Friday, January 10, 2020

Indian Immigrants Are Saving Canadian Hockey: How the Punjabi diaspora rescued Canada's national sport

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"Instead of threatening the quintessential Canadian [sports] institution [of hockey], immigrants are strengthening it at a time when it needs the help.” Shikha Dalmia writes for Reason that the Punjabi Indian diaspora — especially in Canada — is in fact very much into hockey.  Supported by shows like Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Edition, “Nothing says ‘Canadian’ to them more than watching a game at Scotiabank Arena wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey.”

Dalmia concludes that "immigrants . . .aren't nearly the threat to native culture that restrictionists make them out to be. Of course they're nostalgic for the things they leave behind. But they're also eager to explore and embrace the new things their adopted homes offer. And when they do so, they strengthen—not tear apart—a country's cultural fabric. They weave new strands into it, creating a far richer and more durable tapestry."

 

On NPR, David Greene in 2016 talked to Harnarayan Singh, play-by-play voice for Hockey Night In Canada Punjabi Edition. Singh's dramatic calls have won him fans even beyond Canada's large Punjabi speaking minority.

KJ

January 10, 2020 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 23, 2019

Immigrant of the Day: Kamaru Usman

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Photo via Bleacher Report

Meet Nigerian-born U.S. citizen and UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman.

Recently, Usman faced off against U.S. born Colby Covington who, as it turns out, proudly walks around wearing a MAGA hat. Needless the say, the men exchanged words leading up to their mid-December match.

During the match itself, Usman broke Covington's jaw. Yikes. Sportsing is dangerous.

What caught my eye about the fight wasn't the jaw breaking. It was Usman's comments after the fight.

Several people in attendance at the match shouted "USA! USA!" and Usman spoke to reporters about why those chants were for him:

“What you talking about? They were chanting USA for me. Let’s be honest. I’ve said it time and time again: I’m more American than him. You know, I am what it means to be an American. You know, I’m an immigrant that come here and work my ass off tirelessly to get to the top, and I’m still prevailing. And so that’s what it means to be an American. It’s not necessarily just because you’re born here, you feel privileged is what it means to be an American. No. I told you none of these guys work harder than me. That’s what it means to be an American. I work my ass off, and I’m gonna to continue to work my ass off and obviously with good integrity. I don’t have to walk around like a punk and say certain things and abuse the whole country or abuse the whole world and talk about people and religions – things like that. I don’t have to. You know. I’m gonna walk with integrity because at the end of the day, I want everyone that’s watching me, every eye that’s on me, to look at me and say, ‘You know what, that’s what we want to be, that’s the example that we like.’ And so, you know, I’m more American than him. So, when they were chanting ‘USA,’ that was, you damn sure better believe that was because of me.”

-KitJ

December 23, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 16, 2019

Top 10 Immigration Stories of 2019

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2019 had many big immigration stories.  The big news at the ImmigrationProf blog was the addition of a new superstar blogger.  Welcome Professor Ming Hsu Chen to the ImmigrationProf Blog!

If one is looking simply at changes to U.S. immigration law and policy, the biggest immigration news story of 2019 (like 2017 and 2018) unquestionably was President Donald Trump.  He probably has been the biggest immigration news story since his inauguration in January 2017.  For better or worse, no modern U.S. President has made immigration the priority that Trump has day in and day out.  President Trump is a virtually endless source of immigration comments, insults, tweets, and policy initiatives.   Law professors are indebted to the President for providing fodder for law review articles for many years to come. 

In addition to President Trump, here are my Top 10 Immigration News Stories from 2019, followed with some awards. 

 

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1.  Immigration in the Supreme Court

A wide array of immigration cases continue to make their way to the Supreme Court.  The biggest immigration case of the 2019 Term will decide the future of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.  In November, the Court heard oral arguments in three consolidated DACA cases in which the lower courts enjoined the Trump administration’s attempted rescission of DACA.  See the Argument Recap in DACA Cases.   A ruling in the case is expected at the end of the Term in June.  I predict a 5-4 vote.  Expect fireworks whatever the outcome.  Stay tuned!

The high Court has before it a full array of immigration issues, including the availability of damages for cross-border shootings, judicial review of a variety of immigration decisions, federal versus state power over immigration, the legality of expedited removal, and more.  For an overview of the Supreme Court's 2019 Term immigration docket, see Immigration in the Supreme Court, 2019 Term: DACA, Judicial Review, Federalism, Etc.

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In a blockbuster decision at the end of the last Term in June, the Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote held that the Department of Commerce had provided unconvincing reasoning for adding a question on U.S. citizenship to the 2020 Census.  The Trump administration had made the addition of a citizenship question a high priority.   Joining the liberal justices, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.  For an explanation of why he sided with the liberals, see Department of Commerce v. New York: Why the Supreme Court asked for an explanation of the 2020 census citizenship question.  Many Court watchers were surprised by the outcome of the Census case.  To add to the surprises, the Trump administration announced a few weeks after the decision that it was throwing in the towel on the citizenship question; consequently, the 2020 Census will not have a citizenship question.

 

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President Donald Trump, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Vice President Michael Pence.  Photo courtesy of Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

 

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Chad Wolf

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2.  Turnover in DHS Leadership

2019 saw a game of musical chairs in the office of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.  In April, Kirstjen Nielsen, rumored to be on the outs with President Trump, stepped down.  See Former Department of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Explains Resignation.  Next, the Acting DHS Secretary, Kevin McAleenan, resigned.  See Breaking News: Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan Resigns. He was replaced by another Acting Secretary, Chad Wolf, who at least for now remains in the position.

 

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3.  William Barr Replaces Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

Who is the smiling man in the picture above?  He is the current Attorney General of the United States,  Judging from the picture, the current administration makes him happy.

In February, William Barr was sworn in as Attorney General.  He replaced Jeff Sessions, who had made enforcement of the U.S. immigration laws a high priority.  President Trump had reportedly lost confidence in Sessions.  Barr previously served as Attorney General under President George W. Bush.

The Attorney General, of course, heads the Department of Justice, which houses the Executive Office of Immigration Review (the home of the immigration courts and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)). 

Like Attorney General Sessions, Barr has intervened in cases before the BIA to narrow relief for removal.  See, e.g., L-E-A-, 27 I. & N. Dec. 581 (AG July 29, 2019) (narrowing "membership in a particular social group" for purposes of asylum).  Put simply, do not expect any slowing down of immigration enforcement under Attorney General Barr.  

 

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Judge Dolly Gee

4.  Flores Settlement

The Flores settlement, agreed to by the U.S. government under President Clinton in 1997, governs the detention of migrant children and generally bars minors from lengthy and indefinite immigrant detention. The settlement made the news regularly in 2019. A short and sweet summary of the Flores settlement can be found at The Conversation: A Short Explanation of the Flores Settlement and Its Possible Demise. 

 

Throughout 2019, President Trump continued his effort to abrogate the Flores settlement. He has sought to detain migrant children, and all other migrants, indefinitely while their cases move forward in the immigration courts.  Judge Dolly Gee, who is monitoring the Flores settlement, rejected the latest effort to end the settlement.  See Federal Court Rejects Trump Administration's Effort to End Flores Settlement; Ninth Circuit Rejects Trump Administration's Latest Challenge to Flores Settlement, Holds that Soap, Toothbrushes, and Toothpaste Cannot Be Denied Migrants.

 

The bottom line:  The Flores settlement remains in place and no doubt will be in the news in 2020 as the Trump administration continues to utilize detention in its immigration enforcement efforts. 

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5.  Public Charge and Other Trump Immigration Policy Initiatives

The Trump administration continued to press forward with new immigration enforcement efforts.  There are literally too many to list all of the Trump immigration initiatives.  But here are a few.

The Trump administration proposed a new, stricter approach to the public charge exclusion under the immigration laws.  The proposed rule has been criticized for making it too tough on immigrants of low- and moderate-incomes to come, or stay in, the United States.  The Ninth Circuit -- and later the Fourth Circuit -- stayed a nationwide injunction barring implementation of the proposed rule.  See Ninth Circuit Stays Injunction of Trump Public Charge Rule; The Nationwide Injunction in the Public Charge Case; Breaking news: public charge rule enjoined.

The Trump administration's  Remain  in Mexico policy, a novel approach that makes asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for their claims to be decided, remains in place and is controversial as ever.  

This year, the administration entered into agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in an attempt to  better manage the flow of asylum seekers to the United States and deny relief to migrants who failed to seek asylum in countries on their way to the United States.  See DHS FACT SHEET: DHS AGREEMENTS WITH GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, AND EL SALVADOR.

 

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Photo courtesy of Clarion Ledger

Departing from the practice during the Obama administration, the Trump administration has used immigration raids as an immigration enforcement tool.  During the summer, the President threatened to direct Immigration & Customes Enforcement to conduct mass immigration raids in cities across the country.  The threat struck fear in communities from coast to coast.  In August, the Trump administration on the first day of school conducted immigration raids at food processing plants in Mississippi.  Many children came home from school unable to find their parents.  See ICE Raids in Mississippi, 680 Arrested.

 

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In November, news reports made the rounds that senior White House aide Stephen Miller had promoted white supremacist, anti-immigrant articles in emails to Breitbart.  Miller has been said to be the architect of the Trump administration's immigration policies. 

In April, there were rumors that President Trump was considering the possibility of completely closing the US/Mexico border.  Business interests raised concerns.  Such a measure would dramatically affect trade as well as migration between the two neighboring nations.  In the end, the President never followed through on the threat to close the border.  See Trump backs off threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border.

The state of California continues to resist the Trump administration's immigration enforcement efforts.  In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected most of the administration's challenges to California's sanctuary laws, which sought to distance the state from federal immigration enforcement.  President Trump and others in his administration continue to rail against the public safety risks caused by sanctuary cities.  See Ninth Circuit Rejects Bulk of Trump Administration's Challenge to California "Sanctuary" Laws.

 

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6.  Immigration Court Backlog Hits One Million

In September 2019, the backlog of cases in the U.S. immigration courts' surpassed one million.  The enormous backlog affects every noncitizen with a hearing in the immigration courts, their attorneys, and the immigration judges.  The Trump administration's aggressive enforcement efforts contributed to the rapid growth of the backlog.   Noncitizens seeking relief from removal can expect long -- years in some insttances -- waits for a hearing. 

 

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7.  President Trump Lowers Refugee Admissions

It has been said that  the world is experiencing a global refugee crisis.  Still, President Trump again decreased the number of refugee admissions.  See Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2020; Trump administration sets lowest cap on refugee admissions in four decades. Again.  On November 1, President Trump released the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2020.  It provides for "[t]he admission of up to 18,000 refugees to the United States during Fiscal Year 2020 . . . ."  (emphasis added).  Criticism followed the announcement.  In 2016, President Obama had capped refugee admissions at 85,000.

 

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Marie Yovanovitch

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Fiona Hill

8.  Immigrants and Impeachment

As the nation well knows, Congress has been considering the impeachment of President Trump.   Over the last few months, Democrats and Republicans have regularly and literally been screaming at each other about impeachment.  In stark contrast, several key immigrant witnesses in the impeachment hearings kept their heads for the good of the nation.

 

In hearings on the impeachment  in November, immigrants played a vital role Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is the child of immigrants who fled the Soviet Union and later the Nazi occupation of Europe. Born in Canada, she grew up in Connecticut and became a naturalized U.S. citizen.  Born in Ukraine when it was part of the USSR, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman and his family fled to the United States. He joined the U.S. Army, earning numerous commendations including a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat in Iraq. Vindman is the Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council (NSC).  Fiona Hill, who until recently served in a senior position on the NSC, opened her testimony by describing herself as “American by choice.” Born in a hardscrabble coal mining town in Northern England, Hill came to the United States, attended Harvard, and became a citizen.  All of the immigrant witnesses left enduring competent impressions and important testimony.

 

 

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9.  The Retirement of Professor Michael Olivas

One of the leading immigration scholars of his generation, Michael Olivas of the University of Houston Law Center, has retired from law teaching.   Here is a Guest Post: Celebrating Michael Olivas's Retirement

At the January 2019 annual meeting, the Association of American Law Schools honored Olivas with a lifetime achievement award.  See Immigration Law Values Program, Michael Olivas Honored

In 2010, Olivas was the ImmigrationProf blog's Outstanding Immigration Professor of the Year.   A mentor to countless law professors, myself included, Olivas is an esteemed immigration scholar (as well as a renouwned scholar in higher education, civil rights, and other areas) . For a review of his body of work, see Law Professor and Accidental Historian:  The Scholarship of Michael A. Olivas (Ediberto Roman ed., 2017).

Be on the lookout next June for Olivas' latest book on the DREAM Act and DACA.

 

 

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Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

10.  25th Anniversary of Proposition 187

Contrary to popular belief, California, which produced two Republic Presidents in the twentieth centiry (Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan), was not always a sanctuary state and liberal haven.  Far from it.  In 1994, California voters passed the anti-immigrant milestone known as Proposition 187, which would have barred undocumented children from the public schools and stripped undocumented immigrants of virtually all non-emergency public benefits.  A federal court enjoined most of the initiative from going into effect.  Nonetheless, Proposition 187 prodded Congress in 1996 to pass two major pieces of tough immigration reform and and to eliminate immigrant eligibility for major public benefits program in welfare reform.

Times have changed and, in response to the Trump administration's immigration initiatives, California has declared itself to be a sanctuary state.  By spurring naturalization and increasing Latinx voter turnout, Proposition 187 contributed to the political transformation of the state and the ascendancy to dominance of the Democratic Party.  For analysis of Proposition 187 and its legacy, see

UC Davis Law Review Symposium: The 25th Anniversary of Proposition 187: Challenges and Opportunities for Immigrant Integration and Political Identity in California  Be on the lookout for the symposium issue from this conference, which will be available in spring 2020.

DACA, Proposition 187, and the legacy of the Trump immigration enforcement revolution

25 Years After The Passage of California's Proposition 187: The Beginning of the Political Transformation of California

 

Honorable Mention

There are many other big immigration stories in 2019.  Here are a few worthy of note:

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1.  An Immigrant "Invasion": Words Used by Members of Congress as well as the President and the El Paso Shooter (August):  A sniper, who in an online rant had railed about the "Hispanic invasion," targeted -- and killed -- Latinx people at a shopping center in El Paso. 

 

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2.  News from the US/Mexico Border: JURY ACQUITS NO MORE DEATHS VOLUNTEER OF FELONY HARBORING CHARGES (November):  The Trump administration loses a criminal prosecution of a humanitarian worker seeking to save migrant lives.  One can only wonder whether there were better types of cases for the U.S. government to prosecute.

 

 

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3.  Death on the Border: NPR report: When Migrants Die, Many Bodies Remain Unidentified:  This is not really a news story.  In fact, deaths have been a fact of life for decades along the US/Mexico border.  I include it here lest we forget that migrantse regularly are dying while trying to make it to the United States.  This is a tragic impact of the nation's immigration enforcement policies that seems to not have penetrated the nation's consciousness.

 

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4. Inaugural Issue of AILA Law Journal (Apr. 28):  The new American Immigration Lawyers Association Journal focuses on cutting edge immigration law issues.

 

 

 5.  Fox Apologizes for Graphic: "Trump Cuts U.S. Aid to 3 Mexican Countries" (Apr. 4):  No this is not a late April Fool's Day joke.  You can't make this stuff up.  The show "Fox & Friends" reported news of President Trump's plans to reduce millions of dollars in aid to three Central American countries for not doing enough to stem the stream of migrants to the United States.  As one commentator talked about the president “going full-court press on Mexico” and the co-host spoke of “cutting payments, aid payments, to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,” a caption read "Trump Cuts U.S. Aid to 3 Mexican countries.”  This, of course, is a sad reflection on the state of education in the United States.

 

Immigration Article of the Year

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The Interior Structure of Immigration Enforcement by Eisha Jain, 167 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1463 (2019).  This article is a deep dive into immigration enforcement, going well beyond removals. It calls for restructuring immigration enforcement to consider the full impact of enforcement in light of the impacts of the immigrants present in the United States.

 

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K-Sue Park

Honorable Mention: Self-Deportation Nation by K-Sue Park, 132 Harvard Law Review 1878 (2019).  Besides writing an incredible article, Professor Park should be praised for convincing the editors of the venerable Harvard Law Review to publish an immigration article.  The article analyzes the long history of self deportation policies in the United States.

 

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Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia

Honorable Mention: Immigration Litigation in the Time of Trump by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia.  How did Shoba keep up with all the challenges to Trump’s immigration policies?

 

Book of the Year

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Ghosts of Gold Mountain: On the Chinese Immigrants Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad by Gordon H. Chang (2019).  A groundbreaking history of the Chinese workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad, helping to forge modern America only to disappear into the shadows of history. I loved reading this book while vacationing in the Sierras, not far from where the Chinese workers once toiled on the railroad.  

 

 

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Honorable Mention: America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erika Lee (2019).  The time is perfect for reading a book on the history of xenophobia in the United States.  Will a supplement and pocket part be necessary?

 

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Honorable MentionMigrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (2019).  After the events of the last few years, the entire nation should be considering the morality and policy-sense of mass immigrant detention.  Cesar Garcia's book offers critical analysis on "America's Obsession" with immigrant detention.

 

 

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Immigrant Sportsman of the Year

José de Jesús Rodríguez Martínez, a professional golfer, currently plays on the PGA Tour.  He grew up in poverty in Irapuato, Mexico. At age 12, he dropped out of school and began caddying full-time at Club de Golf Santa Margarita. At age 15, Rodríguez crossed the Rio Grande and entered the United States. He worked in the United States for a decade, mostly as part of the maintenance crew at a country club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Rodriguez then became a pro golfer.  See ‘The most unbelievable story in golf’: A treacherous border crossing was just the beginning of José de Jesús Rodríguez’s journey to the PGA Tour.  The Golf Channel is working on a documentary about Jose Rodriguez.

 

Photo of the Year

I could not resist ending the year without recognizing this photograph:

 

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The photo was posted on March 3, 2019 in the post A Sign of the Times: Arkansas church sign -- ‘heaven has strict immigration laws, hell has open borders'.  

In April, the photo that showed the world the cruelty of the Trump administration's family separation policy, was honored with the World Photo of the Year Award.  See "Crying Girl on the Border" Wins World Photo of the Year Award.  This photo helped fuel the public outcry against family separation and led to the policy's demise.

 

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John Moore/Getty Images/World Press Photo

 

Film Landmark

 

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2019 marked the 35th anniversary of the classic refugee film El Norte.  The film tells the powerful story of a young Guatemalan brother and ister who fled the war-torn nation and journeyed to the United States.  It is a true classic.  Sadly, El Norte remains topical today as Central Americans continue to come to the United States seeking asylum from violence in their homelands.

KJ

 

 

 

 

December 16, 2019 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Law Review Articles & Essays, Photos, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 1, 2019

Immigrant of the Day: Guillermo Piñeda Morales, Marathoner (Mexico)

 

Meet Memo, the Marie Kondo of Fitness a video b New York Times website.  Here is the summary:

"In a cluttered world of boutique fitness studios and high-end gear, Guillermo Piñeda Morales reminds us that we don’t actually need much to be our best.

Memo is a minimalist, so we’ll keep this short. In the Video Op-Ed above, we trail Guillermo Piñeda Morales, a.k.a. Memo. He clocked a 2:28:42 at this year’s Boston Marathon. At age 46, that places him in the top 10 marathon runners for his age group globally. That’s very fast.

The American fitness industry is worth $30 billion, but Memo’s not in on the trend. He won’t pop up in your Instagram #fitspo feed and you won’t get a glimpse of him at your gym. But if you have a resolution to run a marathon sometime, Memo will likely be whizzing past you. This Sunday, he’ll be running the New York City Marathon, bib #477. You can track him on the marathon’s official app.

What’s Memo’s trick? Well, you can find that in the video. But it’s far simpler and cheaper than anything else out there."

The video recount's Memo's background, including growing up in Mexico before coming with authorization to the United States and his simple yet effect work ethic (1. Work hard. and 2. Never give up.).  Now a U.S. citizen, Memo loves running and it shows.  He is one of the top marathoners in the world in his age group. Memo will be running the New York City Marathon on November 3.

Hat tip to Dan Kowalski.

KJ

November 1, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Tennis Star picks Japanese citizenship to play at Tokyo 2020: Two-time Grand Slam-winner has began steps to choose Japanese citizenship with the aim of playing at Tokyo 2020

 

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The Olympic Channel reports that two-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka intends to play for Japan at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by choosing Japanese nationality.

Born in Osaka to a Japanese mother and a father from Haiti, the 21-year-old currently holds dual nationality with both Japan and the United States, having grown up in New York.  She turns 22 on October 16, the age at which Japanese law obliges dual-nationality citizens to choose one.  Osaka shared with a Japan's national broadcasting organization that she has started proceedings to choose Japanese citizenship.

Osaka has lived in the United States since she was three years old.  She came to prominence at the age of sixteen when she defeated former US Open champion Samantha Stosur in her WTA Tour debut at the 2014 Stanford ClassicOsaka made her breakthrough in women's tennis in 2018, when she won her first WTA title at the Indian Wells Open. In September 2018, she won the US Open, defeating 23-time major champion Serena Williams in the final to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. She won her second Grand Slam title at the 2019 Australian Open.

KJ

October 12, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Judges Swear In New Citizens at Pro Ballparks

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With citizenship certificates in hand, new Americans wave flags in Oklahoma City.

Two of America's most memory-laden traditions, the welcoming of new citizens and baseball—have come together this year to create a sense of community and diversity at stadiums across the country. In a distinctive celebration of Constitution Day (September 17)  and Citizenship Day (September 17), federal judges are naturalizing hundreds of citizens at a dozen major and minor league ballparks. Read More

KJ

September 11, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Yasiel Puig Spends Final Day of Suspension Becoming U.S. Citizen

 

Jenna West for Sports Illustrated reports that Cleveland Indians outfielder Yasiel Puig during a three-game suspension from Major League Baseball to become a U.S. citizen. Puig made the announcement on Instagram today posting the picture of him above. "Thank you God for this great opportunity to be an American citizen," he wrote.

Today is the final day of Puig's suspension for his role in the brawl between the Piitsburg Pirates and Cincinnati Reds on July 30. He was one of eight individuals suspended, which occurred shortly after Cincinnati traded him mid-game in a three-team deal that sent Indians starter Trevor Bauer to the Reds in exchange for Puig.

KJ

 

 

August 14, 2019 in Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Cuban Socccer Player "Defects" to US

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Cuba’s Yasmani Lopez, center, wearing number 19, during a 2015 Gold Cup game.

ESPN and Quartz report that the captain of Cuba’s national soccer team “defected” to the United States this week while in Los Angeles for an international soccer tournament.

After the team’s first match in the Concacaf Gold Cup, Yasmani Lopez left the team in order to remain in the US, according to his coach. Skilled Cubans, from doctors to athletes, regularly seek asylum in foreign countries.

It is unlikely that Lopez, like many Central American asylum seekers, will be returned to Cuba. The Cuban Adjustment Act allows any Cuban who has arrived in the United States legally to apply for permanent residency after a year.

KJ

June 23, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

For Toronto immigrants, Raptors’ rise to NBA Finals is personal

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Its NBA Finals time and the upstart Toronto Raptors have the Golden State Warriors on the ropes, leading the best of seven series by 2-1 margin.

This Christian Science Monitor story looks at the finals from a unique perspective:  "Everyone loves an underdog story. But for the heavily immigrant and minority fanbase in Toronto, the Raptors’ rise to the NBA Finals carries an added layer of sweet victory." (bold added).

Stay tuned as the finals continue.

KJ

June 6, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 24, 2019

Detroit Tigers Pitcher Matthew Boyd Takes on Mission to End Sex Slavery in Uganda

 

It is baseball season and here is a good baseball story.  Yesterday, we heard about Clayton Kershaw's efforts to challenge human trafficking in the Dominican Republic.  Alaa Abdeldaiem in Sports Illustrated reports on Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd is on a mission to end sex slavery. Boyd has "essentially adopted" 36 girls in Uganda in an attempt to protect them from the sex slave industry. He and his wife, Ashley, provide the girls with food, clothing and rent for their homes. The Boyds have created their own nonprofit, Kingdom Home, and are raising money to buy land to expand in Uganda. The couple hopes to build four new homes on that land over the next three years to protect more girls from sex slavery.

KJ

May 24, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Clayton Kershaw's mission to help victims of human trafficking in the Dominican Republic

 

Los Angeles Dodgers ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, visited the Dominican Republic during the MLB offseason to help fight the battle against human trafficking.

Mike Stocker for ESPN wrote about the Kershaws' visit.  When Kershaw and Ellen learned of the rampant child trafficking in the Dominican Republic, they looked for ways to help.  The Kershaws  traveled to Santo Domingo to meet with officials from the International Justice Mission (IJM), a faith-based organization that fights slavery and sex trafficking, particularly child exploitation. The group had an audience with Dominican Republic president Danilo Medina, visited the city's red-light district with investigators and spent an afternoon playing baseball with survivors of sex trafficking.

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KJ

May 23, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Immigrant of the Day (Reprise)

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Giannis Antetokounmpo, photo by Keith Allison

We featured NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) as our "immigrant of the day" once before -- back in February. Today, he gets a reprise, thanks to this fascinating article from the NYT: Giannis Antetokounmpo Is the Pride of a Greece That Shunned Him.

Antetokounmpo was born in Greece. But because his parents were immigrants from Nigeria, he wasn't granted Greek citizenship until he was eighteen and heading into the NBA.

The NYT article explores the chasm between Greece's current enthusiasm for Antetokounmpo, an unquestionable athletic standout, and the country's general distaste for African migrants (and their children). As one Greek-African told the paper: "the same person cheering Giannis could swear at me on the road."

-KitJ

May 5, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Nonimmigrant of the Day: Efe Obada, Defensive End for the Carolina Panthers

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Efe Obada, photo panthers.com

Efe Obada is a defensive end for the Carolina Panthers. Unlike most NFL recruits, Obada did not come from the ranks of U.S. college players. He came from that most football-loving of countries... England.

In a feature on the Panthers' website called In My Own Words, Obada explains that he was born in Nigeria and moved to the Netherlands at a young age. Then, at the age of 10, his mother arranged for Obada and his sister to be brought to the United Kingdom.

Obada writes: "a stranger that was supposed to look after me and my sister. They did not. They abandoned us in the streets of East London and left my sister and I to fend for ourselves."

Obada and his sister spent years in U.K. foster care. Writing about his life as he got older, Obada notes: "I couldn't further my education or gain employment because I was undocumented. I was stuck."

Somehow, Obada found football. The American kind. And after spending time with the London Warriors, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Atlanta Falcons, Obada has found a new home with the Carolina Panthers.

You can learn more about Obaba in this feature from the BBC.

-KitJ

April 6, 2019 in Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 25, 2019

The promise and peril of the Dominican baseball pipeline

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It is almost time for the opening of the Major League Baseball season.   As has been noted, the MLB has become increasingly Latinx, in no small part due to the pipeline of players from the Dominican Republic.

Rob Ruck on The Conversation looks at the pipeline of baseball players from the Dominican Republic. He notes that "Latinos will comprise about 30 percent of Major League Baseball rosters on Opening Day, in large part because MLB has systematized its recruiting and developmental programs in the Caribbean over the last 25 years." In his book Raceball, Ruck analyzed how this system operates: 

"[P]rospectors scour the Dominican Republic for the next nuggets of talent, the way players are selected and groomed at a young age, and the way a signing bonus in the thousands of dollars can transform an impoverished family’s life. Few Dominican ballplayers, however, actually make it to the big leagues. Enmeshed in a system that encourages them to specialize in baseball at an early age, they’re left with little to fall back on when baseball doesn’t pan out."

 The first generations of Dominican major league stars were players like Felipe Alou, Juan Marichal, and Manny Mota.  And, as they say, the rest is history.

KJ

March 25, 2019 in Books, Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Tacko Fall (Senegal), college student and basketball player

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Basketball is now an international game.  And the NCAA tournament has featured some excellent players from all over the world.  One of them played in the epic game between Duke, the number one seed in the entire tournament, and the University of Central Florida.  After an amazing last five minutes of play, Duke won the game by the thinnest of margins, 77-76.

Born in Senegal,  Tacko Fall (and here) plays college basketball for the UCF. At 7 ft 6 inches, he is one of the tallest living people in the world.  In the game against Duke, Fall had a huge impact and helped UCF almost pull off what would have been a huge upset.

KJ

March 25, 2019 in Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Super Sunday: DHS Fights Super Scammers

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It is Super Bowl Sunday and many Americans will be watching the New England Patriots play the Los Angeles Rams.  The ramp up to Super Sunday is a busy time for enforcement officers with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security?    Earlier this week, 
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced . . .  that collaborative enforcement efforts led by its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) component and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) resulted in the seizure of nearly 285,000 counterfeit sports-related items worth an estimated $24.2 million, and related investigations led to 28 arrests with 21 convictions.

The latest intellectual property enforcement statistics were part of Operation Team Player, an ongoing effort developed by the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) to target the illegal importation and distribution of counterfeit sports merchandise, were revealed in Atlanta, Georgia, at a joint press conference with the NFL, CBP, Atlanta Police Department (APD) and Department of Justice (DOJ). . . . 

“The Super Bowl is game on for criminals trying to scam unsuspecting fans,” said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Innovation Policy Center. “From counterfeit tickets to fake, substandard jerseys and sports gear, fans could be cheated out of their money and have their private information stolen. These counterfeits also cause long-ranging harm to the American economy, jobs, and businesses. The only way to be certain that you get what you paid for is to shop from authentic retailers and vendors.”

KJ

February 3, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Turkish Government Seeks to Extradite NBA Player

 

Many people hope to separate sports from politics but that is not always possible.  Euronews reports on international intrigue affecting the National Basketball Association (NBA).  

NBA basketball player, Enes Kanter, a Turkish citizen whose passport was cancelled by the Turkish government, decided to skip a game in London earlier this week because concerns for his safety. The New York Knicks player is a critic of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his human rights record.   Istanbul's state prosecutor has sought an Interpol "red notice" to detain the basketball player and requested his extradition.

Asked by Euronews how he felt about the arrest warrant, Kanter said it was "very sad" because it stopped him from playing basketball. "I want to play basketball and I want to be known as a basketball player. Last year, he was indicted by a Turkish court of belonging to an armed terrorist group — charges which he denies.

KJ

January 19, 2019 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Human Trafficking Survivor Making it in NFL

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It is hitting playoff time in the NFL season and here is an upbeat story.

Jonathan Jones for Sports Illustrated reports that, in his first-ever NFL regular-season game, Carolina Panthers defensive end Efe Obada had an interception, a sack, and had a sack-fumble overturned on review.

"Born in Nigeria, Obada was trafficked with his sister from the Netherlands (where he was living at the time) to London when he was 10 years old. We don’t know much else about his story—Obada has never fully shared it—except that at 22 he discovered American football and played in five games for the London Warriors of the BAFA National League. The Cowboys found him on an international scouting trip in 2015, and since then he bounced around four different NFL teams before finally getting a game jersey . . . with the Panthers."

Obada was "discovered" while playing American football for the London Warriors.  The team’s defensive coordinator had been a coaching intern with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014.  Obada participated in an unofficial workout for "America’s team" that year and the Cowboys signed him to their 90-man roster.  Obada later was waived and unsuccessfully tried to catch on with the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.

Obada ended up in Carolina. The NFL introduced its International Pathway Program for foreign players in 2017, and four players with potential were chosen to join a team’s practice squad and be given an exemption as the 11th player. The NFC South was drawn at random, and the Panthers got Obada.

KJ

December 10, 2018 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 5, 2018

NBC Airs Immigration Trump Ad Deemed Racist by CNN

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Daniel Victor for the New York Times reports that, in the middle of “Sunday Night Football” broadcast, NBC aired an immigration-themed advertisement, approved by President Trump (see here), that CNN publicly declared to be racist and refused to air. The 30-second ad stirred fear of a migrant "caravan" of Central Americans that is in Mexico and still hundreds of miles from the United States border. It tied Luis Bracamontes, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who was convicted of murdering two Sacramento sheriff’s deputies in 2014, to the migrants fleeing violence in Central America, even though Bracamontes has nothing to do with the caravan.

As Dean Obeidallah put it on CNN.com, "Trump is trying to whip up fear about the browning of America."

KJ

November 5, 2018 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Immigrant of the Day, Vladimir Guerrero, Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

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Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

It is the weekend for inductions into Major League Baseball's coveted Hall of Fame.  The ceremony at Cooperstown is later this morning.  This year's inductees are Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Jack Morris, Jim Thome, and Alan Trammell.

A two time Immigrant of the DayVladimir Alvino Guerrero was born in the Dominican Republic.  Guerrero, who has been called "one of the most electrifying and unconventional hitters of his generation," hails from the Dominican Republic. Despite the prevalence of MLB players from the DR, Guerrero is just the third Dominican to enter the Hall of Fame. Prior inductees include Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez.

Guerrero spent 16 seasons in Major League Baseball as a right fielder and designated hitter. He played for the Montreal Expos (1996–2003), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2004–09), Texas Rangers (2010), and Baltimore Orioles (2011). A nine-time All-Star, Guerrero was widely recognized for his impressive offensive production—regularly hitting for power and average—as well as his defensive range and strong throwing arm. In 2004, Guerrero was voted the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP). He helped lead the Angels to five AL West championships between 2004 and 2009 and was voted one of the most feared hitters in baseball in a 2008 poll of all 30 major league managers. Regarded as the game's premier "bad-ball hitter," Guerrero consistently hit balls thrown well outside the strike zone, a skill evident on August 14, 2009, when he hit a pitch after it bounced in front of home plate. With his aggressive batting style, he hit more than 30 home runs in each of 8 seasons and surpassed 100 RBI 10 times, though he had just 2 seasons with at least 65 walks. In the first pitch of the at-bat, Guerrero hit 126 home runs, believed to be the most ever, and put 1,780 balls in play.

On September 26, 2011, Guerrero surpassed Julio Franco as the all-time MLB leader for hits by a Dominican player. (Adrián Beltré claimed the record from Guerrero in 2014.)

Guerrero was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on January 24, 2018, in his second year of eligibility.

 

KJ

July 29, 2018 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)