This time last year, my short film Gone Elvis premiered at the FilmColumbia Film Festival along with two other shorts. One of these was called Dreaming American, written and directed by Lee Percy and starring an Albanian actor named Praq Rado. Dreaming American is a glimpse into Rado’s real-life, immigrant story, one of escape from his deadly homeland and dedication to work and live in the United States. Praq is a talented and interesting young man. We met in person at the festival, and he contacted me on Facebook afterwards, paid kind compliments to my film, and would check in from time to time.
I just learned through his Facebook page that Praq currently sits in a U.S. federal detention center awaiting a deportation hearing. It turns out he’s been in the United States illegally for several years. I don’t know what, if anything, his lawyers will be able to offer; and I wish that I could produce some argument for his cause beyond a personal desire to see him allowed to remain here. He is certainly an individual who can only add depth to our ever-changing culture. I hope for the best for Praq’s safety and well being and hope that we can find a way to keep his dreams American.
Regardless of immigration law itself, anti-immigrant political rhetoric in America usually reminds me of this old, insulting joke:
Q. “How do you keep the jews out of your country club?”
A. “Let one in and he’ll keep the rest out.”
UPDATE: Praq is currently out of detention and remains in the Untied States, thanks to the assistance of Lee Percy, as I understand.