decision to become a citizen may be part of a more general trend among immigrants who want to participate politically through the ballot box. As Matt Pearce reported earlier this week, "Over the last two decades, naturalized immigrants have grown into a force at the ballot box, with the United States recently swearing in more than 700,000 foreign-born U.S. citizens each year. . . . Naturalized citizens . . . cast more than 8% of the ballots in the 2018 midterm elections, almost double their share in the 1996 presidential contest, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates."
Friday, October 11, 2019
The original song speaks to undocumented communities living in hiding. Downs’ rendition is a lively cumbia take on the original, with a focus on current issues at the U.S.-Mexico border as she sings, “If we don’t fight for the children, what will become of us?”
“I mention the immigrant children in the detention centers and sing from the feminine perspective, about the thousands of women and children who migrate today,” she said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Check this out in Time!
As Gomez puts it, "I’m concerned about the way people are being treated in my country. As a Mexican-American woman I feel a responsibility to use my platform to be a voice for people who are too afraid to speak."
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
I've been searching for the right song to pair with diversity visas for a long time. I can't say I'm done with that search, but here's the song I landed on for this year -- Brandy Clark's Pray to Jesus.
It's a pretty song and the chorus is nicely on point:
So we pray to Jesus and we play the lotto
Cause there ain't but two ways
We can change tomorrow
And there ain't no genie
And there ain't no bottle
So we pray to Jesus and we play the lotto
Monday, September 9, 2019
If you're teaching Korematsu, consider starting with Sarah Kay's 14th Amendment.
It's more spoken word than song, but it's a powerful introduction to the topic of internment.
And for any immprofs out there who also dabble in Con Law -- check out the entire album: 27, featuring songs about every amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Sunday, September 8, 2019
On Friday, I submitted my application for tenure. My word, that was a process. Having taught at two different institutions for over 10 years, it felt a bit like filing backdated taxes in multiple jurisdictions, one of them overseas.
One of my tenure requirements involved writing a statement about my teaching. It was an opportunity to talk about my teaching philosophy and different teaching techniques that I employ.
Readers know that I love to play music in class. But I'm not sure I ever told you who inspired me to to that: immprof Jayesh Rathod (American U.).
Here's what I told my tenure reviewers, in the context of experimenting in the classroom:
When I started teaching, I would occasionally play a song during class. My first course was Immigration Law, and when we discussed terrorism exclusions, I played M.I.A.’s Paper Planes. M.I.A. has a unique immigrant history: She was born in London, moved as an infant to Sri Lanka where her father was a founder of the separatist militant organization called the Tamil Tigers, spent much of her childhood in hiding (avoiding the Sri Lankan army), and eventually returned to London as a child refugee. Her song, Paper Planes, is about her experience with being denied a visa to perform in the United States “due to her politically charged lyrics.” The song is, in her words, about “appearing really threatening to society. But not being so. Because, by the time you’ve finished working a 20-hour shift, you’re so tired you [just] want to get home to the family. I don’t think immigrants are that threatening to society at all. They’re just happy they’ve survived some war somewhere.”
In 2010, I attended a conference for immigration law teachers where I met Jayesh Rathod of American University Washington College of Law. He presented on the idea of playing music before every class. He discussed a two-fold benefit: (1) the opportunity to connect coursework to musical themes in an effort to advance learning, and (2) the opportunity to connect with students through music. Jayesh discussed empirical studies about the benefits of music. Ever since that conference, I play music during the minutes before class starts—when students are turning on their laptops and getting seated. I choose music that connects to our course material and create an on-line playlist for the semester. For example, in Civil Procedure I, when I cover what is needed in a complaint to satisfy the Supreme Court decisions of Twombly and Iqbal, I play “Summer Nights” from the movie Grease. The Supreme Court’s decisions center the idea that plaintiffs cannot begin a lawsuit by stating mere legal conclusions, they must present more: factual allegations that support inferences of misconduct. Thus, the refrain of Summer Nights is particularly apt: “Tell me more, tell me more.”
Students have responded favorably to the music over the years. Students love to think up songs on their own and come to me with their recommendations. I even receive occasional e-mails from former students letting me know about a new song they heard on the radio and how I might incorporate it into class.
So here is my big, fat, public thank you to Jayesh! I am extremely grateful for that 2010 immprof conference in Chicago. Your presentation inspired me -- as did the CD you shared after the conference. I'll be playing The Perfect Nanny by Louis Prima and Gia Maione tomorrow before we discuss Matter of Marion Graham. Still the best song choice!
Monday, April 15, 2019
World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma brought his Bach Project to the sister cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on Saturday. Laredo’s “Day of Action” featured performances in both cities to celebrate the relationship between the two communities. Ma played the opening notes of J.S. Bach's "Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello" in a park near the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, one of the crossings that connect the U.S. and Mexican cities.
"As you all know, as you did and do and will do, in culture, we build bridges, not walls," Ma said. After his performance, he gestured to the bridge. "I’ve lived my life at the borders. Between cultures. Between disciplines. Between musics. Between generations."
Friday, April 12, 2019
I found myself browsing YouTube for a good song to pair with discussion of sanctuary cities. Lo and behold, I found two unusual choices.
First, check out Johnny Guitar's I Wanna Live In A Sanctuary City.
That's the one I've settled on to play. Sure, the sound quality could be better. But the lyrics are charming. How can you not like a line like this: "Donald Trump continues his pedantic rants, he's gonna take away the city's million dollar grants."
The quality of this second video is much better. You would expect that as it's from the Theater for the New City Street Theater Company.
It's a solid choice and I just might play it in the future. But there's an odd rant about the EPA and climate change in the middle. It doesn't stay quite as on point as Johnny Guitar.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Thursday, March 21, 2019
I tend to start the semester with a heady tune like Land of the Free (the Killers) or Borders (M.I.A.). I'm starting to rethink that approach. Let's be honest, the best thing to be done on day one is to welcome the students to the class and get them psyched for the semester to come. No one could possibly do a better job with that mandate than the venerable Sir Mix-a-Lot with his version of Jump On It.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
A week before the Grammy Awards, 21 Savage was arrested in Atlanta and placed in removal proceedings by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which said he was an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” and charged him with overstaying his visa. He was released a week later on $100,000 bond. 21 Savage — birth name She’yaa bin Abraham-Joseph — was born in London.
"Three days before 21 Savage’s arrest on Feb. 3, LaPolt was already putting an action plan in motion. `We had heard that they were looking at him,' she said.
In late January, 21 Savage performed a new version of his single `A Lot' on `The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,' with lyrics that touched on the issue of children being separated from their parents at the United States border, a controversial Trump administration tactic to discourage illegal immigration.
`There was scuttlebutt after the Jimmy Fallon show' coming from `some very high levels in Washington,' LaPolt added. What she heard suggested that 21 Savage had ruffled feathers."
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Friday, February 8, 2019
This is Malinda Kathleen Reese's second appearance on the immprof blog. She must be honored beyond compare. Malinda is the person behind the fabulous fun of "Google Translate Sings" on youtube where she creates videos that use Google Translate to distort the lyrics and stories of well-known songs.
For years, I've been using her google translate of "Let It Go" as an introduction to teaching court translation. No more! I will be using her rendition of Hamilton from now on.
Big ups to immprof Liz Keyes for bringing this amazingness to my attention.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Check out this new music video from the Killers, directed by Spike Lee. It's for their new song "Land of the Free."
I may play this in class tomorrow. We'll be talking about immigrant detention and I like the lines: "And we got more people locked up than the rest of the world / Right here in red, white and blue (I'm standing, crying) / Incarceration's become big business / It's harvest time out on the avenue."
The Killers' frontman, Brandon Flowers, told one interviewer that the song comes from a place of “enough is enough." “I would start the song, and then I would put it away and say, ‘I’m not the guy to do this’… and then it just piled up... It was just like, ‘I have to get this out.’”
Thank you, Dina Haynes, for the music tip!
Sunday, February 3, 2019
An Atlanta-based rapper known as 21 Savage has been apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A government spokesperson has said that 21 Savage is a citizen of the U.K. who came to the U.S. at the age of 12 and overstayed his visa.
He is a Grammy-nominated artist, appearing on Post Malone's Rockstar, which was up for Record of the Year and Best Rap Performance.
21 Savage isn't just deportable for being out of status. He's got a 2014 drug conviction. And he'll be in removal proceedings in the notoriously tough courts of Atlanta.