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We Are Witnesses: Becoming an American

A powerful short film series explores what it means to be an immigrant in America today.
03.18.2019 6:30 p.m.
Celeste Auditorium, New York Public Library, NYC
Celeste Auditorium at South Court (1st Floor) The New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street & 5th Avenue New York, NY 10016

The Marshall Project, in partnership with Newsy, goes beyond the headlines in “We Are Witnesses: Becoming an American,” a series of short films that explore what it means to be an immigrant in America today. Four of these compelling interviews will be screened, followed by a panel discussion with director Jenny Carchman and Witnesses Zaid Nagi, a Yemeni-American immigrant, and immigration lawyer Lee Wang, moderated by The Marshall Project’s president, Carroll Bogert.

In twelve beautifully composed, direct-to-camera testimonies, “We Are Witnesses: Becoming an American” takes a deeper look at asylum seekers, advocates, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, the documented and the undocumented, offering a 21st-century narrative of American immigration that depicts the struggle and humanity of its participants.

A family’s father is deported to Ecuador after living in New York City for 20 years. A Russian-born lesbian flees persecution in her home country to become an American citizen. A South Korean student makes the difficult decision to live in the shadows of society after triggering the revocation of his own visa. A former acting director of ICE describes how his opinions on deportation changed after taking on the role. A Honduran-born teen swims across a river under a dark sky to make it to America.

"'We Are Witnesses: Becoming an American' offers a realistic, humanizing view of immigration in America," Neil Barsky, founder of The Marshall Project and executive producer of “We Are Witnesses: Becoming an American." "Our hope is that by letting people tell their own stories, the series will help reclaim the narrative, and remind us of the courage and patriotism of millions around the world striving to become American citizens."