Almost American

A Salvadoran family rooted in D.C. fights to stay together after The Department of Homeland Security revokes the Temporary Protected Status of six countries.

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Funding Initiative
Diversity Development Fund
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Reuben Atlas

Reuben Atlas is an independent filmmaker and lawyer, selected for DOCNYC’s inaugural 40 Under 40 list and as an Impact Partners Producers Fellow. He produced and directed with Sam Pollard, Acorn and the Firestorm, about the impactful and controversial community organizing group, ACORN. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festiva, was supported by Show more Sundance, ITVS, Black Public Media, and the IDA, and broadcast on PBS's Independent Lens. He also co-directed with Jerry Rothwell the Netflix and Arte funded, Sour Grapes, about a counterfeit wine conman. His first film, Brothers Hypnotic, about the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, which featured Prince, Phil Cohran, and Damon Albarn, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, broadcast internationally and on PBS' Independent Lens, and is distributed by Factory 25. He previously worked at Legal Aid in Paterson, NJ, in counseling at maximum-security prison, as a bartender in the Netherland Antilles, and for a Cuban newspaper in Costa Rica. Show less

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Nina Alvarez

Nina Alvarez is a documentarian and journalist with over 20 years of experience. She directed and wrote an episode for Latino Americans, which received a Peabody and the Imagen Award. Nina’s credits include Very Young Girls, The Battle for America’s Schools, the Oscar-nominated Which Way Home, and the Emmy-nominated Aftershock Pakistan.

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The Film

In 2018, The Department of Homeland Security terminated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for almost all TPS holders—foreign nationals from countries beset by civil unrest, violence, or natural disaster who are permitted lawful residence in the United States, the majority of whom are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. The decision left American families on the brink of a family separation crisis—not on the border, but in communities across the United States. 

In Almost American, the Ayala Flores family are in the midst of this crisis after living and working in the nation’s capital for 20 years. Sheltered by Temporary Protected Status for nearly two decades, Salvadoran TPS holders have no criminal records, pay taxes even without the right to public benefits, and contribute to their communities as homeowners, entrepreneurs, and workers. All the while, they are raising U.S.-born children.  

The Ayala Flores family is caught in an anti-immigration agenda that has taken hold in Washington, D.C. While the Trump administration ended their status, the Biden administration acted in the eleventh-hour to extend their TPS until mid-2024, an election year. More than 400,000 TPS holders have been at risk of their status suddenly changing since 2016—once TPS is revoked, thousands of families will be torn apart, with a devastating impact on the lives of almost 200,000 U.S.-born children. Follow the Ayala Flores family as they fight before the judiciary and in the court of public opinion for a path to permanent residence to keep their family—and entire communities—intact.