This comment area is closed to new submissions. Visit ITVS.org to continue the conversation about this film.
Thanks for the wonderful documentary. I was so moved by the determination of these women, and inspired by the cooperatively run business. I love learning about creative solutions to tough problems.
I have worked overseas with women from six continents, so often I see how poverty separates families. Sadly, some of the website comments missed that point. And in terms of lawbreaking most law abiding Americans regularly break traffic laws, fail to claim all their tips to the IRS, or take jobs "under the table." There's a big difference between knocking off a bank and cleaning toilets so your kids can eat.
My white, second generation mother is a domestic who has lived without sick time or health insurance for 24 years. On the flip side, she is a big help to many of her clients, just like the elderly woman you showed. Not everyone who has a "cleaning lady" is a well-off professional.
However, Telma's employer not paying even $10/hour floored me. I've babysat in D.C. for more than that. L.A. is horrendously expensive. How workers live on that kind of money, let alone send some home, is beyond me. Bless them.
Victoria, BC, Canada
I am a Canadian studying at university to be a journalist. All of Independent Lens' shows, particularly Maid in America, have been a window for me into the lives and hearts of people who are too far away from me to experience first hand. I do my best to get out and speak with people in Victoria where I live, but getting an accurate perspective of US-based issues (like the challenges faced US immigrants) is only possible for me right now through programs like Independent Lens.
No amount of studying could prepare me more thoroughly for a future career in the media than watching shows like this. While I am studying, they the next best thing to real life encounters.
And most importantly, experiencing your programs gives me a clearer picture of what it means to be human.
I understand the need and drive to achieve a better life for your family. I understand the necessity to leave your family to find work and support your children. I understand the need for work that pays enough to live on and hope that you don't get sick or injured. That you want better for your children.
I am a 10th generation American Citizen. I had to leave my family to earn a wage substantial enough to support them. My 2 children live with my 75 year old mother who is ill with M.S. She cares for my children while I moved over 1000 miles away to work and send them money.
I too work in the domestic trade, as well as anything else I can find. At the moment I'm working 3 jobs. Most of the time, the only work I can find is temporary because they can find Illegal immigrant workers for less money.
Who ever said �these people take the jobs none of us want.� didn't know what they were talking about! I am a domestic/housekeeper. I clean houses in the mornings, work in a convenience store in the afternoon; and baby-sit at night while I take an online course. I am an American citizen with a high School Diploma. The only work I can find is what I'm doing.
Why, you might ask? In our city they want people who are fluent in both English and Spanish for many jobs over minimum wage. What I'm finding is that many of the workers taking these jobs are very new to America. If they are legal at all, it's only recently or many of them were born here to Illegal immigrants. People that shouldn't have been here in the first place and now have better jobs than I do.
Why should I have to learn Spanish when my ancestors had to learn English? Why is it now so important that America learn to speak the language of the people entering the country? Why must I compete for jobs with people who shouldn't be here in the first place? Why must I travel away from my family to find work to support them?
I'm an American and I resent the fact that people like these three women come here and are taking jobs away from Americans.
This movie made me angry in so many ways.
I am angry that you do not understand that illegal immigrants are seen negatively by Americans primarily because as illegals they have shown no respect for our country and its laws. They do not respect our laws and systems, why should we respect them?
I am angry that these women do not see the basic truth that simply by coming here illegally, they are criminals. If they have disregarded our laws to come here illegally and see no problem with it, what other laws will they be willing to break ... and they do, based on soaring illegal immigrant crime rates and incarceration?
I am especially angry that employers, including private citizens seeking cheap nannies or maids, hire them illegally and are therefore also criminals. They should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Without their illegal jobs, the illegals would not come. I am angry that my taxes subsidize the children of illegal's education and their free healthcare at the hospital where I work, effectively bankrupting the system and ruining it for Americans and legal immigrants.
I am also angry that according to your update, Judith left her girls yet again in a Guatemalan hellhole. SHe did not return to add to her husbands remittances home, she returned because she could not stand the horrible third world conditions, yet she is willing to consign her daughters to them.
I can tell you that everyone I know who has watched MiA has expressed the same growing anger. If your goal was to assuage our anger by rationalizing the behavior of illegals, you have sorely miscalculated. You may find you have actually hastened the coming backlash and speeded up the cry for harder legislation against and complete deportation of Latin American illegal immigrants.
Great documentary. As a Latina, I can identify with the struggles these women face. Although my life is very different since I was a baby when my family came to the US and so I had many more opportunities.
I am amazed that the African American mother says her son is so important to her, if that were true she would be a full time mom instead of having Telma take her place. You can't have it all, as women it is all about choices and sometimes we choose to put our ambitions and careers first and our children second. We tell ourselves we feel guilty which is true, but if we really did we would put our children first. They grow up so fast, why not be with them through their first stages in life. I also found it ironic that the father said pay your nanny all the money you can afford, because the nanny is taking care of your child. Yet it turns out that Telma said she makes less than $10 an hour....unbeleivable!
I think it is horrible to show lawbreakers in this false rosy glow. These aren't "immigrants", these are lawbreakers. There are legal ways to come here. Each one of these people deliberately chose to disregard American laws and sneak into the theatre rather than standing in line and paying for their ticket like the rest of the people.
I was particularly disgusted by the American mother who wouldn't come home till 8 pm because she put her career above her child. This only puts those who irresponsibly have children whom they refuse to care for in another shining light. Why did she even bother to have the little guy if she had nothing to do with him? It was an appalling show rewarding people for bad behavior.
This was a highly commendable production, very touching and portrayed the plight of three very honest women trying to make their way in a new country with limited English and understanding of the American way of life. I was touched by all of them, the lady from Guatamala, the lady aspiring to be an accountant and Mickey's surrogate mom are true survivors only asking for their chance. I was however most touched by Mickey's caretaker whose heart will break, not to mention his, the day she leaves his side. Mickey's family is truly blessed to have found her to raise him and she has done a wonderful job. I believe Mickey has also taught her alot. Hopefully their relationship will never end.
As I watched the program, I saw myself in Mickey mother's shoes because I am constantly feeling guilty about the way I am raising my kids. I do not spend enough time like I would love to with them because of work and school. I believe that the previous generation of women that did not work had it easy than us. Now a woman is expected to take care of the home and at same time fend for the family. It is extremely difficult to balance both and also difficult to take good care of both adequately.I am impressed with the sacrifices these women, Eva , Thelma, especially Judith and many other women in their shoes are giving to their families. Eva said that success is Preparation that meets with opportunity and she was right. I never thought of it like that but it is something that I will take with me in all that I do and THANKS EVA.
I was touched when Eva's grandmother died and she couldn't travel because she might not be abel to get back into USA. Freedom of movement is one thing that many of us take for granted. This is one of those little insignificant things that we ought to be grateful for. It must be tough for someone to leave their children especially babies behind and so, I applaud Judith for her love and sacrifices to her children.
Thanks PBS, Independent lens and Ms.Prado for this great insight into the lives of these sometimes invisible workers.
From the standpoint of someone who has close relatives which hire latino domestics, I have a slighlty different view. Latino's come to this country for a better life. A life that is just not possible in the environment in which they are born. (I have personally been to parts of Latin America and have seen the poverty first hand.)
True, they do accept low wages becuase many of the people they work for ARE middle class (between 100,000 - 250,000 per anum) and not simply new money makers (>250,000/year) who still pay a hefty tax bill each year. However, if the only jobs they had avialble to them were to work for rich millionaires who could pay them $500 - 1,000 a week, THEY WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO WORK IN THIS COUNTRY AT ALL!
This is the real problem for them. Do I work for low pay and still have the chance to be in America, (to find education and a better job or give birth to a child on American soil)or must I go back home because I have no way to support myself. The woman that I know makes about $300.00 per week working part-time (mornings only). Do you realize what would happen to her if her employer told her..."Well, I just saw this program and it made me think that I am not paying you enough money so I'll just have to let you go! I'm so sorry." This woman would think her boss just went stark raving mad! She would say; Yes, I appreciate your compassion, and if you can give me a raise I certainly will accept it, but, I would like to keep this job, (thank you) because this is money I CAN DEPEND ON! I have been cleaning your house for the last 5 years, you treat me well, and for me, this is money in the bank! EVERYWEEK, come rain or shine. With this money, my children (which are in this country) can have a roof over their head, and food to eat, and clothes to wear to school each day. This job is low stress, low aggrivation and I can depend on what I get here.
And you know what, I live in the noetheast where good domestics are very hard to find. I wish I could afford one too. I'm not syaing that it is a charmed life by any stretch of the imagination! But it IS a trade-off, one that if one is not willing to take, (at least in L.A.) another will. Trust me, when word is out that your are a good, fair, honest employer, there deffinitely is a line that starts in your doorway for work.
I disagree with the media negative depiction of latin american immigration for the simple reason that without the services of the undocumented latin american workers many cities in the U.S like L.A will them find themselves obligated to hire someone to do the same work these people are doing for a higher price, and will find themselves obligated to complying with the employment regulations, as to offer medical insunrance etc..
In many situations its worth it and in many not so worth it. In my case I'm the baby sister of a Latin America domestic worker who worked very hard to pay for the traveling expenses of three brothers, my mom and I. In our family she was not the mother but acted as the head of the household even though that at her early 17 years of age at that time. Now we're all here legally living in the U.S. My sister working field has moved up from being a domestic worker to an enviromental worker at a hospital and curently works in a hospital as a License Nurse Assistant.
I do believe that these organizations can meet their goals as to defend the rights of Latino immigrants workers especially if they partner up with the right group of people that have voice in our governmernt. For showing this film on "Domestic Workers" I will like to thank PBS for giving this space in recognition to our unvoiced group of workers that some how might feel that their job is not worth leaving family behind, but because it has an impact in our american society let me tell you Domestic worker your job is well appreciated by people here and for sure back in your home country too.
A truly poignant series of stories. What a shame many U.S. citizens have grown up without learning of the sacrifices their own families made in coming to this land. Because, reality is, most everyone who came here (including the Native Americans whose ancestors must have walked from Asia) had to leave the familiar, the family, the birthplace in order to arrive here! Being married to an immigrant of a third world nation had made me grateful for the ease in which I find myself today. Is it a vain hope that new immigrants will not become the pompus employers of the next generation of immigrants?
very moving film i wish the ladies' families health and happiness especially Judith. It broke my heart to see how her family lives and I hope that she and her children and husband can move back here to get a better life and place to live. They seem very close. God Bless to them.
After seeing Maid in American, I was pleased that the American public could finally view undocumented workers through eyes other than their own. Most Americans seem to think that these workers as nameless and faceless, without human emotion. Ms. Prado and Mr. Leadingham did a wonderful job displaying the domestic worker as she is, rather than what she may appear to be. If Maid in America has helped these brave and unselfish ladies gain more respect, then all I can say is Good Job.
Wow! Just watched the documentary, to sum it up I'm extremely impressed. Nice job Mrs. Prado. As a docujunky I'd say one of the primary objectives especially in independent ones is to truly reach out and emotionally move your audience. Even though my opinion is biased being that I'm first generation Mexican American , you would still agree with me in saying that this film has not only has reach a point of personal awareness but has hit close to home in my case. This film has smacked close to my heart and has reminded me of how well off I truly am now that my parents have done their part of the deal if you know what I mean (a stepping stone as the film suggest). I would suggest showing this film to anybody who is currently going through hardships and otherwise unmotivated depressed first generation Mexican Americans (hence everybody currently living in the US, yes we are all next generation fill in the blank Americans who may or may not be taking Prozac). It took time to make this film so I agree with Mrs. Prado motto and will quote her on that one for sure "Patience is also a form of action". Continue to amuse and dismay us and you'll soon be another Almodovar but even his stuff is getting old so go above and beyond that and take home el Oscar. Hats off to the rest of the Impacto Films Production crew, that handle the little yet large things that make the story have the icing on the cake.
Roberto Jose J. Erinna
Hi my name is Roberto Jose J. Erinna I'm from Panama (born and raised) I currently live in Somerville, MA and I happen to be in the hospital one day in Boston and I was reading a article in Latina magazine about film producers in the cultura section of Latina magazine and my heart goes out to Anayansi Prado for standing up and letting it be known how had Latinos work hard for a living on little pay for the not so proud jobs today in America. Also for the fact that there are not to many Panamanians in America that have the courage and strength like Anayansi to produce a film "Maid in America". Viva La Panama
Every face on the street has a human story behind it. Tonight, as I watched this pbs film a chill of this realization courseed through me and the faces of the women depicted here would not leave my mind. This film is so touching and needs to be aired a few more times to reach more people.
Recently I have been trying to hire a nanny and talking to women from Mexico etc.
Watching this film was like letting me take a peek at their lives and families which I would not have had a chance to ever ever understand.
I would have just considered the nanny as another employee...but now...I will see her as a strong, hardworking and committed lady ...with a compelling story...of love,sacrifice, family and dreams...which I will want to find out and to be a part of...not just as an employer of a nanny, but as a part of their lives and try my best to help them to realize their American dream..which they deserve!!
I am first generation immigrant and as we move up in life in America we often forget what we had to go through as new immigrants...we should always remember how hard it is and try to help as much as we possibly can. I will try to do the same thing.
Wichita area, Ks.
I did not see this one but am watching "maid in America",thank you for showing this this point of veiw, too many Americans dont realise that people work hard for very little pay or respect. The lack of compassion not just for ilegal immigrants, but the poor in general is rampant. I am thankful that we have freedom of speech so that you are able to show how things are and in doing, helping people see there is a brotherhood of man. We all need to eat, we all see the same sun and stars. We are the world and there is only one people,it is all of us. "God bless us every one" .
Atlantic City, New Jersey
I thank everyone who was involved in bringing this film to life. Very moving. Very humbling. Very revealing. It has stirred up many emotions within me. Thank you so much for putting faces on some of the "undocumented" working people who make so many sacrifices, so many contributions. I wish these strong, dignified women every success in their endeavors to provide for their families while providing vital services to their employers and the U.S./World economies.
Broken Arrow, OK
No, I don't agree with the majority of the media's depiction of Latin American immigration. My grandfather and his family were migrant farm workers. ( A couple of years ago Peter Jennnings hosted a program regarding illegal aliens that stressed without the illegal alien work effort, the Winter Olympics in Utah would not have been possible.) Yes, sacrifice is necessery to get out of poverty. Yes, the Latina domestica organizations can overcome negative media coverage and bias.
The film touch me very deeply, the truth speaks for itself. Lots of people from Mexico and Centro America come to the US to work and send money back home to make a better life for those loved ones they left behind. I want thank you for making this film about these latinas and their struggles and dreams. God bless your soul.
A society that views Latino immigrant laborers in a negative light, needs to turn the light on and see this film. I found it to be an amazing insight into the lives of three woman that represent the masses of immigrants who brave the border & other surmountable obstacles to provide for a better future. We as a civilized society have to look past politics and recognize human plight. My prayers are with Judiths family as she and her family along with thousands in the entire region devastated by hurricane Stan & Wilma.
B. J. FinleyBranch
I found your show "Maid in America" to be one of the most telling stories about the plight of domestic Latina workers shown here in America. I was really moved by the contents. Even though I am not of Latino decent,(I am African American) I was proud to see how the women interviewed have struggled to make a better life for themselves and their families. I thought the establishment of an organization for Latina Maid's in the Los Angeles area was ingenious. So many Americans choose to believe that immigrants who come to this country only want a "hand-out" you and I both know this is not the case. Keep up the good work, and if it's possible to keep us posted on the progress of the women interviewed please do so.
I totally agreed with the first question, the antiimigrants and media has focus on putting down the image of the immigrants who are in this country to have a better life. Most of the time these women need to do the sacrafice of leaving their families behind because they do not have other options to survive poverty. I think these types of documentary help otheres see the true about these people and help them understang why they are here and how valuable they are. I think this type of programs give a positive view of the immigrants.
Thank you for featuring this film. It showed the sacrifice immigrant women go through to live here and immense contribution they give to our communities and lives.
I have recently moved to Woodburn, Oregon which has a majority of Latino citizens as well as Russians. Being a Caucasion family it has taken some time for my children to adjust to being the minority in school. I found myself not being as understanding and compassionate for the Latino community as I had been in the past, but since watching the program aired this evening 'Maid in America', I have a completely different outlook on how hard it is for these Women and how dedicated many of them are to making a better life for their children and families. I am a mother of 5, we live on one income and at times I feel envious of those who may seem to have it better than we do. It was a real eye opener to see the statistics and hardships that so many people around me, probably several of my neighbors, go through just to give there families a chance at a life that I take for granted. It was a very moving episode and should be a requirement for students and parents alike. I definately have a different perspective of life and Latinos after seeing this short film. Thanks for airing it PBS! You have made a huge impact on my life as well as the lives of those around me!
I was extremely excited when I saw this episode. I feel that it is important to depict the every day lives of undocumented latino workers, as hard working individuals who come to the U.S. looking for a better way of life.
Also, I am very interested in learning more about Dynamic Workers LLC as well as CHIRLA. If someone could provide me with some information or a contact number I would appreciate it.
Lalit & Sree
Q - Do you think it�s worth the sacrifice these women make in search of their American dreams? Why or why not?
Comments - Nothing is worth leaving your children behind or living without one's family.But they may have not a choice ! Choices are for people with plenty.The good thing is that they have strong knit families and need not worry abt the well being of the kids
Q - Do you think these organizations can meet their goals in a society that views Latino immigrant laborers in a negative light?
Comments - Yes of course.There has to be a start.It may be a slow process but if we do not even try there is no chance.over a period of time the activities of these orgs will spread awareness among people.
Thanks.The movie was wonderful.Very touching.