‘Papers’ comes to Orpheum next week

Film discusses DREAMers, immigration history in U.S.

It’s been several years since the documentary film “Papers” was shown free to the Marshalltown public, and another screening Monday evening will be followed with panel discussion on immigration policy and life experiences.

“It’s about the issue of what we call DREAMers, which would be youth that came to the United States without legal status but grew up here and go through our school system and identify as Americans,” said Joa LaVille of Immigrant Allies. “It’s really a testament to the roots of our organization.”

She said the film was released in 2010, and a screening of the documentary was one of the first events hosted by a then-fledgling Immigrant Allies organization.

The film shows the stories of several undocumented youth, or DREAMers, and goes over the history of immigration to the United States.

LaVille said many past immigrant populations, such as the Irish immigrants of the 19th century, were treated poorly in the American society of that day. She said the film shows that poor treatment of immigrant groups is a trend that can be seen in history as well as today.

“I think it gives one of the best, in-a-nutshell overviews of our immigration system, and I think that’s something that’s really misunderstood … where people like to compare immigrant decisions in history and current immigrant decisions,” she said.

After the screening, a panel comprising those who either were or currently are DREAMers will discuss the film and other immigration issues.

LaVille said the date of the screening, May 1, was chosen for a purpose.

“We chose to show it on May 1 specifically to have a way to join in the national day of action,” she said, referring to the “Day Without an Immigrant” national movement planned for that date. “It’s kind of a way to participate in that, but we’re taking a little different spin on it.”

LaVille said the event encourages presence rather than absence.

Additionally, she said the screening is free, and free will donations are welcome. The funds would go toward Immigrant Allies’ pledge to the Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) clinic coming to the community. Concessions will be sold as well.

“Papers” is set to begin at 6 p.m. Monday at the IVCCD Orpheum Theater Center, and doors open at 5:30 p.m. LaVille said the film will be shown in English with Spanish subtitles.