Cincinnati, OH – An Ohio family with Mauritanian roots is featured in a new documentary series on Netflix called “Living Undocumented.” Executive produced by Selena Gomez, the series is an intimate look into the lives of eight U.S. families who are facing and fighting the deportation of a loved one. View the trailer here.
Ohioans first came to know Amadou Sow and his family in 2018, when the Cincinnati Enquirer began chronicling their plight to remain together in the country they call home. Sow is one of several Black Mauritanians who fled slavery and genocide more than twenty years ago, looking for a safe place and choosing Ohio.
With a change in policy under Trump, long-term U.S. residents like Sow were suddenly being deported despite their significant family ties and decades of contributions. Sow’s wife and American children struggled, emotionally and financially, as their father remained locked up in Ohio jails.
Others, unfortunately, met a different fate. Issa Sao, also of Cincinnati, was deported to Mauritania and currently lives exiled in another country–miles away from his U.S. citizen wife and young children.
Since Mauritanian leaders and Columbus attorney Julie Nemecek first began exposing this situation, awareness and support has grown. Americans are outraged about the U.S.’ decision to deport Black Mauritanians to a nation where they are abused. Read more about the efforts here.
As Houleye Thiam, President of the Mauritanian Network for Human Rights in U.S., told an audience at Just North Church in Columbus: “Dictators are weapons of mass destruction. Immigration is not always a choice. People don’t just pack up everything and leave family behind because they’re feeling ‘adventurous.’ Mauritanians are fleeing something bigger than themselves.”
Thiam says that the Netflix series featuring a Mauritanian family is “greatly welcome in our community, as it puts Mauritanian issues in the spotlight and heightens the urgency of the moment, that no Black Mauritanian should be deported to a country where he faces racial discrimination and possibly slavery.”
Julie Nemecek, who appears in the “Living Undocumented” episode about the Sow family, said: “The struggles faced by Black Mauritanian families are finally getting the exposure they require. It’s important to keep the movement alive, not only to halt future deportations, but also to seek justice for those Black Mauritanians who were wrongfully deported.”
All requests for information and interviews with documentary participants must be made to Netflix via Krista Sonnhalter (KSonnhalter@alliedglobalmarketing.com).
Follow the Ohio Immigrant Alliance on Twitter @tramontela