PRI’s ‘The World’ covers controversial court ruling in the Dominican Republic

Image via Amy Bracken/
Image via Amy Bracken/

You may be familiar with a controversial court ruling in the Dominican Republic that retroactively stripped citizenship from anyone born in the country to undocumented parents dating back to 1929. Not surprisingly, it mostly affects Dominicans of Haitian descent.

Public Radio International‘s “The World sent reporter Amy Bracken to the Dominican Republic to interview folks on the island, and much like the immigration debate here in the United States, opinions were mixed.

Take Mario Matos Cuevos, for instance. An 81-year-old retired soldier, he told The World “the Dominican president has made it clear that ‘everyone must get their papers in order,’ just like anywhere else in the world.”

When Bracken asked Cuevos if he thinks it’s unfair to make people who have lived in this country for generations go back and apply for papers all over again, he said “no,” since most of those affected have ties to Haiti.

“According to the Haitian Constitution, anyone of Haitian descent, whether legal or illegal, living in any country, is Haitian. That’s what their Constitution says,” Cuevos said.

On the other hand, high school student Yahisse Cuevas saw things a different way.

“Dominicans are very racist,” she told Bracken, “the way we abuse Haitians, always asking for their papers and mistreating them.”

It is no secret that many Latin American countries have attitudes against those with darker skin. One has to wonder how much that plays a factor in this debate.

Listen to the interesting audio here. And catch their other segments via their archives. The World is a great show to keep more in-depth tabs on news from around the world.


Making Movies’ ‘Tormenta’ one of KCUR’s “Best Songs” of 2013

Downloads of this album benefits three Kansas City-area charities.
Downloads of this album benefits three Kansas City-area charities.

A special version of “Tormenta,” by Making Movies, (available on a ’12 Days of Christmas’ album benefiting three Kansas City-area charities via the Midwest Music Foundation & Boulevard Brewing Company is one of KCUR 89.3 FM‘s ‘Best Songs from Kansas City-area Bands in 2013.’ The song is about missing home at the holidays and was written specifically for the immigration cause.

Hear KCUR‘s other picks here –> (Scroll to 38:25 to hear the special version of “Tormenta.” It is very folkloric version.)

Hear the original version of “Tormenta” here via MTV

A still from the music video for "Tormenta." Watch here:
A still from the music video for “Tormenta.” Watch here:

The band is now bound for Texas. Follow the rest of their tour here, and check out this video from the last time they played the Lone Star state. (Video by the Houston-based Sinister Kid Studios.)

Alternate version of ‘Wake Me Up’ perfect for the DREAMer cause

Screen shot 2013-11-03 at 12.44.44 PMSometimes a hit dance song can become an ally for a cause.

Wake Me Up” is a song that all of my indoor cycling class instructors at the gym can’t get enough of. Eventually, the song became an earworm and I had to look it up on YouTube. Not surprisingly, it’s a monster club hit by the Swedish electronic dance music giant, Avicii.

The video for it follows a model-like girl who seems to live a not-so-easy life somewhere in rural America, but ends up happy because she rides a horse to an Avicii concert. (It’s as pretty as a fashion magazine spread.)

But the lyrics are deeper than that. And though Avicii made the song a global hit with his EDM production skills, I had to know about the man behind the voice. That’s where the story gets more interesting, as far as I’m concerned.

The vocalist (who is listed as a co-writer the Avicii track) is Aloe Blacc, a singer, songwriter, rapper, and musician from Southern California best known for his single, “I Need A Dollar,” from the short-lived HBO comedy-drama series, “How to Make it in America.”

Turns out Blacc, real name Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, was born to Panamanian parents and that may explain why he recorded a video for the alternate version (acoustic country and folk) of “Wake Me Up.”

Screen shot 2013-11-03 at 12.44.56 PM

Directed by Alex Rivera from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), an advocacy organization that advocates for day laborers and is staunchly against President Obama’s deportation policies, the video features undocumented immigrants, including DREAMer Hareth Andrade-Ayala, who arrived in America when her father Mario came to the United States in 2004 seeking a brighter future for his family. Mario is now facing deportation.

The song’s poignant lyrics are perfect for what Adrade-Ayala, and millions of other youth affected by the threat of deportation, must be feeling.

They tell me I’m too young to understand
They say I’m caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes
Well that’s fine by me

So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost

Watch the video below and read more about the director’s thought process behind the video via Buzzfeed.

Citizenship, Immigration and National Security After 9/11

Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 5.05.50 PMFordham University’s Center on National Security will host a a symposium on the complex and shifting nature of citizenship rights in a post 9/11 world on Friday, Sept. 20. The event is free. Register here. Among topics for discussion:
How have the post 9/11 legal and policy battles affected the legal rights of citizens and non-citizens? How can we best understand the tensions between the state’s duty to protect its citizens and the desire to protect individual rights and liberties?
Agenda and speakers:

9:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. – Panel 1: Enemy Citizens: Rethinking Rights in Times of War
Baher Azmy, 
Center for Constitutional Rights
David Cole, Georgetown University Law Center
Thomas Lee, Fordham Law School
Peter Margulies, Roger Williams University School of Law
Michael Paulsen, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Moderator: Karen Greenberg, Center on National Security atFordham Law School

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Panel 2: US Citizenship and the Right to Have Rights
Linda Bosniak, 
Rutgers-Camden School of Law
Jennifer Elsea, Congressional Research Service
Andrew Kent, Fordham Law School
Neomi Rao, George Mason University School of Law
Moderator: Martin Flaherty, Fordham Law School

1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. – Lunch

Speaker: Benjamin Wittes, Brookings Institution2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. – Panel 3: Gaining and Losing Citizenship in the National Security Context
Muneer Ahmad, Yale Law School
Ramzi Kassem, City University of New York Law School
Peter SpiroBeasley School of Law, Temple University
Stephen VladeckWashington College of Law, American University
Leti VolppUC Berkeley Law School
Moderator: Joseph Landau, Fordham Law School

#Immigration rally in D.C. today

In honor of the tens of thousands of people who continue to arrive in the nation’s capital for a rally on immigrant rights today, watch the video for “Tormenta,” a song dedicated to immigrant families by Kansas City bilingual rockers, Making Movies.

The song and music video, released in 2010, shows touching images of immigrant life in Kansas City, a metropolitan area whose immigrant population doubled in the 1990s and continues to grow.

The song’s lyrics display the struggle immigrants face as they migrate to the United States for better opportunity, yet the same time, long for loved ones at home (see lyrics below.)

Making Movies continues the “A La Deriva” tour this week with stops in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Dates here.


Tormenta by Making Movies

Yo quiero ver mi familia esta Navidad,
Y quiero hablar con mi abuelo, oír la verdad.
Porque el frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta.

Yo quiero ver mi país esta Navidad,
Y quiero bailar en mi pueblo otra vez más,
Porque el frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta.

¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!

Yo quiero comer de tu boca la mera verdad.
Porque el frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta.

¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!

Yo quiero saber que va pasar contigo,
¡Déjame saber si voy a estar perdido!
¡Yo quiero crecer, cambiar este sonido!
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta.

Asians have surpassed Hispanics as the largest wave of new immigrants to the United States …

Well, we may be a large (majority) minority group, but Hispanics are no longer the bees knees when it comes to migrant groups to the U.S.

The population of Asian descent has swelled to a record 18.2 million, which makes Asians the fastest-growing racial group in the country, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

Read more in the New York Times story.