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You can tell a number of things by just looking at someone: hair and eye color, approximate height, gender, etc. Whether a person possesses a particular legal document may not be so obvious—even to the police officers of Prince William County, Va., who since 2007 have been required under a local ordinance to inquire into the immigration status of any detained individual suspected of being in the country illegally. The law ignited a heated debate between neighbors with different visions for their county. Filmmakers Annabel Park and Eric Byler recorded community members’ emotional reactions and shared short clips on YouTube before compiling the feature-length documentary 9500 Liberty. Park and Byler deftly present their subjects in the suburbs of Northern Virginia as more than the clichéd caricatures routinely seen in the immigration debate. And with Hollywood taking note—see Robert DeNiro’s snide remarks about deportation at last Sunday’s Golden Globes—it may not be too long before 9500 Liberty, like the issues surrounding immigration itself, becomes the center of a national dialogue.
9500 LIBERTY SCREENS AT 7:30 P.M. AT SIXTH & I HISTORIC SYNAGOGUE, 600 I ST. NW. FREE. (202) 408-3100.