NIRV Topic: Immigration and Refugee Policy and Impact

Experience the impact of immigration policy on a DACA recipient and refugee.

Here are two films from the New Immigrant and Refugee Visions (NIRV) collection – films by and about immigrants – that allow you to experience how US policy impacts the daily lives of immigrants and refugees. Before you watch them, please review the “Questions-to-consider…” at the bottom of this page.

  • She’s an American Child, by Rafael DeLeon, 11 min – about the psychological and logistical challenges facing an undocumented Dominican mother and her DACA designated daughter as they wait for their future to be determined by the Supreme Court;
  • Seeking Settled Ground, by Mohammad Arifuzzaman, 13 min – See how the Trump administration’s restrictions on family-based immigration impact the hopes and stability of a new Rohingya refugee whose family remains in a refugee camp.
Create your own Facebook Watch Party:
Go to your Facebook page. Go to Create Post and select “Watch Party” from the lower-right pull-down of post activities. Cut and paste the following numbers, one at a time, to the bar at the top of the Add Videos dialogue window and click on “Add to Queue”: 686543602110292; 252670482574725; 1087539984948348. Invite friends and start your Watch Party.
We can’t do this work without your support. In response to the current crisis we are making these films available online for free for a limited time. Please help us cover our costs by donating.
Buy the films and ask your library to buy the films: A great way to support CSFilm is to use this text to ask your town or institution’s library to purchase the films.
She’s an American Child (Original 10:41, Excerpt 1:18)
Filmmaker: Rafael DeLeon
Editor: Zayde Buti; Additional Sound: Sayed Hashimi; Additional Editor: Hannah Engelson
A dilemma of identity. A life of uncertainty. A woman facing domestic violence in the Dominican Republic escaped to the United States with her toddler daughter. The woman remains undocumented and her now 22-year old daughter has been granted protection by the US government through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Will one or both be deported? Will the daughter end up in the country she has not set foot in since she was five years old?
Rafael DeLeon
Emigrated from the Dominican Republic in 2009, lives in Lynn, MA
Rafael teaches computer literacy at the KIPP Academy Charter School in Lynn, where he first learned English upon arriving in America. He co-founded The Latino Support Network and produces “Camino hacia la Integracion” (Pathways to Integration), a local TV show that interviews immigrants about the many ways they integrate into American society.
Discussion Resources:
About the filmmaking process:
About the issues covered in the film:
Seeking Settled Ground (Original 13:57, Excerpt 1:21)
Filmmaker: Mohammad Arifuzzaman
Editors: Devvrat Mishra, Zayde Buti; Translators: Mustafa Samdani, Nahina Nasrin, and Mohammad Istiak
A young Rohingya man, Mohammad Anwar, escapes persecution in his native Myanmar, survives near death as a refugee and is finally granted asylum in the United States. Now he faces unimaginable obstacles as he struggles with a new language, the need for job skills – having only worked as a subsistence farmer – and the challenges of integrating into a new world and culture. He desperately misses his family, but is grateful to be alive and learning the ways of a new life that was inconceivable just a few months ago.
Mohammad Arifuzzaman
Emigrated from Bangladesh in 2015, lives in Quincy, MA
Mohammad is a software engineer with interests in music, theater and photography. He demonstrated incredible determination throughout the NIRV filmmaking process – filming all of one story only to have the family grow fearful about participating. His story about Mohammad Anwar is particularly relevant as so many Rohingya refugees have sought refuge in Bangladesh, his country of origin.
Discussion Resources:
About the filmmaking process and filmmaker:
About Mohammad Anwar, the subject of the film:
About the issues raised in the film:

More information about refugees and immigrants.

Want to See More?

These are two other NIRV films whose subjects came to the US as refugees:

  • Navigating Hope, by Afghan refugee Sayed Najib Hashimi – about a Christian refugee from Bhutan;
  • Worlds Apart at Home, by Somali refugee Abdirahman Abdi – about Somali refugees dealing with cultural divisions between generations;

Questions to Consider While Watching These Films

  1. Should DACA recipients and their undocumented parents be granted US citizenship?
  2. In what ways has this film affected the way you view refugees and asylum seekers? What was the specific moment that triggered this?
  3. Do you have one or more places that you call home and how does that effect your sense of belonging?
  4. Have you ever been misunderstood or stereotyped? Have you ever witnessed someone being misunderstood or stereotyped? Were you able to take any action to change the situation? What happened?
  5. How do public attitudes impact policies? How do we decide which policies demonstrate social and economic justice?
  6. What do you want to change in your community after “meeting” these immigrants and learning about their experiences? (e.g., Individual behaviors? Public policies? Local media perspectives of your immigrant neighbors?)
  7. What did you relate to? What reminded you of things in your own life? 
  8. What felt unfamiliar, new or surprising?
  9. What stood out to you? What will you tell your friends about? 
  10. Can you think of an occasion when you changed your mind about an issue? What would change people’s minds about immigrants or immigration?