ABRAZOS tells the transformational journey of a group of U.S. Citizen Children, sons  and daughters of undocumented immigrants,  who travel from Minnesota to Guatemala to meet their grandparents -and in some instances their siblings - for the first time. There are 4.5 million other U.S. citizen children who, like them, have at least one undocumented parent and are part of mixed-status families, ABRAZOS is the story of 14 of them.

Synopsis: 

Even though they are entitled to the same rights and freedoms as all Americans, many of these children are growing up with the constant fear of separation from their parents. In addition, never having met their grandparents or other family members, they don’t have a clear sense of who they are and their heritage. All of these things negatively impact their welfare and that of society.

ABRAZOS is a film that reflects the hopes, dreams and fears, of these transnational-families who, after being separated for nearly two decades, are able to embrace each other, share stories, strengthen traditions and begin to reconstruct their cultural identity.  

ABRAZOS resonates with the lives and family histories of every American citizen no matter where they come from.

Director's Commentary: 

In the process of filming several of my most recent documentaries, I have witnessed the negative consequences of family separation which is caused by a broken immigration system. The ones most affected by the separation are the children. During one of my trips to the Midwest, as part of the outreach campaign of my previous documentary, abUSed: The Postville Raid, I met Lisa Kremer who told me about Abuelos y Nietos Juntos, a project of family reunification between the sons and daughters of Guatemalan immigrants in Worthington, Minnesota and their grandparents in San Marcos, Guatemala. I was inspired by the idea and decided to make a film about the first trip of its kind.

Over the course of a little over a year, my crew and I were able to document this emotional pilgrimage and subsequent conversations. The families of the 14 U.S. citizen children who participated in this experiment granted us total access - before, during and after the trip - and we were able to capture the entire experience. The result is ABRAZOS, a film that reflects the hopes, dreams and fears, of these transnational-families who, after being separated for nearly two decades, are able to embrace each other, share stories, strengthen traditions and begin to reconstruct their cultural identity.

I am convinced that after watching ABRAZOS you will find resonances with your own life and family history no matter where you come from.  I also hope that you will consider getting involved in some way. Your support will be crucial to develop and carry out an outreach campaign in partnership with key organizations working in areas of child development, children's rights and mental health.  I hope you agree -- their stories need to be told.