Highlights of our recent film series and a conversation with participating filmmakers.
Tag: Valeria Fernandez
Join us at The New School on April 21 – 23 for a film series exploring immigrant experiences in film.
Reporters Pilar Marrero and Valeria Fernandez are on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. They’ve been talking to voters about the economy and immigration.
Fi2W’s Valeria Fernandez and filmmaker Dan De Vivo are completing work on “Two Americans,” a film that focuses on Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and a nine year old girl whose immigrant parents were arrested by his deputies.
This week the public radio program Making Contact features a story by Feet in Two Worlds reporter Valeria Fernández about the impact of an immigration raid on a family in Phoenix, Arizona. Valeria wrote the following reporter’s notebook about her experiences covering this story. You can listen to the story pressing “play” below or to find a station near you that carries the program click here.[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/radioproject/MakingCon_091021_Ax.mp3]
PHOENIX, Arizona — When I arrived at Katherine Figueroa’s house, it had only been two days since her parents –both undocumented immigrants– were arrested during a raid by Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies at the Phoenix car wash where they both worked.
Kathy is an outspoken 9-year-old who makes friends easily. She welcomes people with her easy smile, even those she has just met. She was born in the U.S. and like many children of undocumented parents she has lived in constant fear that her parents could be deported.
I knew this wasn’t going to be an ordinary story. It was going to be one I would follow for months, and very closely every week.
It’s the story behind news reports that people in the Phoenix area have grown accustomed to: another sweep, another immigration raid in Maricopa County. It is about what happens to communities and families impacted by a crackdown that has made Arizona ground zero in a divisive national debate over immigration.
PHOENIX, Arizona — A month ago, Patricia Presa learned that she has uterine cancer. She’s decided to go back to her native Mexico to seek treatment there, because she is an undocumented immigrant and can’t afford to pay for health care in the U.S.
“Unfortunately, I need the treatment but I don’t have the money to pay for the expenses. Whether it is the medicine or the doctor’s appointments, each costs me $110,” said Presa, who’s 33. She doesn’t know if the care she’ll receive in Mexico will be better than what’s available in Arizona, but she hopes she can apply for a form of public insurance the country offers to residents known as Seguro Popular. She is married to a U.S. citizen, but because she came across the border illegally she is ineligible to adjust her immigration status or receive health care benefits in the U.S.
Listen to Presa (in Spanish):
The decision by Presa and other unauthorized migrants to return to their home country for medical treatment is further evidence of the link between two hotly contested issues facing Congress and the Obama administration — health care reform and immigration. The ability of undocumented immigrants to access health care services under President Obama’s reform package has stirred controversy and criticism from both ends of the political spectrum. But for the most part, the undocumented themselves have not had a voice in the debate
PHOENIX, Arizona — A proposed agreement, scheduled to be voted on today by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, may offer a glimpse of the federal government’s plans to modify a widely criticized program that authorizes local police to enforce U.S. immigration laws.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has the largest force in the nation authorized under the 287(g) program. Under the existing agreement sheriff’s deputies were able to question people about their immigration status during traffic stops and other types of police investigations. The new contract limits deputies under the command of Sheriff Joe Arpaio to identify undocumented immigrants only within the county jails.
Recently, the Southwest Border Taskforce, an advisory group set up by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, recommended that the 287(g) program be scaled back, limiting its use to identifying undocumented migrants in jails.
In July, Napolitano announced a review of all 287(g) agreements across the nation. The new contracts would focus on the apprehension of immigrants with a criminal record, she said.
The Department of Homeland Security gave all 66 participating agencies a 90-day-period to review the new contracts and sign them. But DHS hasn’t confirmed whether it will continue working with Arpaio in any fashion.
“We’re still in the signing window process,” said Vincent Picard a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “No final decisions have been made.”
DHS has until October 14th –the end of the 90 day review period- to decide whether Arpaio will retain any immigration powers at all. But that hasn’t stopped the sheriff or his critics from renewing their war of words over the treatment of undocumented immigrants.
“They just don’t want this sheriff to investigate and arrest illegal aliens,” said Arpaio during a press conference yesterday. (more…)
Phoenix-based FI2W reporter Valeria Fernández produced a radio piece for NPR’s Latino USA on immigrants who work in the dairy industry and the farmers who hire them.
By Valeria Fernández, FI2W contributor
For almost two years now, one of my sources here in Arizona had insisted that I do a story about immigrants working in dairies. I finally started to work on this one about five months ago, before I even knew which direction it was going to take, or even that it was going to become a radio piece. I needed to become familiar with the universe of dairies at a time when Arizona was facing an intense crackdown on illegal immigration.
There was naturally going to be fear and resistance on the part of immigrant workers. For about two years now, the state has had a law in place that sanctions companies who knowingly hire undocumented labor.
The law has been used mostly to conduct work-site raids in businesses, resulting in the arrest of a couple of hundred workers. The number is not large, but the chilling effect on local immigrant communities is much bigger.
In a couple of ways, this was unexplored territory for me. I was as nervous as the subjects of the story. Not only was I going to leave the comfort of print, but also, I was going to do it in English, my second language. I feared leaving my small notepad and using a microphone instead. Often times I would just tuck it away, and listen to people to help them relax.
There have been stories about workers in agriculture, but I wanted to do a story about what life was like in the dairies. I had all sorts of preconceptions.
This diary was written by the 12-year-old daughter of a Mexican immigrant dairy worker. Her name has been changed to protect her identity. Click here to go to the main story to read more about her family and to listen to a radio piece about immigrants and dairy farmers by FI2W‘s Valeria Fernández for NPR’s Latino USA.
Well, my name is Laura. I was born in Arizona and lived here for about a year or so when I moved to the dairy. So I’ve been living here for most of my life.
I live here with my mom, and dad, my two brothers and my little sister. It can be fun and boring living in a dairy.
For the first part, I don’t like living here ’cause the smell!! Yes, there’s times when it smells really awful. And times you can really smell nothing.
Also most the time there’s nothing to do! Well, like, there’s not much trailers here, only like 5! Also there’s not much kids my age around here.
Then sometimes I am really bored and can’t just walk to a friend’s house or something: it’s too far! So I might feel left out most of the time.
Now, the thing I do kinda like is that you can take a walk and see the cows; now I think that’s pretty fun to walk around. Also there’s a lot of open space here! In most houses there’s not a lot of space.
So here you can have a party and barbecue. Okay, so that’s partly most of my life. I’m mostly used to it, so I don’t mind much.
I hope my dad doesn’t lose his job and (we) live here for a couple more years or so. And I hope for those people that don’t want Mexicans here to think it over, ’cause Mexicans have done a big difference to this country to make it a better place.