Tuesday, December 3, 2019

El Sueño Americano | The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer


Tom Kiefer’s “Diary,” 2018. The note starts, “Blanca I want you to know that I have loved you since I met you” and ends with “I will be yours forever.” (Tom Kiefer/Redux Pictures)

Tom Kiefer, a former janitor at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in southern Arizona, collected and photographed belongings seized from migrants between 2003 and 2014, Makeda Easter writes in the Los Angeles Times. More than 100 of his photographs are now on display at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Yet one of the show’s biggest tragedies, according to Skirball curator Laura Mart, is that “we have no way of knowing really who these people are, who carried these things, what happened to them, and what they’re doing now.”  

Here is more about the exhibition "El Sueño Americano | The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer."



December 3, 2019 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Awe Inspiring Sculptures of Bruno Catalano

Check out this stunning sculpture by Bruno Catalano. It is called Fragments, and it is part of a larger, 10 sculpture project called The Travelers or, more accurately, Les Voyageurs.


Catalano himself is something of a voyager. He was born in Morocco to a Sicilian family. At ten, he and his family moved to France. At twenty, he became a sailor.

This series explores "themes of travel, migration and journeying," as Daily Art magazine puts it. For Catalano, he wanted to explore the idea that "all his travels left him feeling that a part of [him] was gone and will never come back."


September 24, 2019 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 8, 2019

HONY Nails The Uncertainty of Tech Workers on Temporary Visas


Once again, HONY impresses with an interview hitting on key issues regarding U.S. immigration law. Flag this one for use in your class about nonimmigrant visas. Great classroom conversation fodder!

I came from India in 2011 to get my Masters, and ended up working for a major tech company in San Francisco. It was a lucrative job, but there was always a looming cloud of uncertainty. Half of the people in my department were international workers-- mostly Indian and Chinese. All of us were on visas, so our future in America depended upon keeping our employment. I don’t think the managers intended to push us harder. But the international workers were more afraid, so we took more abuse. It just became part of the culture. We were given extra work, and the only way to keep up was to kill yourself every day. I just couldn’t do it. Eventually I burned out and moved to Vancouver. Canada was very welcoming. My wife and I have residency already. I’ve started my own business. I have all the clients I need. But most importantly I have a home. And I’m not talking about a brick structure. I mean a place that I’m allowed to be. Because once I had that, all my other problems seemed smaller. I could start thinking long term. Because no matter what happens, at least I know I’ll be here.


July 8, 2019 in Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Border Changes

I am currently in San Diego, California, with law students from around the country, teaching Hofstra's Immigration Law and Border Enforcement course. Over the next week, you may hear from some of these students as they report back on our experiences at the border.

Yesterday morning, we toured the U.S.-Mexico border with Border Patrol. I was absolutely shocked to see the difference on the border in just one year.

The primary fencing that had been in place since the Clinton administration has been largely dismantled. Here is what the fencing used to look like. It was made from landing mats dating to the Vietnam War.


Now, for several miles in San Diego, the primary fence looks like this: 


At the same time, the secondary fence that has been in place since 2006 has also changed. Stretches of the fencing continue to look as they have for years.


But in many areas the secondary fencing now looks like this:


The concrete base extends four feet into the ground. And each of those steel bollards is filled with concrete. Here is what the different fencing looks like side-by-side:


Down at the beach where the fencing ends has also dramatically changed. For years, it looked like this:


Now this entire stretch is covered in coils and coils of concertina wire.


I am a news junkie. I knew things were changing at the border. Yet I was surprised to see such a rapid and dramatic transformation of the physical landscape.


May 21, 2019 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

"Crying Girl on the Border" Wins World Photo of the Year Award


John Moore’s photograph, “Crying Girl on the Border,” is powerful. The Getty Images photographer was awarded the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year award for the image, the Associated Press reports.

As AP reports) the award-winning photograph showed a Honduran toddler crying as a U.S. Border Patrol officer pats down the child’s mother in Texas.  Getty Images photographer John Moore’s winning image shows 2-year-old Yanela Sanchez and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, after they were taken into custody in June 2018.  In my estimation, the photo heled build public outrage that culminated in the Trump administration ending its policy of separating migrant parents and children.

Time magazine published the photo on a cover of an issue.


April 14, 2019 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Fred Ramos, Photographer

Fred Ramos is a photographer working out of El Salvador. As the NYT reports, Ramos has spent the last five years photographing "the longstanding political, social and environmental crises that are driving migration in the region." Here is one of the photos from his website:


You can see many more photos at the NYT link and on Ramos' website.


March 21, 2019 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Border Wall One of Time Magazine's 2018 Top 100 Photos


A group of Central American migrants near the El Chaparral crossing in Tijuana climb the fence between Mexico and the U.S. on Nov. 25, a day of turmoil at the border. Pedro Pardo—AFP/Getty Images

One of Time Magazine's 2018 Top 100 Photos


December 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 8, 2018

Refugees and Migrants Tell Their Own Stories Through Photographs


Roberta Chalini is a member of Mujeres en Movimiento, a self-organized group that explores the use of dance, art, ancestral remedies and civic engagement to empower Latina immigrant women in Corona, Queens. 2018.CreditSol Aramendi/Project Luz

Sara Aridi in the New York Times has a feature on "Refugees and Migrants Tell Their Own Stories Through Photographs."  The article reports on  “Another Way Home,” the 25th annual “Moving Walls” exhibition series by the Open Society Documentary Photography Project.  in the series, migration takes center stage not only because of our times, but because it has been a constant theme throughout the series’ history.


October 8, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Architectural Photography Award Shortlist Includes Border Crossing Facility

The Architectural Photography Awards shortlist for 2018 includes, under the category "Exterior Images," the below photo by Shao Feng. It's an overhead shot of the Hong-Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Border Crossing Facility.


Award finalists will be chosen in late November.


October 3, 2018 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

HONY: Falun Gong Asylee

Photo by HONY

As I've mentioned before, I like using the documentary Well Founded Fear when teaching asylum. I give my students clips from the film and ask them to gauge the veracity of the applicants.

One of the clips that I use involves an asylum officer describing an individual coming to him with a "textbook Falun Gong" case who turns out to be a Catholic priest (with a genuine as opposed to fraudulent asylum claim). Given the emphasis in the movie about the falsity of Falun Gong cases, I've often wondered about legitimate cases.

Imagine, therefore, my surprise to see this interview by HONY:

“My grandmother was the first in our family to discover it. One day she joined a meditation in the park. She was taking so many medications at the time, but she threw them all away and never took another trip to the hospital. That was before the crackdown. At one time were one hundred million followers of Falun Gong in China. It’s a peaceful religion. But the following grew too big. Our teacher seemed like a threat to the government. They said crazy things on state media. They called it a cult. They said we’re terrorists and that we kill our parents. They began to arrest us. They even harvested our organs. I know it sounds crazy, but you can Google it. We tried to resist. We practiced inside our home. We secretly handed out fliers to push back against the propaganda. But they caught me on camera. Everywhere there are cameras. They followed me to my home. They shoved me in their car. For eight months I was in detention. The first thing they did was take a sample of my blood. For hours every day they put us in a room and forced us to watch television about how to be a good citizen. If anyone looked away, the whole group was punished. Eventually my family bribed the court with huge money and they let me go. But for three years I had to write a letter every month saying that I am a guilty person. When my probation ended, I left the country.”

This could be an excellent addition to your discussion of Well Founded Fear or be used as an asylum real-o-thetical on its own.


September 11, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 31, 2018

David Bacon “The Border, The Work & The Fight”, an exhibit of photographs


David Bacon “The Border, The Work & The Fight” is an exhibit of photographs that show the humanity in our social constructs. It now is at the Union Hall Gallery in Sacramento.  They elucidate the complexities of the border as an area with a vibrant social history and powerful social symbolism, especially the wall that has been built in fits and starts, underlining the separation of our two countries.

Check out David Bacon's work here.


August 31, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tommy Trenchard's Photographs of Daily Refugee Life

Tommy Trenchard, a Capetown-based freelance photographer and journalist, has taken a series of photographs designed to capture the day-to-day life of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. Check out the BBC's highlights, which include this snapshot of a toy car made from waste plastic.



August 16, 2018 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Photo exhibit explores the inner lives of migrant domestic workers


Anne Quito on Quartz discusses We Are Like Air, Xyza Cruz Bacani’s exhibition at the Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn.  As the article explains,

"The exhibit’s title, “We Are Like Air,” alludes to these invisible, but essential agents—waiters, housekeepers, drivers, fast food agents, street sweepers, security guards—who ensure the smooth operation of our convenient lives without being seen. Their personal stories, like their presence, are engineered to recede, and it takes someone like Bacani to shock us into seeing them with open eyes and hearts. Frame by frame, Bacani explores not just longing or strife but also love, folly, and levity."

View more on Instagram.



August 16, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Churches Tackle Immigration

As Kevin noted earlier today, Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis has put a cage around statutes of put Mary, Joseph and Jesus in protest over our nation's immigration policies. It isn't the only church to take a stand on the issue.

The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has this sign outside of its D.C. headquarters:


Here is a statement from the Family of God Lutheran Church in East Grand Forks, MN:


In January, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Dallastown, PA offered this thought:


Statements like these are particularly powerful in the face of efforts by the Trump administration to use the bible to justify its policies.


July 3, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 2, 2018

Pictures from Immigration Protests Across the Country

Kit Johnson posted about the immigration protests this weekend and had a wonderful family "protest" picture.

CNN has collected some pictures from protests across the country, which offer a sense of the size and message of the protesters.  Here are a few.


Chicago: Protesters fill Daley Plaza to listen to speakers and show opposition to the White House's immigration policies.  Kamil Krzaczynski/EPA-EFE


Chicago: A young girl holds a sign as she takes part in the protest. Jim Young/AFP/Getty Images


New York: People march across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of families separated at the border.  Spencer Platt/Getty Images


New York: A protester marches across the Brooklyn Bridge. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images


July 2, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 15, 2018

HONY: Diversity Visa

Humans of New York recently interviewed this young man from Benin:


Here's what he had to say:

“I’m from a small country in Africa called Benin. I won the visa lottery to come here. I didn’t even know I was eligible. My brother entered my name and didn’t even tell me. I was studying to be a psychiatrist at the time. I assumed that I’d be able to continue with medical school. But when I arrived here, I found out that none of my credits would transfer. I had a choice: either go home and become a doctor, or start from the bottom. I didn’t speak any English. I didn’t have any money. But I knew if I could somehow make it here, my degree would be much more valuable. So I made the choice to stay. I began practicing English with my young nieces. The first thing I learned was: ‘I’m going to kick you.’ I got a job with a catering company and learned how to say ‘I’m here to deliver your food.’ I studied as many YouTube videos as I could during my free time. It’s been three years now. I’m almost finished with my bachelor’s degree. Just two classes left. At nights I work as a behavioral specialist in a mental health facility. I’m going to take the MCAT in September. My friends back home have all become doctors already, but I try not to think about them. I don’t want to lose my focus. I haven’t made it yet, but I’m making it.”

This kind of first-person story-telling might be a great addition to your discussion of the diversity visa.


June 15, 2018 in Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

From the Bookshelves: Undocumented: Immigration and the Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border by John Moore


Undocumented: Immigration and the Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border by John Moore

With every effort to be an all-encompassing document of the subject of immigration along our southern border, Undocumented features: essays and photos from Central America and Mexico; The Journey North; The Border; Securing the Frontier; Life in a Divided Nation; Detained and Deported. Undocumented, which is reviewed here, also features several portrait series, including undocumented migrants, prisoners in immigration jails, and new American citizens.

Since 2010 Getty Images special correspondent John Moore has been laser-focused on the issue of immigration to the United States. He is unmatched in the field for his comprehensive photography of undocumented immigration and the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. This complex, multi-layered, and amazingly controversial narrative has taken Moore from Central America through Mexico, along every mile of the U.S. southern border, the northern border and immigrant communities in between. Moore’s exclusive access to immigrants on all points of their journey, ICE agents, Border Patrol agents, the USCIS and dozens of NGOs here and abroad sets his photographs apart from all other work on the controversial subject.

Moore’s most recent work includes detentions and increased deportations under the Trump Administration and the resulting widespread fear in the immigrant community in the United States. For its broad scope, compassionate telling and rigorous point of view, this body of work is the essential record on this dominant US domestic topic.


John Moore has worked in more than 70 countries on six continents for more than 25 years. In 2015 he became Getty Images’ first Special Correspondent and Senior Staff Photographer.

He first joined Getty Images in 2005, following more than a dozen years based internationally for the Associated Press, much of it in Latin America. During his career with Getty Images, he has photographed throughout South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. While based in Pakistan, he documented the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He has spent much of his time in conflict zones, including the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since moving back to the United States in 2008, Moore has photographed domestic issues such as returning veterans and the foreclosure crisis. In 2010 he began focusing on immigration between Latin America and the U.S, which has led to this book, Undocumented.

Moore has won top photography awards throughout his career. He has been honored four times from World Press Photo for work both domestic and international. The Overseas Press Club presented him the Robert Capa Gold Medal for his work in Pakistan and the John Faber Award for his work in Congolese refugee camps. Pictures of the Year International and the National Press Photographers Association have named him the Photographer of the Year. He was part of the AP team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of the war in Iraq, and as a Getty staffer he was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer for Breaking News Photography for his photos of the Arab Spring. Moore’s work on the Ebola crisis was honored with the top awards from Days Japan, CHIPP in China and the Sony World Photography Organization, which named him the 2015 Photographer of the Year. Moore is a 1990 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in international communications.




May 3, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Reuters Wins Pulitzer for Rohingya Photography

Reuters has been awarded a Pulitzer prize for "shocking photographs that exposed the world to the violence Rohingya refugees faced in fleeing Myanmar." You can see the full collection of award-winning photographs at this link. Among the photos is this one, snapped by photojournalist Damir Sagolj in December 2017. It's of an 11-month-old Rohingya refugee, Abdul Aziz, who died in a Bangladeshi refugee camp after battling a high fever and severe cough.



April 22, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lewis Hine Photographs

Lewis Hine was an American photographer and sociologist who used his photographs to achieve social change. Last month, a small collection of Hine photographs was put up for auction, including this one of a mother and child at Ellis Island in 1907:


The auction included several other Hine photographs of Ellis Island, which the BBC reprints here. Hine chose to take photographs at Ellis Island in order "to give a human face to the newly arrived families, who were often feared by New Yorkers."


March 7, 2018 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 5, 2018

HONY: Rohingya Refugees

The Facebook sensation Humans of New York is currently reporting stories of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The first story is both horrific and moving.


This young man told HONY:

It was early in the morning when the military came. I woke up to a big sound that sounded like a bomb blast. Then the shooting started and everyone was screaming. We ran for our lives. It was dark and there were people running all around us. It only took us thirty minutes to get to safety because our village is close to the border. But then some of us decided to go back. There were five of us. We were curious. We wanted to see what happened to the others. We crawled on our stomachs to the top of a hill, and looked down at our village. There were so many dead bodies. Some of them were my cousins. I saw a girl from school with three soldiers kneeling on top of her. They were covering her mouth so she wouldn’t scream. I felt so dizzy. I couldn’t stand up. I used to have a dream that I was going to grow up and help my family. I was studying hard. Now I don’t even know why I’d want to live in this world.

Along with shedding light on the dire situation of the Rohingya, HONY is raising funds to help build inexpensive bamboo houses for the refugees.


March 5, 2018 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)