Best Immigration Documentary (2012)

Two Americans

This gripping documentary film by Dan De Vivo and Valeria Fernández follows the story of two Americans at the center of Arizona's fierce battle over illegal immigration — 9-year-old Katherine Figueroa and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" sent his deputies on a raid in search of undocumented immigrants and snatched Figueroa's parents from their job at a local car wash. Granted full access by Arpaio, the filmmakers are able to examine what justice looks like from the perspective of a man who gained political power by preying on undocumented immigrants and a little girl who was separated from her parents because, as she explains: "They're not born here and they say that's against the law." The work highlights the extremely personal politics at the heart of this fight — documenting Katherine's pleas to President Obama and following her to Washington, D.C., where she testified before an ad hoc committee hearing held by Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva and pleaded for the president's help in Arizona, where families like hers are being torn apart. And it details how after decades of using illegal immigration as a political catapult, Arpaio stared down, until recently, several federal investigations and is being called out for his racial discrimination.Dan De Vivo is an award-winning freelance producer from New York City who previously produced Crossing Arizona, a documentary about the human costs of illegal immigration. And Fernández, a native of Uruguay, is an award-winning freelance journalist (and New Times contributor). This pair creates a powerful message. You simply can't walk away unchanged, especially as 9-year-old Katherine smiles into the camera and declares, "People, don't be scared. Fight for your rights."Request a screening of the documentary at


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