The immigrant experience in the U.S. is a plethora of stories with different endings. One common storyline in the current immigration crisis is the separation of families. A viral video of Twitter is showing the immigrant experience in a touching and hopeful way.
Luis Cortes Romero, a DACA recipient in California according to his Twitter bio, posted a video of his mother being reunited with her parents for the first time in 30 years. The video starts with a woman being asked to come into another room. When she rounds the corner, she stops dead in her tracks as she tries to take int eh scene before her. After 30 years, she finally got to see her parents again.
Romero is an attorney and, according to the tweet, he always vowed to bring his grandparents to the U.S. to see their daughter. The moment was captured on video and you can feel the emotions coming through the screen.
Romero briefly described the challenges he faced while getting his grandparents visas to come to the U.S.
A parent’s love is something so special and unconditional. Despite his grandfather being deaf, mute, and illiterate, his grandparents took trips by bus every time they tried for a visa. It took five tries before the couple finally had their visas approved for a visit to the U.S.
The family even got to celebrate his birthday while he was visiting.
The smile on his mom’s face says it all. Imagine having to go 30 years without seeing your parents because of your choice to immigrate or a better life. So many immigrants sacrifice their families, friends, and everything they know in order to achieve a better life for them and their families. The video shows the emotional toll that the immigration experience can take on a family.
People on social media are showering Romero with so much respect.
The Twitter video shows so much love and family unity. It is an intimate look into a life so many Americans will never know or experience. One of overwhelming joy following decades of unfathomable sadness and separation.
The cries from the children seeing their parents are something so many of us can relate to.
Whether or not you have separated from your parents for decades, it is easy to understand the longing for your parents. There is nothing more comforting than being able to see your parents when something goes wrong. There are so many times as adults that we need to rely on our parents, whether we like to acknowledge it or not.
The separation of families is a moment in American history that we will have to face.
Immigration advocates have called the separation of families at the southern border is damaging. The psychological damage to the children being taken by their parents is devastating.
Award-winning Guatemalan film ‘José’ is about to make its US theatrical premiere in L.A. and New York. But thanks to US travel restrictions, its leading actor Enrique Salenic won’t be allowed to enter the country for the film’s release.
The Guatemalan actor is the star of the award-winning film “José”
“José,” directed by Chinese-born American filmmaker Li Cheng, won multiple awards internationally during the international film festival season in 2018-2019, including the prestigious Queer Lion award at the 75th Venice Film Festival.
Guatemalan actor Enrique Salanic has been blocked from entering the United States ahead of the U.S. premiere of the film in which he is the star.
The fast-rising, U.S.-educated actor earned strong reviews for his lead performance in the Venice 2018 premiere as an impoverished 19-year-old gay man who lives with his mother and falls in love for the first time.
Made in a neorealist cinematic tradition, the film is described in a press release as “a nuanced and vivid look at being gay in Central America.”
‘José’ follows the eponymous character of the film, a closeted 19-year-old who lives an impoverished life with his mother, a street vendor, in Guatemala City. Guatemala, and most of Latin America for that matter, is a place dominated by conservative Catholic and Evangelical Christian religious values. When he meets an attractive migrant from the Caribbean coast, he finds himself falling in love for the first time; the relationship pushes him to rethink his repressed life, and before long he is contemplating a drastic change that will require a leap of faith he is still reluctant to take.
The film premiered in New York on Jan. 31.
And it’s premiered in Los Angeles one week later. Salanic has traveled widely in support of “José,” attending the Lido and festivals in Spain and Panama but the U.S. appears to be a step too far.
The U.S. embassy rejected his visa application twice.
Efforts to bring Salanic to the U.S. have proved fruitless after the U.S. embassy in the Central American country rejected his non-immigrant visa applications. The embassy argued Salanic, who lives with his parents in Guatemala, could be a flight risk were he to enter the U.S. as he does not have a residence in Guatemala.
The premiere should have been a celebratory occasion for the film’s star.
The young newcomer named Enrique Salanic, should be celebrating the great success of his debut appearance. But instead it has become a senseless bureaucratic nightmare, the latest demonstration on the world stage of the current draconian stance on immigration and travel.
The actor’s first application was denied in November.
Salanic’s first visa application was made in November according to Paul Hudson, head of the film’s U.S. distributor, Los Angeles-based Outsider Pictures; the embassy rejected it, arguing that Salanic could be a flight risk if he were to enter the US.
Hudson then sought the aid of Congressman Ted Lieu.
Congressman Lieu, wrote a personal letter on behalf of the young actor which was submitted with a second application. That request was also denied, with no apparent consideration of the congressman’s letter. According to Screen Daily, a copy of the embassy’s original rejection letter states that a requirement of a successful visa application is a residence in a foreign country which the applicant “has no intention of abandoning,” before going on to write, “You have not demonstrated that you have the ties that will compel you to return to your home country after your travel to the United States.”
Hudson, head of the film’s U.S. distributor, had something to say.
“Denying Enrique Salanic his entry visa to promote his work in a film produced, financed and distributed by American citizens and companies represents just one way in which the current administration’s immigration rules impact U.S. businesses, and it perpetuates the negative impression the world has of America. Denying entry to a man who has already successfully studied in the U.S. just because he is from Guatemala is unjust and cruel,” Outsider Pictures’ Paul Hudson told The Wrap.
Robert Rosenberg of Outsider Pictures also had an issue with the rejection of Salanic’s entry visa.
“It broke my heart that such a talented young actor like Enrique, who is the star of our movie, is being thwarted in pursuing his career by our own government in the U.S.,” Rosenberg told The Wrap. “Our policies should encourage this kind of ambition and success, not trap Central Americans in their countries, as if they were less than human.”
In a statement on the creation of the film, director Li Cheng discussed the movie’s cultural relevance.
“‘José’ is really a page ripped from today’s news headlines,” he said. “The crises of young people, single mothers and dark-skinned peoples in Guatemala frames the film’s story. Guatemala has become an increasingly violent and dangerous place, where more than half the people live in poverty. Indeed most of the children separated from their parents and locked in dog-like cages in Texas (shocking people around the world) are Guatemalan, not Mexican, as is often claimed.”
Oprah Winfrey and Jeanine Cummins are finally facing the music in a new episode of “Oprah’s Book Club” on Apple TV+. The episode is a panel discussion on the very controversial and widely panned book “American Dirt” that many have painted as offensive and uncharacteristic of the experience of migrants crossing the southern border.
Oprah Winfrey and Jeanine Cummins are finally facing the music for “American Dirt.”
Oprah and the author of the book opened themselves up to criticism directly from the critics about the book. “American Dirt” was billed as a wonderful telling of the experience of migrants trying to make it to the southern border. However, people took issue with the book because they found it offensive and reliant on stereotypes that they found hurtful. Now, the critics get a chance to hold Oprah and Cummins accountable for promoting a book many want gone. The episode is airing on March 6 on Apple TV+.
The controversy surrounding the most recent novel on Oprah’s Book Club “American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins continues to grow. The book follows protagonist Lydia Quixano Pérez, a middle-class Mexican bookseller who escapes Acapulco with her 8-year-old son, Luca, after a drug cartel massacres their family at a quinceañera. The backlash over the novel has led to the cancelation of a book tour promoting the novel due to ‘threats of physical violence’. Here’s what’s going on.
Cummins received a big advance and a lot of promotional push for “American Dirt,” which follows a Mexican mother and son fleeing drug violence.
Oprah Winfrey picked it for her book club, and a growing number of celebrities and authors showered it with praise, some without reading the book. Critics have called the book inaccurate and full of harmful stereotypes and questioned whether Cummins was the right person to tell that story. (Despite the controversy —or maybe thanks to it— the book is selling well; it’s currently No. 1 on Amazon’s charts.)
The publisher is proud to have taken on “American Dirt.”
In a statement, Bob Miller, the president of Flatiron Books, said the publisher is proud to have published “American Dirt,” and was “therefore surprised by the anger that has emerged from members of the Latinx and publishing communities.”
Yet, he was able to understand the privilege in his surprise to the backlash.
“The fact that we were surprised is indicative of a problem, which is that in positioning this novel, we failed to acknowledge our own limits,” Miller said. “The discussion around this book has exposed deep inadequacies in how we at Flatiron Books address issues of representation, both in the books we publish and in the teams that work on them.”
The public has been blasting the author, who is white and had a Puerto Rican grandmother, for being out of her league writing about undocumented Mexican immigrants.
The backlash led to the concerns which canceled the book tour, Flatiron Books wrote in a tweeted statement on Wednesday. “While there are are valid criticisms around our promotion of this book that is no excuse for the fact that in some cases there have been threats of physical violence,” Miller explains. He added that it was sad that Cummins had become “the recipient of hatred from within the very communities she sought to honor,” and that her “work of fiction that was well-intentioned has led to such vitriolic rancor.”
He also apologized for giving the impression the author’s husband might have been Mexican, and addressed other specific issues around the promotion of the book.
“We made serious mistakes in the way we rolled out this book. We should never have claimed that it was a novel that defined the migrant experience,” Miller stated. “We should not have said that Jeanine’s husband was an undocumented immigrant while not specifying that he was from Ireland; we should not have had a centerpiece at our bookseller dinner last May that replicated the book jacket so tastelessly. We can now see how insensitive those and other decisions were, and we regret them.”
Several Mexican authors have expressed their discomfort with the harmful depictions in “American Dirt.”
Julissa Arce Raya, the author of “My (Underground) American Dream,” argued that “American Dirt” was not representative of her experience as an undocumented immigrant in America. Author Celeste Ng shared a review calling Cummins’ depictions of Mexico “laughably inaccurate.”
Roxane Gay deplored Oprah’s decision to elevate the novel.
The New York Times bestselling author of “Bad Feminist,” argued that “to see a book like this elevated by Oprah…legitimizes and normalizes flawed and patronizing wrong-minded thinking about the border and those who cross it.” “I hope this makes people realize how conservative publishing really is,” Myriam Gurba, a Mexican American writer, told the Guardian.
About the seven-figure advance she reportedly earned, Cummins said:
“I was never going to turn down money that someone offered me for something that took me seven years to write. I acknowledge that there is tremendous inequity in the industry, about who gets attention for writing what books.”
“I lived in fear of this moment, of being called to account for myself: ‘Who do you think you are,’” she told bookshop manager Javier Ramirez, according to The Guardian. “And, in the end, the people who I met along the way, the migrants who I spoke to, the people who have put themselves in harm’s way to protect vulnerable people, they showed me what real courage looks like. They made me recognize my own cowardice. When people are really putting their lives on the line, to be afraid of writing a book felt like cowardice.”
The author had made a handful of promotional appearances since the book was released.
Over the past few days however, the St Louis-based Left Bank Books called off an event and Flatiron canceled interviews in a pair of California stores. The tour for her heavily promoted book had been scheduled to last at least through mid-February, with planned stops everywhere from Seattle to Oxford, Mississippi.
Oprah announced she’ll meet with Cummins and their conversation will be broadcast in an upcoming Apple TV special.
Flatiron now plans to send Cummins to town-hall-style events, where the author will be joined by “some of the groups who have raised objections to the book.”