Monday, September 18, 2023

Your Playlist: Informer by Snow

Have I got the jam for you. Informer by Snow is the best-selling reggae single in US history. Don't remember the 1992 mega hit? Give it a listen:

Yeah, you know it.

Ok. So you've got a Canadian singing reggae, which he got into after Jamaican immigrants moved to his childhood neighborhood. Is that the immigration angle? Nah.

This is an INA § 212 song.


The singer, Darrin Kenneth O'Brien -aka- Snow has a Canadian criminal record. He has a late-80s conviction related to beating a person with a crowbar during a bar brawl. He served 8 months of the 1 year sentence for that offense. He spent another 8 months in jail awaiting trial for attempted murder before being acquitted. He actually wrote Informer during that second stint behind bars.

As this TikTok-er, known for his musical deep-dives, explains, O'Brien was unable to get a visa to come to the U.S. to promote Informer or later musical endeavors.

@patrickhicks82 You better listen for me now #music #musicstory #musichistory #90smusic #hiphop #reggae #dancehall ♬ original sound - Patrick Hicks Music Stories

Have your students play around with 212 and figure out his inadmissibility. 


September 18, 2023 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Immigrant of the Day: Arnel Pineda (Philippines)

Does the name Arnel Pineda ring a bell to you? He's the current lead singer of the band Journey. You know: Don't Stop Believin'. Pineda took on the role of lead singer in 2007, taking over for Steve Perry.

Somewhere along the line I came across this article--The True Story of Arnel Pineda's Visa Journey--describing Pineda's experience in getting the visa he needed to audition with the band. Short story: it sounded like a fake narrative to get into the US. Except that the consular officer recognized Pineda from seeing him perform and had already been blown away by his ability to sing like Steve Perry!

I just used that tale in class today in our discussion of the admission process.

There are actually a few interesting videos online with Pineda, including this one where he talks a little more about his visa journey:


July 13, 2023 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Portrait of Linda Ronstadt


Latino USA is celebrating its 30th anniversary.  It is bringing listeners voices of some of the most influential Latina/os in the last three decades.  This episode of Latino USA is with music legend, Linda Ronstadt.  Ronstadt has had an extraordinary music career.   She has produced a wide range of musical work, from rock, folk, country, big band, Broadway, mariachi and even light opera. In 2000, Latino USA interviewed Linda for the first time — delving into her Mexican roots and her decision to return to the traditional Mexican music of her childhood.  At 76 years old, Ronstadt talks about her memories growing up in Tucson, Arizona, reckoning with her family history and her legacy.


June 4, 2023 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 5, 2023

Pathbreaking Asian American bookstore closing after 41 years


One of my favorite spots during graduate school was Eastwind Books of Berkeley, located on University Avenue a short distance from the UC Berkeley campus. It was a place to find innovative writing and discover fresh voices. It was also a gathering place for community, causes, and working out ideas to launch a movement.

So I was saddened to see in the Berkeleyside that Eastwind Books closed this week. To be sure, Eastwind is part of a larger movement of independent bookstores closing their brick and mortar locations due to competition from online booksellers, rising rents, and a transformation of commercial activity in a college town during the pandemic. They're also a small operation helmed by Harvey and Beatrice Dong, community activists who are now in the 70s, who deserve to rest and dedicate themselves to other pursuits in retirement.

But this wasn't just any indie bookstore. As the Berkeleyside article states aptly, it's served as a "library, salon, stage, and publisher for generations of Asian American writers, activists and academics." For those who never got to focus on ethnic studies because their high schools and colleges didn't teach it, Eastwind stocked the canon and refreshed it with new releases as the field of study enlarged. For those who didn't know they would be interested, they stocked music, graphic novels, and art alongside the academic monographs. (Not to mention the Asian American authors who launched first books with signings that might've been hard to garner in mainstream bookstores.)

We should all be heartened to know that Eastwind will continue to sell some books online and its sister organization, Eastwind Books Mulicultural Organization, will host events and publish books (one is already listed for May 2023). More details on the future operation and glimpses of the history and context for Eastwind as part of a larger landscape of bookstores appear in this feature article


May 5, 2023 in Books, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 27, 2023

Should Australia let Kanye West in?

Professor Mary Crock

Australia is no stranger to immigration controversies.  Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, also is no stranger to controversy. Mary Crock (University of Sydney) for The Conversation considers Ye's immigration issues in Australia:

"Just one year after then-Immigration Minister Alex Hawke moved to expel tennis star Novak Djokovic from Australia on character grounds, his Labor successor, Andrew Giles, is faced with another controversial visitor in the form of Ye (formerly known as Kanye West).

Although he’s both a musician and rapper, Ye may be best described as a social influencer – and one with very offensive views, especially when it comes to Jewish people and the Holocaust."

Professor Crock concludes by noting that 

"What is clear from previous cases is the fact the immigration minister has long enjoyed extraordinary power to exclude and expel non-citizens whose presence in Australia might prove unpopular. And these decisions inevitably involve political calculations. Just ask Novak Djokovic."



January 27, 2023 in Current Affairs, Music, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2022

Papers Please: The Musical

Ho did I not know about this beauty? Check out Papers Please: The Musical from Random Encounters.

"You will tear up every visa from a person with a beard."

"Every migrant overweight you must now interrogate."


November 18, 2022 in Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Your Playlist: Los Lobos

Matter of Time by Los Lobos is a great segue into topics like the push/pull factors of migration and family reunification.

Here's the opening verse:

Speak softly, don't wake the babyCome and hold me once moreBefore I have to leaveBecause there's a lot of work out thereEverything will be fineAnd I'll send for you babyJust a matter of time



October 20, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars in Concert


A nice music break with refugees from UCTV:

"Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix from the ashes of war and inflamed the passion of fans across the globe with their uplifting songs of hope, faith and joy. From their humble beginnings in West African refugee camps, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have performed on some of the world's most prestigious stages and matured into one of Africa's top touring and recording bands."



September 14, 2022 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Your Playlist: Olmeca

Here's a fun one for your Labor Day weekend -- Olmeca's Browning of America.


I'm definitely going to work this song as an intro to one of my classes this week. It goes nicely with a discussion of "chain migration" -- after all, don't you think that phrase was created out of fear of the "browning of America"?


September 3, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Your Playlist: Los Tigres Del Norte Ft Calle 13

Here's a heck of a song to open your semester of immigration law with: América by Los Tigres Del Norte and featuring Calle 13:

Here's the basic theme:

Porque América es todo el continente
Y el que nace aquí, es americano

Which means:

Because America is the whole continent
And whoever is born here is American

This is followed by a shout out to various American nations: Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile and Costa Rica, Salvador, Uruguay, Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

My favorite bit comes a little later:

Soy la pesadilla del sueño americano
Soy América, soy lo que dejaron
Toda la sobra de lo que se robaron

Which translates to:

I'm the nightmare of the American dream
I am America, I am what they left
All the leftovers of what was stolen

This song is definitely making my playlist this year.


August 28, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Your Playlist: Me Fui (various artists)

The story of the song Me Fui is fascinating. It was originally composed and sung by Reymar Perdomo, a migrant from Venezuela living in Perú. The original video is a street performance with Reymar leading a group of Venezuelan immigrants in song.

That video went viral. And what happened next was pretty epic.

A Colombian journalist, Daniel Samper, brought Reymar to Colombia and surprised her with a bus sing-a-long featuring three well-known Colombian singers--Carlos Vives, Santiago Cruz and Andrés Cepeda.

Cool, right? THE STORY ISN'T OVER!

Some time later, 16 Latin American artists collaborated on another version of her song: Ventino, San Luis, Debi Nova, Víctor Muñoz, Sebastián Yatra, Raquel Sofía, Fonseca, Juan Fernando Velasco, Santiago Cruz, Fanny Lu, Leslie Shaw, Silvestre Dangond, Andrés Cepeda, Cáceres and Javier Ramírez.

The title of the piece now is Me fui: El himno de los migrantes venezolanos que reunió a diferentes cantantes latinos (I left: The Anthem of Venezuelan Migrants that Brought Together Different Latino Singers).

This is clearly a song with legs. A great accompaniment to your push/pull discussion.


August 3, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Your Playlist: Desorden Público

Check out the Venezuelan ska band Desorden Público's Los que se quedan, los que se van. It's about the Venezuelans who leave their country to pursue opportunities around the globe but who don't leave without "inmenso... vértigo."

Representative lyrics:

Los que se quedan, los que se van (Those who stay, those who go)
Algún día volverán... (Someday they will come back...)


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

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Race and Regulation Podcast: Race, Citizenship, and Political Inequality

Professor Ming Hsu Chen is featured in a podcast on Race and Regulation, which is being released online July 20, 2022.

The podcast is produced by Patty McMahon and includes music by Philadelphia-based artist, Joy Ike. It builds on a Race and Regulation lecture series that includes the original talk by Chen (YouTube channel), two online symposiums organized by The Regulatory Review, and PPR’s online publications: “Racism, Regulation, and the Administrative State” and “Race and Regulation.” 

Episodes have been recorded with these experts working on issues at the intersection of law, race, and public policy: Dorothy E. Roberts (George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at Penn Carey Law), Chris Brummer (Georgetown), Jessica Trounstine (UC-Merced), Guy-Uriel Charles (Harvard), Anita L. Allen (Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at Penn Carey Law), Jill A. Fisher (UNC-Chapel Hill), Ming Hsu Chen (California), Olatunde C. Johnson (Columbia), Brian D. Feinstein (Assistant Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics at the Wharton School), and Daniel E. Ho (Stanford).

July 20, 2022 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Your Playlist: Jesse & Joy

Looking for a new song to add to your immigration playlist? This song isn't new, new (it's from 2017)... but it just might be new to you. Check out Jesse & Joy's Un Besito Más, which translates to One More Kiss.

It's something of a heart-breaker, focusing on U.S. citizen children who have lost a parent or parents to deportation.

Sé que no querías marcharte (I know you didn't want to leave)
Sé que te querias quedar(I know you wanted to stay )


July 17, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Puerto Rico NOW!

Thursday, July 28 at 4:00 PM ET
A vibrant island chain in the Caribbean, a multivocal diaspora on the mainland, a US territory – Puerto Rico holds an extraordinary place in the world, encompassing a variety of stories, experiences, and challenges.Join Dr. Elizabeth Alexander (President, Mellon Foundation), Alana Casanova-Burgess (Host and Producer of the WNYC and Futuro Media podcast, La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience), Dr. Yarimar Bonilla (Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York City), and Daniel Lind-Ramos (Sculptor and Painter) for a discussion about Puerto Rico Now—its powerful multiplicity, its many lessons, and much more.
Register here. More information and future events can be found at

July 13, 2022 in Books, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)