Elvira: The Immigration Play is a new play by Jessica Carmona and Directed by Misti B. Wills. Inspired by the life story of Elvira Arellano, the play offers up an imaginary encounter between a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officer and Elvira on the day of her arrest in August 2007. As an interrogation unfolds, Elvira recounts her journey, from being the daughter of a farmer in México to becoming Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.
About Jessica Carmona, the writer of Elvira: The Immigration Play...
Jessica is Puerto Rican. She grew up in a loving, middle class home in Rochester, New York. She started studying dance at the School of the Arts in Rochester, and she continued to study acting when she got accepted into NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Jessica was exposed to the arts at a young age, and she has had the good fortune of studying with accomplished artists over the years. She believes in the importance of arts education, and she is grateful for hers.
She feels strongly about social justice issues, such as speaking out against racism, police brutality, and advocating for immigrant rights. Her work often follows & pursues these themes.
Jessica recently won Best Actress at The People's Film Festival in New York for the role of Millie in the film Millie & The Lords. Check out the Millie & The Lords website for more information about this film.
More about Jessica Carmona on her website.
About Elvira Arellano, the subject of Elvira: The Immigration Play...
Elvira is a Mexican citizen and an advocate for American immigration reform. She is the founder of La Familia Latina Unida. In 2006, she was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year:
Nine years ago, she strolled through an untended turnstile on the U.S.-Mexico border and began the life of an undocumented worker. In the time since, she has had a son, Saul, now 8 years old, by law a U.S. citizen. In 2002, Arellano was arrested in a sweep of O'Hare International Airport for workers with false Social Security numbers. (She was earning $6.50 an hour for cleaning planes.) Sentenced to three years' probation for Social Security fraud, she was issued a deportation order. She pursued several legal reprieves, and when the last one failed on Aug. 15, she sought sanctuary in the church. She says she will not take her son back to a country she gave up for a better life; nor will she leave him to fend for himself in the U.S. "It's wrong to split up families. I'm fighting for my son, not for myself. It's a matter of principle. I don't want him treated like garbage," she says, adding, "I am a mom and a worker. I am not a terrorist." -Time Magazine
Elvira Arellano & son.
Photo by Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune.