Poets and Dreamers
A dreamer's journey back to the homeland she never knew...
It wasn't until Maribel Serrano was about to graduate high school that she learned the truth about her immigration status...
Through the film, Mi Vida Daca, we follow Maribel Serrano, who in 2012 benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the act enacted by president Barack Obama that allowed her to get a work permit and exception from deportation.
"I noticed my classmates, during senior year in high school, congratulating each other on their first jobs and obtaining their first driver's licenses. I told my father that I wanted to start working and take my driver's test for my license."
Instead of driving her to the DMV, her father arranged for a family friend to take her to downtown LA. No one spoke on the car ride there, nor did anyone say anything to her when they made it to their destination: a photography studio. That's when Serrano knew something was wrong. "I felt an awful feeling in my stomach and felt nauseated, like I wanted to escape," she said.
The family friend had taken Serrano to get headshots, which would be used to make false documents that included a resident alien card and work permit. Serrano wouldn't find this out until later in life after speaking to other Dreamers whose parents had done the same for them.
While her family never brought up the mysterious trip to downtown LA (or admitted to her what it was really for), Serrano still remembers the experience vividly, calling it the "moment that broke my reality."
The experience, which Serrano described as "humiliating," motivated her to get involved in immigration activism.
While Serrano is now eligible for a driver's license, work permit, and social security number thanks to DACA, she hopes that no other immigrant child will have to go to the same lengths she had to go through in order to work in the US. She is currently producing a documentary about her experience as a DACA recipient called My DACA Life (Mi Vida DACA), hoping it will spark a conversation about immigration and DACA.
Now, after 25 years, she was allowed to visit Mexico. She visited the town of her birth in hopes of finding answers and reconnecting with the homeland she never knew. Through her journey she hopes to give a face to the immigration story for her and the millions who live and work in the USA.
With the new political climate this film has become even more important, as millions live in fear of deportation from the land they only know.
To learn more about Maribel and to support her effort, please visit her at My DACA Life - Mi Vida DACA.