Soledad shows what life is like for those imprisoned in immigration detention centers while they await their day in court.
The film lays bare the callous and brutal nature of the US immigration/asylum system, which is in stark contrast to the compassion and altruism of everyday citizens like those supporting Soledad.
Soledad tells the story of a young woman from Central America who was imprisoned in the Eloy Detention Facility when she sought asylum in the United States in 2017. Soledad set out on a perilous journey from her homeland after enduring horrific persecution where she was kidnapped, sex-trafficked, tortured and nearly killed.
Attorney Shefali Milczarek-Desai, who took the case pro bono, mobilized a dream team of professional women, all of whom agreed to work for free on the case. Together, they secured Soledad's release from Eloy and ultimately prevailed on her asylum claim in a rare victory for an asylum seeker in the US.
For some additional contextual background on the crisis in Latin America, Professor Colin Deeds writes: "The poverty and inequality prevalent in Central America are largely due to US capitalistic/imperial policy over the decades that has exploited the region's resources, while marginalizing its most vulnerable populations. Successive US regimes have deposed democratically elected governments in many of these countries, further destabilizing political, economic and social conditions on the ground. The violent gangs plaguing the region today are the result of mass migration from civil wars and genocides of the 1980s . The most violent gangs (MS - 13/Mara Salvatruchas) were born and bred on US streets and US prisons, before members were deported back to their countries of origin. The weapons they use are produced by US arms manufacturers and trafficked freely thanks to the most lax gun laws on the planet. The drug trade is fueled by the US insatiable demand for mind altering substances and massive profits generated. All this not to mention climate related migration that is on the rise and expected to increase."
Through one woman's story, Soledad illustrates the plight faced by many asylum seekers and refugees arriving at the US border and highlights the incredible work of lawyers and activists who donated their time to fight for another woman's future. Soledad puts a human face to our current immigration system and invites audience members to reflect on what kind of country we want to be and how our stance on immigration impacts real human lives.
*DISCLAIMER: This film contains some sensitive content.
Soledad is a beautifully rendered yet wrenching film to watch. It captures the dignity and humanity of a young woman, along with her dedicated lawyer and interpreter who stood with her in the pursuit of justice often denied. At the same time we are privy to the cruel, vicious and mostly privatized US detention system, where systematic abuses are committed with impunity disguised behind a “rule of law” rhetoric.
This film sparked great conversation and thought from our audiences. Soledad is a step towards the positive change we need to see in the world.