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, December 16, 2022

Nigerian chess prodigy, 12, granted asylum in the United States


Here is a "feel good' story for the holiday season.  Sydney Page in the New York Times reports that

"Tanitoluwa `Tani' Adewumi rose to sudden stardom at age 8 for his striking chess skills: He beat 73 opponents and clinched the New York state chess championship for his division. At the time, in 2019, he was living with his family in a homeless shelter.

They had moved to New York from Nigeria in 2017, seeking religious asylum after the family, devoutly Christian, was threatened by the terrorist group Boko Haram and forced to flee their country.
Since Tani’s breakout state championship, his trophies have multiplied. At 10, he was named a National Master, and his current title is FIDE Master, a prestigious designation awarded by the international chess governing body. Along with his chess accolades, his life story became the subject of a book."
The asylum process for the chess prodigy and his family was not an east one.  Read the Times story for details.
Hat tip to Dan Kowalski for spreading the word about this amazing story.

December 16, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Who Represents the Country? A Short History of Foreign-Born Athletes in the World Cup


Photo of World Cup Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


World Cup mania is everywhere!  And there is an immigration angle.  Gijsbert Oonk for Migration Information Source reports that World Cup fans "may have noticed a sizable number of players born outside the country they represent on the field, especially for teams representing nations such as Morocco and Qatar. This is not unusual. Athletes born abroad have represented national teams in every World Cup since its inception in 1930, typically accounting for about one in ten players. At times, these players can raise complicated questions about national belonging, citizenship, and migration."


December 1, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 21, 2022

Migrants Hired to Work at the World Cup Opening Match Waited All Day Without Food and Water

Tariq Panja for the New York Times reports on some troubling news from the World Cup, which this year is hosted by Qatar, a nation with a human rights record that has been questioned.  "A group of more than 200 migrant laborers hired to work concession stalls at the Qatar World Cup’s opening game said they had been left without food, water and toilet facilities for seven hours while they waited for their assignments."  Most of the migrants reportedly are from India.
UPDATE (November 21, 3 p.m. PST):  For a book on migrant labor in Qatar, click here.  Hat tip to my colleague Afra Afsharipour.

November 21, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 29, 2022

NIL and International Student Athletes

On October 14, the Oklahoma Law Review hosted as symposium on Name, Image, and Likeness in College Athletics. I spoke, along with Professor Eric E. Johnson (yup, a relation) regarding the opportunities available for international student athletes to enter NIL deals.

You can see our (very brief) comments in the video below starting at 2:08:23 and ending at 2:18:48. Here's the short version:

Academics and attorneys have counseled that F-visa international student athletes are largely prohibited from benefiting from NIL income because of the visa's restrictions on employment. To the contrary, NIL income is not incompatible with F-visa status.

NIL is about the right of publicity and licensing. That is, if someone uses an athlete's name, image, or likeness without authorization, the athlete could sue for violation of their right of publicity. But if the entity that used the athlete's NIL had a license with the athlete, that license would serve as an affirmative defense to the right of publicity claim. In other words, payments made pursuant to an NIL license (if structured appropriately) are license income and not employment.

Those who have argued that F-visa international student athletes are prohibited from benefiting from NIL income because of the visa's restrictions on employment, often cite Wettasinghe v. INS 702 F.2d 641 (6th Cir. 1983). Yet that case rested on regulations--changed 11 days after the opinion--that prohibited F-visa students from working off campus "for an employer or independently." The "or independently" language is no longer in the regulations. The case also predates IRCA, which, in 1986, defined the term "employment" to specifically exclude independent contracting. Finally, the Wettasinghe case predates CCNV v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730 (1989), in which SCOTUS said that if "employment" is undefined in a statute, it means the common-law agency conception, not independent contractor labor.

There is vast gap between "employment" and "licensing income." The fact that people have been blanketly excluding international student athletes from NIL deals because of F-visa prohibitions on employment is unwarranted. That said, USCIS hasn't weighed in on this issue. And the downside of engaging in activity that the government might eventually hold to be incompatible with nature of the visa is deportation. So it's understandable why folks might be overly cautious in this space.

Our paper will be published by the OLR in 2023.


October 29, 2022 in Current Affairs, Law Review Articles & Essays, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Anti-Immigration Ad Runs During World Series


It is time for the World Series, the culmination of a wild and wooly baseball season.  The New York Post reports:

"A new political ad blasting President Biden over issues like illegal immigration and the state of the economy aired Friday during Game 1 of the World Series.

`How did we get here?' the ad begins, lamenting `low wages, high inflation, record crime' and `illegal immigration from places as far away as Pakistan.'

The ad, broadcast 11 days out from the midterm elections, was paid for by Citizens for Sanity and appeared to be targeting Latino voters — with the narrator speaking with a clear Hispanic accent. 

`Our cities are a mess. Public services are a nightmare. But instead of helping us, Joe Biden has sent $66 billion to Ukraine. Weapons worth billions more. And now, Joe Biden says his fight in Ukraine could lead to nuclear Armageddon. World War III.

`You know what I say? No mas,' the ad concludes." 

A group called Citizens for Sanity ran the ad. Politifact refers to "Citizens for Sanity [as] a conservative nonprofit whose leaders are associated with the America First Legal Foundation, which was founded by former Trump administration official Stephen Miller."  Th4e group ran similar ads during the Los Angeles Dodgers/San Diego Padres series.

The Philadelphia Phillies won the first game of the Series over the Houston Astros 6-5 in 10 innings.


October 29, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Fans outraged with MLB and FS1 for running “Citizens for Sanity” immigration political ad during LA Dodgers/San Diego Padres Playoff Series

It has been a tough few days for this Los Angeles Dodgers fan.  After having an amazing season with the best record in Major League Baseball, The Dodgers lost a series to the San Diego Padress in the Major League Baseball playoffs last weekend.  

There is an immigration angle to the Dodgers' demise.    According to Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times, the “Citizens for Sanity” commercial aired on FS1 during the mid-fourth inning break of the NLDS finale between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. The ad also aired during the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves series on FS1.


And that's why the Dodgers lost.  


October 18, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 30, 2022

Proud to be an American: Professional basketball star now U.S. citizen


Top scorer in the National Basketball Association and All-Star, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers was sworn in as a U.S. citizen two weeks ago, reports Dan Gelston of the Associated Press. "A native of Cameroon who also holds French citizenship, Embiid was sworn . . . in Philadelphia as an American citizen.""I’ve been here for a long time," said Embiid. "My son is American. I felt like, I’m living here and it’s a blessing to be an American. So I said, why not?" 


September 30, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 9, 2022

U.S. Open Immigrant Workers Say Their Wages Were Stolen

The glamor of the U.S. Open tennis tournamentt does not extend to the workers who keep it running, writes Amir Khafagy for Documented.

Over $4,500 is owed to workers, including 71-year-old Maria and her sister Luz, who prepared food for fans at the 2021 U.S. Open.

Both women spent over eight hours a day washing, peeling, and cutting fruits and vegetables. They were unpaid and abruptly laid off because the company said it had ‘over-hired.’

The U.S. Open’s subcontractor in this case, appears to have a long track record of wage theft. Read now on Documented


September 9, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 4, 2022

ESPN: Refugee to role model: Ramla Ali


Michael Rothstein for ESPN relays the story of Ramla Ali, a refugee from Somalia.

Ali, a professional boxer, not long ago walked through a refugee camp in Jordan "hearing stories of separation and pain, of hope and resilience with the belief that one day, a new life would come." Ali was there as an ambassador with UNICEF UK.  Ali wanted to become a voice for refugees by amplifying their stories.

Rothstein writes:

"There are many celebrities who work with UNICEF, but few like Ali. Like the children she met, Ali is a refugee. Throughout her entire life, her parents have dropped hints about the country she desperately wants to one day see but has not returned to since the family left for England when she was a toddler.

Ali's life is like a jigsaw puzzle put together. From boxing to modeling, writing a book and being a humanitarian and a champion for women in London through the nonprofit she started, she has pushed past the limits of what may have seemed possible. [A few weeks ago], when she and Crystal Garcia Nova become the first women to box professionally in Saudi Arabia on the card headlined by the Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua heavyweight title fight, Ali will once again exceed expectations. And everything Ali has done in her life traces back to the place she comes from, yet has no recollection of.

Somalia." (bold added).



September 4, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 25, 2022

Former Immigrant of the Day, David Ortiz (Dominican Republic), Inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame


A previous Immigrant of the Day and World Series MVPDavid "Big Papi" Ortiz is has been inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.  A fan favorite known for his play with the Boston Red Sox, Ortiz immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Also inducted into the Hall of Fame was Minnie Minoso, an immigrant from Cuba, who was the first Black Latino in Major League Baseball.


July 25, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

BBC: Mo Farah says he was illegally trafficked to the UK as a child


Zahid Mahmood for CNN reports that long distance running legend Mo Farah has told the BBC that he was trafficked into the United Kingdom as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant.  Check out the BBC story for details.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist was either eight or nine years old when he was flown to the UK by a woman he had never met previously.  He then was forced to "do housework and childcare."
A new documentary by the British broadcaster set to air this week tells the story of the man known as Mo Farah. In the documentary, Farah says that his birth name is Hussein Abdi Kahin and that he was born in Somaliland.  Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but is not recognized as a sovereign state.
"Despite what I said in the past, my parents never lived in the UK," Farah told the BBC.  He says that the family was "torn apart" after his father was killed in the civil war when he was four years old. 
"I was separated from my mother and I was brought into the UK illegally under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah," he said in.

July 12, 2022 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 18, 2022

World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Barred from Flight From UK to the United States


In boxing news from across the pond, undisputed world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury was refused entry to the United States tonight because of his former ties to Daniel Kinahan, who the United States has targeted as an organized crime leader.  Kinahan in recent years has played an important matchmaking role in professional boxing. 

It was widely reported that Fury was not allowed to board a flight from the United Kingdom to the United States by U.S. immigration officers and that more than 600 people with links to the Kinahan leader have been barred from entering the United States by U.S. authorities.

The denial of entry to the heavyweight champion of the world suggests that the U.S. government is willing to take a tough position on associates of Daniel Kinahan.


June 18, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, May 23, 2022

Immigrant of the Day: Albert Pujols (Reprise!)

Cxxnnxxr, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons>

Albert Pujols, the major league baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals, is no stranger to being immigrant of the day. Kevin highlighted him in 2007 when the Dominican-born player became a U.S. citizen, and again in 2017 when Pujols was on the verge of hitting his 600th home run (which he did and more).

Here's the thing about baseball. You've got hitters/fielders and you've got pitchers. They're different folks. Different skills. There's typically no crossover.

Pujols is, as you might guess, a hitter. He played first base for the cardinals for years. Then transitioned to becoming the team's designated hitter. That, for non-baseball folks, means he would step up and hit in lieu of the pitcher. Those 600+ home runs he's hit have many lauding him as a shoo-in for baseball's Hall of Fame once he retires.

Then came Sunday, May 15. The Cardinals were playing the Giants (S.F.). It was a blowout. In bottom of the eighth inning the Cards were ahead 15-2. The team's manager was looking around for someone to pitch the 9th so the team could avoid using a reliever. Pujols, 42, who had never before pitched, took the bait. He gave up 4 runs, but closed out the inning at 15-6.

After the game, Pujols told reporters it was: "A dream come true to say that I did it... It was fun. It wasn’t fun giving up two bombs. I think the fans had a good time. I’m sure the guys that took me deep did, too.”

You can watch his pitching here:


May 23, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Boxer's Father/Trainer Unable to Get Visa for a Major Fight in Australia


Earlier this year, Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic was unable to defend his 2021 title after the Australian government canceled his visa.  The nation has a long history of tough immigration enforcement.  For a look at Austrlian's contemporary immigration policies, click here.

Now the Australian government has failed to issue a visa in connection with a major sporting event.  WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney’s father/trainer Bill Haney has been denied entrance into Australia for him to work his son’s fight against the undefeated George Kambosos Jr. on June 5 in Melbourne. Bill says he has been denied entrance into Australia because of a 1992 drug conviction.  

As a result, Bill Haney will not be working Devin Haney’s corner for fight against Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs)

“I did some mistakes at 22, 23-years-old that Devin is now that hopefully, he’ll never have to make the mistakes,” said Bill Haney to Trill Boxing Talk. 



May 22, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Immigrant of the Day: Bismack Biyombo (Democractic Republic of the Congo)

Bismack Biyombo was born in Zaire, a country now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is an NBA player currently with the Phoenix Suns. He began his hoops career in Spain and previously played for the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets, Toronto Raptors, and Orlando Magic.

Biyombo has dedicated his entire season's salary -- all 1.3 million dollars -- to building a hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He hopes to honor the memory of his father, who passed away from Covid in 2021.


April 19, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Critiques of Chinese naturalized athletes and citizenship switching at Olympics

Chinese athletes have been in the headlines during the Winter Olympics being hosted in Beijing. A prior ImmigrationProf blog post highlighted Eileen Gu, a biracial Chinese American skiier who renounced her US citizen to compete for China, winning gold. She has been greeted with enthusiasm in both the US and China. The mirror image of Gu has been presented in the experience of Zhu Yi, a California-born figure skater who competed for China, but fell in competition and did not medal. 

China has actively recruited athletes of Chinese descent to compete for China in sports where they have historically struggled. It has raised questions and sometimes ignited fierce debates on social media. The reception has been worsened by "a lack of official explanations of how the naturalized athletes fit within the Chinese legal system or the future of its national team. China does not recognize dual citizenship, and conservatives strongly oppose any relaxation of the country’s strict immigration laws", says a Washington Post columnist. The article quotes a Beijing sports commentator, Sean Wang, saying:

“Naturalized athletes are a shortcut — a contingency plan — for the host country to catch up and improve performance in a particular field.” 

Naturalization is common across competitive sports in many countries, and Americans have competed for the countries of their parents in prior instances. However, the practice is relatively new in China, according to historian Susan Brownell (her prior writing on "citizenship switching" among athletes in Olympics here).


February 13, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Refugee Olympic Team at 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing?



The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing started this weekend.  I have been unsuccessfully scouring the internet looking for some mention of the International Olympic Committee Refugee Team, composed of refugees from around the world.  At last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, a global audience was inspired by the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.  The team represented the 84 million forcibly displaced people worldwide.

The Refugee Team made its debut at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Ten athletes qualified for the 2016 Olympics. 29 refugee athletes participated in the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

There has been commentary about the tension between the IOC fielding a refugee team and holding the Olympics in China, with its human rights record.  But where is the Refugee Team at the Winter Olympics?


February 6, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 23, 2022

"I feel Chinese in China and American in America": Elieen Gu, Olympic Skier

Eileen Gu, a dual Chinese and US citizen, will compete in the Olympics in freestyle skiing Team China. She made the decision a few years ago, explaining on Instagram that it was a chance to “inspire millions of young people where my mom was born” and “promote the sport I love.” At the time, she also told Inkstone that she hoped that her skiing would “unite two nations, both of which are my home.”

Gu, now 18, speaks fluent English and Mandarin. Her mother, Yan Gu, is a native of Beijing and was keen to imprint Chinese culture and values on her daughter after migrating from China to the U.S. Despite being born and raised in San Francisco, Gu has a claim to Chinese citizenship through her mother.

A more comprehensive profile of Gu as an athlete can be found on Redbull, her sponsor for the Olympics and the host for Everyday Eileen.  Her key events are Halfpipe, Slopestyle and Big Air. In January 2021, Gu became the first Chinese athlete to win X Games gold, and the first woman to win three X Games medals as a rookie. After her debut at X Games 2021, Gu went on to earn Slopestyle gold, Halfpipe gold and Big Air bronze at the Aspen 2021 World Championships.

Eileen Gu


January 23, 2022 in Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 14, 2022

Visa revoked again, Djokovic faces deportation

Breaking news from down under.  The Associated Press reports that tennis star Novak Djokovic's immigration saga continues.  He now

" faces deportation again after the Australian government revoked his visa for a second time, the latest twist in the ongoing saga over whether the No. 1-ranked tennis player will be allowed to compete in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated for COVID-19.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said . . .  he used his ministerial discretion to cancel [Djokovic's] visa on public interest grounds — just three days before play begins at the Australian Open, where Djokovic has won a record nine of his 20 Grand Slam titles."

The case is not over and Djokovic is expected to appeal the visa revocation.


January 14, 2022 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)