The characters in 72 Miles to Go… make up a family that has been heavily affected by United States immigration policy. The ripple effects of Anita’s original decision to cross the border illegally reverberate throughout the play and impact each character in distinct and costly ways.

Triney Sandoval BILLY

Billy is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church, a non-scriptural religion that was founded in 1793. The Unitarian Church welcomes people of all beliefs and backgrounds and works towards promoting peace, liberty, and justice through religious community. The Unitarian values of equity and compassion have shaped Billy’s parenting style: he offers to talk to Eva about alcohol and birth control and tries to help Aaron process his time in the military, crediting Unitarianism for his open-mindedness. There are a number of Unitarian groups, such as No Mas Muertes (No More Deaths), that provide water and other types of aid to migrants making the dangerous journey across the desert, as dehydration and exposure are the cause of most of the deaths during border crossings. Billy first met Anita while doing a water run in the desert with his church.

CHRISTIAN Bobby Moreno

Christian, who was born in Mexico and came to the United States with his mother as a young child, is exactly the type of individual for whom DACA— a program for “unlawfully present” minors who were brought into the United States before their 16th birthday—could benefit. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a kind of administrative relief from deportation that gives young undocumented immigrants protection from removal—and the ability to work during their protected time in the United States. Although DACA provides lawful status, it does not provide a pathway to citizenship and expires after two years (subject to renewal). DACA also comes with significant eligibility conditions, requiring applicants to be in school, to have lived continuously in the country since 2007, and to have a clean criminal record.


Maria Elena Ramirez ANITA

Anita, a Mexican woman who crossed the border with her young son Christian in search of a new life, has been deported to Nogales, where she is staying in a women’s shelter. Anita’s journey sheds light on the realities of thousands of people in the United States who have made this country their home—and even created families here—but are legally out of status. If one has entered the United States without inspection two or more times and stayed in the U.S. unlawfully for more than a year, or if one was removed from the U.S. and came back without inspection, one may be permanently “inadmissible,” regardless of one’s American family or connections. Anita’s multiple attempts at unlawful entry mean that she is out of status despite her marriage to Billy, with no ability to reapply for status for at least ten years.

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