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Don't Tell Anyone (2015)

Thursday, February 11

Directors: Mikaela Shwer
Run time: 75 minutes

Angy Rivera had two crucial secrets in her life. The first was that she was an undocumented child living with her mother and siblings in New York City for 19 years. That secret was a constant source of fear: If her immigration status was discovered, she could be deported and her family shattered. The second secret was more tragic: Rivera had been sexually abused by her stepfather from ages 4 to 8, a secret she eventually revealed and which, in the strange world of immigration law, helped her gain the visa she had always desired.

Director Mikaela Shwer met Rivera, now 24, while the young woman was still undocumented. After the two developed a friendship, Shwer began filming Rivera's quest to help others living in immigration's "shadows" and to gain a visa for herself. The result was Shwer's first full-length documentary.

"Being undocumented isn't something we can put in the back of our heads. When I wake up, it's the first thing I think about," Rivera says early in the film, adding that her secret has even haunted her dreams. This was the only life she had known. When she was 3, her mother, Maria, decided to flee the growing violence and unrest in their native Colombia, selling their possessions for a one-way ticket to New York. The United States was their promised land, but would remain so only if Rivera promised not to tell anyone that she was undocumented. The film is a a co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting.

(Source: Official film site, http://www.pbs.org/pov/donttellanyone/)

Mark Harley, Esq., Partner
Schneck and Harley Immigration Law Group, LLP