In the United States, children of undocumented immigrants become citizens by birth. Nora Sandigo fights on behalf of thousands of these children, so that families do not get separated if the parents face deportation. She carefully crafts her public image, puts trust in her friends in the Republican Party and turns all our expectations of a social justice hero upside down.
79 / 52 minutes
2K digital, 5.1
When I got to know Nora Sandigo in 2014, she had already been socially and politically active for the immigrant community for many years. I was immediately fascinated by her commitment and surprised that she didn’t fit into my idea of a “typical social volunteer”. Instead she operates in a self-contained, functioning microcosm that is constantly being threatened by political decisions. Can atypical heroines change the world in a positive way? NORA’S ARK enables a critical discourse about migration and civil courage and invites its viewers to an emotional journey. The film provides a new perspective on the lives of undocumented immigrants in the US - through a woman who stages herself as a heroine in order to create change.
Immigration to the US
In absolute numbers the United States of America have a larger immigrant population than any other country with 47,7 million immigrants as of 2018. That is 13,7% of the US-American population. In 2018, immigrant-led households paid 458,6 billion Dollars in income taxes. About 77% of all immigrants are living in the US with some form of residence permit or citizenship. Mexico is the top origin country of the U.S. immigrant population, followed by India and China. Six out of ten US-Americans have positive views about immigrants and say that immigrants strengthen the country.
Living undocumented in the US
There are currently between 10,5 and 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the US. The majority have overstayed their visa. Only 38% came to the US without papers. About two thirds of undocumented immigrants have lived in the country for over ten years and have built themselves a new life, often including their own house, bank account, business and taxpayer identification number. Children of undocumented immigrants become US-citizens by their birth on US-american soil. Their undocumented parents still have to face the fear of deportation.
What is DACA and who are the “Dreamers”?
DACA stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” and is an executive order by President Obama that protects children and young adults who have been minors at the time of arrival to the US and are not in the possession of a visa or residency permit. It prevents them from getting deported for the duration of two years at a time. These children and young adults are also called the “Dreamers”. This program allows the Dreamers access to education, the possibility to get a driver’s license as well as a work permit. On September fifth, 2017 Donald J. Trump announced the end of the program. The Supreme Court ruled on June 18th, 2020 that ending the DACA program was unlawful.
What is DAPA?
DAPA stands for “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents”. This executive order by President Obama was supposed to protect the parents of Dreamers as well as US-citizen children from deportation. This executive order was prevented from going into effect because several states filed lawsuits against the federal government.
- Living “Illegal”. The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration: https://thenewpress.com/books/living-illegal
- DACA/Dreamers: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/18/daca-dreamers-us-immigration-explainer
- Statistics, Fact Sheets: https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/
- Undocumented Immigrants & Covid-19: https://time.com/5823491/undocumented-immigrants-essential-coronavirus/
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