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The Center for American Progress (CAP) today launched a new film series from Oscar-nominated director Chris Weitz (“Twilight: New Moon,” “A Better Life”) entitled “Is This Alabama?”—a project intended to probe into and expose the extremities of Alabama’s harsh new anti-immigrant law, HB 56. (The event was live-tweeted here.)
On hand to discuss the short films were Weitz himself; Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas; and journalist Tom Baxter, author of the report “Alabama’s Immigration Disaster: the Harshest Law in the Land Harms the State’s Economy and Society,” also just released by CAP.
Over and over again, the panelists returned to a moral argument, saying that while making a policy case against HB 56 is important, it is the personal stories of chaos and suffering that we cannot afford to move far away from.
Weitz’s short films do just that—present a diverse cross section of Alabamians talking about the law and how it affects their lives. In one, a drunken HB 56 supporter interrogates Jose Antonio Vargas about his own lack of papers. In another, a tearful mother describes her struggle to explain to her daughter why life in Alabama is different now. A third video discusses HB 56’s direct connection to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. And finally, the fourth interviews a small business farmer about his longtime close friend, an undocumented immigrant who might be forced to leave the state.
The films are a must-see. Watch them below: