“Angy Rivera is special…she has become one of the most visible leaders in a nationwide movement of young people.” — Huffington Post

Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie) premieres Monday, September 21, 2015, at 10 PM on PBS stations.

Angy Rivera had two crucial secrets in her life. The first was that she was an undocumented child living with her mother and siblings in New York City for 19 years. That secret was a constant source of fear: If her immigration status was discovered, she could be deported and her family shattered.

The second secret was more tragic: Rivera had been sexually abused by her stepfather from ages 4 to 8, a secret she eventually revealed and which, in the strange world of immigration law, helped her gain the visa she had always desired.

Director Mikaela Shwer met Rivera, now 24, while the young woman was still undocumented. After the two developed a friendship, Shwer began filming Rivera’s quest to help others living in immigration’s “shadows” and to gain a visa for herself. The result was Shwer’s first full-length documentary.

“Being undocumented isn’t something we can put in the back of our heads. When I wake up, it’s the first thing I think about,” Rivera says early in the film, adding that her secret has even haunted her dreams. This was the only life she had known. When she was 3, her mother, Maria, decided to flee the growing violence and unrest in their native Colombia, selling their possessions for a one-way ticket to New York. The United States was their promised land, but would remain so only if Rivera promised not to tell anyone that she was undocumented.

“With 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. today, there is a renewed focus on how to recognize and systematize this substantial and extremely integrated group operating outside of established government agencies. The disconnect between rhetoric and action has created a sphere of uncertainty for the undocumented community,” says Shwer in a filmmaker statement. “Through Angy and her community, we have witnessed firsthand the all-too-real consequences of being undocumented in the United States. Depression, sexual assault and suicide are just a few of the issues plaguing undocumented youth. Our hope with this film is to make the political personal and create a healthy dialogue on how to support our neighbors and friends in the undocumented community.”

Visit the POV companion site for Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie) to watch the full film online for free for a limited time following the broadcast (starting September 22, 2015), find out what’s happened since the cameras stopped rolling, and download a discussion guide and other viewing resources. Share your thoughts and ask questions by using the hashtag #donttellanyonepov.

For more updates from POV’s 2015 season, subscribe to POV’s documentary blog, like POV on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @povdocs.

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POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.