By Ishita Srivastava

Why You Should Watch This

Imagine dropping your child off at school every day, afraid that you won’t be back at pick-up time. Imagine staying with a violent partner because calling the cops could tear you away from your kids. Imagine arranging for a neighbor to take care of your children in case you disappear — which could happen any time. Tough to imagine? This is reality for millions of immigrant women in the United States.

In June 2012, President Obama announced a historic plan to help make this country safer for over one million young immigrants who have built their lives here. Now it’s time to ask: what about their mothers? Cruel U.S. laws deny immigrant women the right to protect themselves and raise safe, healthy families. In the first six months of 2011 alone, the U.S. deported more than 46,000 parents of American-born children. Other families – especially in states such as Arizona and Alabama — live in fear of these threats, rarely leaving home at all. Many women are also forced to choose between the threat of an abusive husband and the risk of being detained or deported if they call the police. Pregnant mothers give birth in shackles with federal agents by their side. Women suffer in immigrant detention centers, often without due process, under the constant danger of physical and sexual abuse.

This is not the America we stand for. But together we can change it. Watch #ImHere: THE CALL and stand up for the human rights of immigrant women.


Video Facts

Title of Video: #ImHere: THE CALL

Date created: October 1, 2012

Length: 5:22 mins

Who made it: Breakthrough

Location: United States

Human rights issues: human rights; women’s rights; immigrant rights; violence against women


Goal: #ImHere: THE CALL is the cornerstone of Breakthrough’s #ImHere campaign; the film puts immigrant women’s rights on the national agenda during the presidential campaign and beyond, making the human rights of immigrant women impossible to ignore.

Sonia, a fictional undocumented immigrant, comforts her assaulted daughter and contemplates their choices.
Sonia, a fictional undocumented immigrant, comforts her assaulted daughter and contemplates their choices.


Primary Audience: Americans aged 18-34 who are concerned with the rights of immigrants in the U.S.


Message: Sonia has worked so hard for a healthy family and a normal life in a normal American town. But on a night that should have been like any other, she is forced to make an impossible choice that could shatter her family’s dreams forever. Keep your daughter safe — or keep your family together? What call would you make? In Breakthrough’s powerful short film #ImHere: THE CALL, inspired by a true story, Sonia’s crisis shows why it is crucial for all Americans to stand up for the human rights of immigrant women today.


Content/Style/Voices: #ImHere: THE CALL is a fictional short inspired by the real experiences of the brave women and families that Breakthrough has encountered in our work.

The family's father comforts his son, who has just learned of his mother's legal immigration status.
The family’s father comforts his son, who is upset and confused by his sister’s condition and the idea that he could be separated from his mother.

After hearing the stories of women impacted by anti-immigrant laws and policies in states like Arizona and Alabama, we chose to distill their experiences into a fictional film telling the story of an impossible choice facing Sonia, an immigrant woman, and her family. The employment of a highly produced fictional style makes for a narrative that is powerful and relatable, making the issue accessible to a wide audience.

The film begins with a familiar American family scene — Sonia is preparing dinner on a school night while her family tinkers around the house. Sonia, who is undocumented, is then faced with a harrowing dilemma – whether or not to seek help for her teenage daughter who has been sexually assaulted. If she seeks help, she could face the threat of being deported, separating her family forever.

On a night that should have been like any other, she is forced to make an impossible choice that could shatter her family’s dreams forever. Should she keep her daughter safe, or keep her family together?


Did You Know?

  • In the six months between January and June 2011, the U.S. deported more than 46,000 parents of U.S.-citizen children. (link)
  • 4 million American citizens (ages 0-18) live in a household with at least one undocumented parent. (link)
  • Immigrant women are 3 to 6 times more likely to experience domestic violence than other US women, who have a 1 in 4 chance. (link)
  • The House’s version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill (the Adams bill, H.R. 4970) that passed in the House in May 2012 rolls back protections for immigrant women who have experienced domestic violence, making it extremely difficult for them to report abuse. (link)
  • In 2010, immigrant women comprised 40 percent of all immigrant business owners and 20 percent of women business owners in general. These women are now more likely to own their own business than American-born women (9 percent to 6.5 percent, respectively.) (link)


Join the conversation:

#ImHere: THE CALL is the centerpiece Breakthrough’s #ImHere campaign. You can:

1. Watch, share, and discuss. Sample post: #ImHere to stand up for immigrant women in this election year. Are you? #immigration @breakthrough

2. Add your photo to our photo wall, joining over 500 people – and celebrities! – from all over the world who say #ImHere for immigrant women.

3. Call on leaders and lawmakers watching and tweeting the presidential debates with us.


Ishita Srivastava led Breakthrough’s Restore Fairness campaign and is now heading up #ImHere. She has also directed and/or produced numerous videos for those campaigns and other Breakthrough projects.


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