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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Protest songs of Brian Bates

NO SATISFACTION
MR. CONGRESSMAN
TO BE "FRANK"
REMOVAL BLUES
INSTANT REMOVAL
THE APPLICATION THAT NEVER ENDS
NOBODY TOLD ME . . .
THE BALLAD OF LAMAR SMITH
LEGISLATIVE LAMENT

NO SATISFACTION

To the Tune of "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones

I can't get no lib-er-a-tion
I can't get no lib-er-a-tion
‘Cause I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried
I can't get no -- I can't get no --

When I'm sittin' in this jail
And a man comes in and tells me,
How I don't qualify for bail,
But if I sign his form on the dotted line
He'll get me out on the bus in record time!
I can't get no -- No no no!
Hey hey hey! That's what he say!

I can't get no can-cel-la-tion
I can't get no can-cel-la-tion
'Though I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried
I can't get no -- I can't get no --

Well, I'm starring in this show
Where a judge sits there and tells me
My crime twelve years ago
Is now an aggravated felony,
Leaves him no choice but remove me!
I can't get no -- No no no!
Hey hey hey! That's what he say!

I can't get no leg-is-la-tion
I can't get no reme-di-a-tion
‘Cause I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried
I can't get no -- I can't get no --

Well, my hopes begin to fade
So my family calls our Congressman
And instead they get some Aide
Who tells ‘em, "Maybe maybe check back, maybe next year
‘Cause the prospects now don't look too clear!"
I can't get no -- No no no!
Hey hey hey! That's what they say!

I can't get no -- I can't get no -- I can't get no --
No lib-er-a-tion. No can-cel-la-tion. No leg-is-la-tion. No sat-is-fac-tion!


MR. CONGRESSMAN

To the tune of Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson"

And here’s to you, Mr. Congressman
Jesus knows the damage that you do -- Oo-oo-ooh
God help us please, Mr. Congressman,
And save us from your new “reforms,” we pray. Hey hey hey.

We’d like to introduce you to some people from our files
We’d like to help you see what you have done.
Look around you, all you see are shredded family ties.
Stroll around and see the kids and broken homes.

And here’s to you, Mr. Congressman
Jesus knows the damage that you do -- Oo-oo-ooh
God help us please, Mr. Congressman,
And save us from your new “reforms,” we pray. Hey hey hey.

Hidden in your heart is just a little bit of hate.
Keep it in the closet with your sex life!
It’s a little secret just your colleagues and you share.
Most of all it’s got to please your friends at FAIR!

Coo-coo-ka-choo Mr. Congressman
Jesus knows the damage that you do -- Oo-oo-ooh
God help us please, Mr. Congressman
And save us from your “reform” laws, we pray. Hey hey hey.

Sitting in a courtroom on a Monday afternoon.
Waiting for the Judge to start the tape.
Cry about it, shout about it -- sing it to the blues
Any way you plead this case, you lose.

Where have you gone, Lady Liberty?
The world once looked with envy upon you -- Oo-oo-ooh.
What’s that you say, Mr. Congressman?
The golden door’s been bolted shut to stay? Hey hey hey.
Hey hey hey.

(Unbelievably great guitar riffs fade and fade . . . .)


TO BE "FRANK"

To the tune of "For What It's Worth," By Buffalo Springfield

There’s somethin’ happenin’ here.
What’s goin’ on is all too clear.
There’s a man full of hate in the Chair,
Speaking lies and he just doesn’t care.
It’s time we Stop! People, look around! Everybody see what’s goin’ down!

Well, the Chairman has had his say.
A thousand people sent away.
Most for the smallest of crimes,
Leavin’ families and children to suffer behind.
We’d better Stop! People, look around! Everybody see what’s goin’ down!

Paranoia struck deep.
Into our laws it did creep.
Now hatred has carried the day.
Step out of line, men come and send you away!
Can’t we just Stop! People, look around! Everybody see what’s goin’ down!

Battle lines have been drawn.
Fight for the Right, ‘cause you know what’s wrong.
Our laws shouldn’t be poisoned with hate.
For God’s sake let’s change them, before it’s too late!
I say we Stop! People, look around! Everybody see what’s goin’ down!


REMOVAL BLUES

To the tune of John Lennon's "Imagine"

Imagine one proceeding
To get rid of everyone.
No more deportation!
Wouldn’t that be fun?

Imagine all proceedings
Balled up into One! (Yoo hoooo!)

Imagine no exclusion.
It isn’t hard to do.
No Fleuti or Entry doctrines
And no due process, too!

Imagine all the hearings
handled the same way! (Ah Hii!)

You may think you’re deported
But that’s not exactly true.
Instead what really happened
Is that the Service “removed” you.

Imagine hearings lasting
a minute or maybe two.
IJ’s with no discretion,
And with no court review!

Imagine all the hearings
Ending the same way!

You may call it a travesty
But it’s not the only one!
It’s the stupid things they dream up
When they get bored in Washington!


INSTANT REMOVAL

To the tune of John Lennon's "Instant Karma"

Instant Removal’s gonna get you.
Gonna explode right inside of your brain!
Think you’re coming in for a nice vacation,
And instead you’re back on the plane.

“What kind of fools do you take us for,
Telling us you just wanna visit?
Probably go out and buy a convenience store.
That’s not a bona fide tourist, now is it?”

Instant Removal’s gonna get you.
It’s more scary than your worst fears.
“Better withdraw your application
Or I’ll ban you for five long years!”

“You people think you can pull a fast one,
With all your papers and your neat little lies!
We know you’re all just gonna stay here.
Who the hell do you think you are? An LPR?”

Put ‘em all back on!
Refugees, H-1B’s and F-1's
Put ‘em all back on!
Back on the plane,
And home again!

Instant Removal’s gonna get you.
“You’ll be gone with a single word.
And don’t expect us to give you no hearing,
‘Cause I’m your judge and I’ve already heard!”

“It’s great having unbridled discretion!
No one to tell us how to decide.
If we decide that we ain’t gonna admit you,
Well, then you’d better be -- a refugee!”
Put ‘em all back on!
Refugees, H-1B’s and F-1's.
Put ‘em all back on!
Fly ‘em away
Back home to stay!
(Repeat chorus).


THE APPLICATION THAT NEVER ENDS

To the tune of "The Song that Never Ends"

This is a file they won’t close out.
It will go on and on, no doubt!
The Service took our filing fees so many years ago.
They lose the file, they need new prints again, so don’t you know. . .

(Repeat forever or until adjustment is granted, whichever comes first).


NOBODY TOLD ME . . .

To the tune of John Lennon's "Nobody Told Me"

A good man pleaded “nolo,” many years ago
Wasn’t really guilty, but he didn’t have much dough
And it wasn’t a conviction, the lawyers told him so

Now INS arrests him -- they throw his butt in jail
There’s no way to release him, all attempts must fail
Mandatory detention, can’t even post a bail

Nobody told him there’d be deals like these!
Nobody told him there’d be deals like these!
Nobody told him there’d be deals like these!
Strange deals indeed!
Bad deals indeed!

IJ says it’s a conviction, ‘cause that’s what he’s been told
No relief from removal, the tragedy unfolds
And no way he can go back and change a plea so old

For a ‘96 slogan, we chanted “Split the Bill!”
We chanted and shouted, and finally got our will
Our deal with the Devil, we’re livin’ with it still

Nobody told me there’d be deals like these!
Nobody told me there’d be deals like these!
Nobody told me there’d be deals like these!
Strange deals indeed!
Bad deals indeed!

Now everyone’s screamin’, cause H-1's hit the cap
Go cryin’ to Congress, and crawl up in their lap
The same ones who gave us -- all this other crap!

Nobody told me there’d be deals like these!
Nobody told me there’d be deals like these!
Nobody told me there’d be deals like these!
Strange deals indeed!
Bad deals indeed!


THE BALLAD OF LAMAR SMITH

To the tune of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love"

When the crime rate soars,
     and the drugs flow,
And you can’t get by no more
     with “Just Say No!”
Don’t you want somebody to blame?
Don’t you need somebody to blame?
Wouldn’t you love somebody to blame?
I better find somebody to blame.

There are foreigners
     coming all ‘round here!
And suddenly,
     it all becomes clear --
They could be somebody to blame!
Why should WE be the ones to blame?
There has to be somebody to blame!
I think I found somebody to blame!

Their skin, I say, their skin don’t look like mine,
And they broke the law anyway when they crossed the line --
They should be somebody to blame!
Don’t we need somebody to blame?
Shouldn’t they be somebody to blame?
I’m glad I found somebody to blame!


LEGISLATIVE LAMENT

To the tune of "White Rabbit," by the Jefferson Airplane

One bill never passes,
And one bill hits the Wall.
And the hope that they once gave us
Is now little hope at all.
Go ask Congress “Why the big stall?”

And as you go off doing battle
In courtrooms ‘cross this land,
Tell ‘em a slowly moving Congress
Has forced you to take this stand.
Go ask Congress why your client’s still banned.

When the Men in their blue suits
Come up and ask for campaign dough,
And they’ve just screwed another family,
Get in their face and tell them so!
Go tell Congress -- I think they’ll know!

When logic and compassion
Have both gone all for naught,
As they deport all of your clients,
Or hold them in jail to rot,
Remember -- justice can be bought!
Private Bills!
Private Bills!


Brian Bates, a member of the firm of Quan, Burdette & Perez in Houston, Texas, is a devoted courtroom champion of immigrants. His email address is bbates@quanlaw.com.