Study Guide Lesson 2

DVD Feature: Shadow Play
Chapter 2: El Otro Emilio


Immigration Themes: Xenophobia, Domestic Violence, Legal rights of Undocumented Immigrants, Legal rights of Undocumented Women, Human Rights Violations (Civil Rights of Immigrants), Effect of Deportation on Families

General Themes: Emotions (Trauma/ Fear/ Isolation/ Security), Personal Narrative, Flashback, Oral History, Metaphor

Arts Expression: Flyer or Brochure design, Community Arts Activism, Community Interviews, Audio/Video Media Campaign 

Civil Liberties: Civil liberties are civil rights and freedoms that provide an individual with specific rights. Though the scope of the term differs amongst various countries, some examples of civil liberties include the freedom from slavery and forced labor, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, freedom of conscience, religion, expression, press, assembly and association, speech, the right to privacy, the right to equal treatment and due process and the right to a fair trial.  []

Domestic Violence: Any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another can constitute domestic violence. []

Interloper: A person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong. [Google dictionary]

‘La Migra’: The Mexican term referring to officers of the U.S. Border Patrol who sought to arrest and deport illegal aliens. []

Xenophobia: An intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries or strangers; fear of that which is foreign or strange. []

Undocumented Immigrant (noun) Refers to foreign nationals residing in the U.S. without legal immigration status. It includes persons who entered the U.S. without inspection and proper permission from the U.S. government, and those who entered with a legal visa that is no longer valid. Undocumented immigrants are also known as unauthorized immigrants. []

Everyone at one point or another has felt left out or been made to feel different, in social circles or in a larger societal context. This lesson addresses student’s personal stories of feeling rejected or isolated, where their right to be their unique selves, was violated and not honored. This concept is extended to discuss how some immigration policies can lead to human rights violations.    

●      ‘El Otro Emilio’ Video of Play
●      ‘El Otro Emilio’ Documentary Film Segment (optional)
●      Whiteboard and markers
●      Computers with Internet for research


Post the following prompt:

“We have all been made to feel different and have been left out of a group because of that difference at one point or another in our lives. Think of a time when someone else made you feel like you didn’t belong, or that you were different and therefore, unwelcome. Did anyone stand up to defend or protect you?” 

You may choose to mention to students that this pressure may have come from friends, family, teachers, or even the media (TV shows, advertisements, Facebook, etc.) 

Share the definition of ‘interloper’ with students. Briefly discuss its meaning with the group as a lead in to the following activity.


Write for 5 minutes answering the following questions. You may post them for students to refer to as they write. State that the private written reflections will not be shared with the group unless the author chooses to do so.

“What was it like to be made to feel different and be left out of a group because of that difference? How did you cope with this experience?”

Offer the opportunity for two or three students to share.


‘El Otro Emilio’


Invite students to share what they notice, and what they wonder about the story in the film. Be sure the group understands the general premise of the stage play, and that it is based on a true story. It’s not clear in the story why the two men are crossing the US/ Mexico border, but consider briefly reviewing the various reasons why people cross that border into the US today. (See “The Monster of Puente Negro” Lesson 3 for resources)


List all characters in the story on the board with the group: Emilio Rodriguez, Lucero, Ana Maria, Emilio Santiago, Immigration Police Officers, and leave space next to each character for notes. 

Facilitate a discussion using the following questions as prompts.

a) Which of the characters are interlopers in this story? Explain why. [Consider reviewing all vocabulary terms and discussing their significance to the story. Students may argue that every character, with the exception of the officers, is an interloper; that Ana Maria can be seen as an interloper in her marriage because she is unable to have children and her husband rejects her.]

b) Besides undocumented immigrants, are there any other groups of people, either in your local community or in the larger community, which you’ve observed as having been made to feel unwelcome or unwanted? What are the reasons they are “pushed out” or ostracized? 

c) Where do the messages come from of who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for a community (who is welcome and who is not)? What are some ways we may respond to these messages in our daily lives and broader communities in an effort to build a more just and inclusive society?


There are a number of American laws and proposals that affect undocumented immigrants today. Have students work in 6 groups to research the following legislation and proposals and create a detailed summary of perspectives of those for or against the law or proposal. Here are basic summaries to get them started.

AB540 (2001): California Assembly Bill 540 allows undocumented youth to pay in-state tuition at California public universities.

California Dream Act (2011): AKA AB 130 and AB131; allows undocumented California students to access private and public scholarships and financial aid

Federal Dream Act: A pending bill that would provide undocumented youth a pathway to legalize their status as citizens of the United States

Violence Against Women Act: In 2012, for the first time since the Violence Against Women Act's inception, Congress failed to re-authorize the law because the Republican-dominated House objected to equal protection for gay men and lesbians, Native Americans living on reservations and undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence. The act already covers heterosexual men. 

Secure Communities (Federal; 2008): A program that relies on partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies by allowing police to share fingerprints of detained individuals. Declared “optional” in California by CA Attorney General Kamal Harris in 2012.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA; 2012): An executive order by President Obama that allows for a two-year deportation reprieve for youth who have entered the country before 16 years old, are under the age of 30 and have lived in the country for five years. According to the Pew Research Center, this applies to approximately 1.5 million of an estimated 11.9 million undocumented immigrants.


With the detailed summaries of perspectives for or against the law or proposal they represent, invite students to present the conflicting views by engaging in a debate around each topic. This can be an extensive debate that students prepare for on every topic, or it can be around one or two of the laws or legislation.


Based on student interest, choose one of the following projects to wrap up and demonstrate learning:

  • Design flyers or pamphlets advocating for or against the law or proposal you and your group researched. Distribute this flyer around school or in your community. Connect with an organization that is advocating for that perspective, offer to volunteer in support of their work and/ or share your work with them. Some pro immigrant organizations to research are ACLU (, Todos Somos Arizona (, and Somos un Pueblo Unido ( A list of national Dream Act organizations can be found here: Remember to look up anti-immigrant organizations as well to fully understand all perspectives on the issue.
  • Take action! Write to The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights to see what you can do to support the rights of immigrant women.   
  • There are many stereotypes about immigrants in the media. Interview students and teachers in your community and collect as many negative and positive stereotypes made about undocumented immigrants. Make your own media campaign addressing these stereotypes using audio or video and post it online.