Precocious Sophie Cruz convinced her martial arts teacher to let her attend classes when she was just 3 years old. She is a luchadora, a fighter. So when her parents, who are undocumented immigrants, told her they don’t have papers and could be deported back to Mexico, Sophie vowed to keep her family together. On a trip to Washington, D.C., Sophie, then just 6, cleared a security barrier to deliver her message to Pope Francis. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, which would grant protected status to Sophie’s family and thousands of others and let them live free like the birds.
A Somali-American who arrived in the United States at the age of 12, self-described as “an extreme other” — black, Muslim, a woman and an immigrant – Ilhan Omar in 2016 sought to become the first Somali-American to win legislative office. Taking on a 43-year incumbent for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Ilhan ran on a platform to alleviate high unemployment and student debt in her central Minneapolis district, which includes large numbers of Somali immigrants and students at the University of Minnesota. “It’s a lot, trying to change the world,” a momentarily exhausted Ilhan tells director Norah Shapiro, whose Time for Ilhan is a virtual guide to how a grassroots campaign can further the restoration of American democracy, at least in a diversifying urban district.