Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Foreign-born athletes now comprise a record proportion of professional athletes in America, according to the National Foundation for American Policy, making up 23% of the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball rosters. “The average NBA player’s salary increased from $246,000 in 1982-83, when there were few foreign-born players, to $7.7 million in 2019-20, when 23% of the players were foreign-born, an increase in the average player salary of 1,254% from 1983 to 2020 (adjusted for inflation),” the report finds.
Asks Stuart Anderson in Forbes: “If it’s reasonable for the New York Yankees or Milwaukee Bucks to employ a foreign-born individual they believe to be best suited for a job, why is it wrong if a technology company does the same?”
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Kervy Robles and Camilo Montoya-Galvez for CBS News report on a deportee who was forced to forgo a college soccer scholarship in the United States is making the most of playing soccer in El Salvador.
If the routine check-in with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2017 had gone as they had for nearly a decade, Lizandro would be playing college soccer on an athletic scholarship in North Carolina. Then President Trump took office. A Major League Soccer (MLS) prospect, Lizandro and his brother Diego were deported seven months after the inauguration of the new president.
Lizandro and Diego arrived in the U.S. in 2009 at the ages of 11 and 14 with visas that were not theirs. They came to reunite with their parents and two siblings, who had previously immigrated to the United States. In 2012, the brothers were ordered removed from the county, but were subsequently granted a temporary reprieve from deportation. When that protection expired, ICE didn't deport them, but instead required them to check-in periodically. The Trump administration changed course and ordered the removals of the brothers.
The brothers' expulsion from the U.S. forced them to rebuild their lives without their parents in a country they left as children. The story has a positive ending:
"a mixture of perseverance and good fortune has allowed the brothers to pursue their college degrees and childhood dreams of soccer stardom thousands of miles away from their family. Lizandro is now one of the most promising soccer talents in El Salvador and part of a young generation of players many expect will ultimately bolster the ranks of the national team."
Lizandro Claros Saravia, now 22, plays for C.D. FAS, the most successful club in Salvadoran history. His older brother, Diego, and seven other family members also are on the team.
Monday, March 30, 2020
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Despite qualifying for the Olympic trials, Argeo Cruz, an assistant cross country coach at Florida Gulf Coast University, won’t be eligible to compete for the United States in the summer Olympics because he is not a U.S. citizen, reports Greg Hardwig for the Naples News. A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, “Cruz, who has won eight Moe’s Firecracker 5Ks in Naples, achieved five ASUN honors while running for the [Florida Gulf Coast] Eagles in cross country. …‘I’m still going to do my best every day and try not to let the whole idea, of having an, I guess, unpredictable future try to distract me from trying to achieve my best every day,’ he said.”
Cruz cannot go back to Mexico and perhaps run in the Olympics as a Mexican citizen because he would have to give up his DACA status in the United States and the Trump administration attempted to rescind the policy and is not accepting new applicants. The attempted rescission is currently before the Supreme Court.
“The majority of my life I’ve been in the U.S.,” Cruz said. “I’d rather not take that route. Most of the people I know now are here.”
Monday, February 3, 2020
Here is the entire Shakira/J-Lo Superbowl Half Time Show:
Now, let's talk about it.
At my house, the number one question people had was: who is that rapper? It's J Balvin. He's a reggaeton heavyweight out of Colombia. (That's also where Shakira hails from.)
Next, you might have also asked yourself: did I just see kids in cages? Yes you did. Jump back to 11:40. That's when J-Lo's daughter Emme kicks things off, singing from her cage: "If you wanna live your life, live it all the way and don't you waste it." Once Emme exits the cage (and stands next to her mom who is bedecked in the most fantastic reversible boa jacket ever seen -- one side American flag, one side Puerto Rican flag -- Emme starts singing "Born in the USA."
A powerful performance by some pretty amazing Latinx entertainers.
Friday, January 10, 2020
Indian Immigrants Are Saving Canadian Hockey: How the Punjabi diaspora rescued Canada's national sport
"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.
Monday, December 23, 2019
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.”
Monday, December 16, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
4. Flores Settlement
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
Honorable Mention: Migrating 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.
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:
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.
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.
Friday, November 1, 2019
"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.
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
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 Classic. Osaka 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.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
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
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
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.
Sunday, June 23, 2019
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.
Thursday, June 6, 2019
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.
Friday, May 24, 2019
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.
Thursday, May 23, 2019
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.
Sunday, May 5, 2019
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."
Saturday, April 6, 2019
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.
Monday, March 25, 2019
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.
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.