Welcome

By Serena Dykman | Drama
A Czech woman is held at U.S. Immigration, the day her boyfriend plans to propose to her.

Filmmaker Serena Dykman tells the story of Anna Beijer, a young Czech doctor returning to New York after a humanitarian trip to Uganda.

As she passes through U.S. Immigration, a customs officer pulls her into a room for questioning. She says she’s back to start a new job at the children’s hospital after working with children at a refugee camp.

The officers are suspicious. Meanwhile, her boyfriend Aaron waits for her arrival outside.

Anna sits patiently, watching as the officers handle each immigrant in a condescending tone.

When her name is called, they grill her in the same manner. She calmly answers each question, unfazed.

With each passing minute, though, Aaron grows increasingly worried. He has bought flowers, hired a driver and an quartet to propose on the day of their 4-year anniversary. But Anna hasn’t arrived and isn’t picking up her phone.

The officers catch Anna on a technicality — she started work for an American company in Uganda a few days before her visa took effect.

She explains the company had mistakenly told her that working overseas wouldn’t affect her immigration, but the officers are unforgiving.

Even when Anna offers help an old Czech woman, the officers remain cold, following the letter of the law.

Aaron, meanwhile, grows frustrated. The driver and quartet leave, despite his efforts to pay them for their time. With his proposal plans in ruins, he runs into the airport searching for Anna.

Meanwhile, the officers tell Anna she won’t be allowed in the country, stating that she had worked and stayed illegally in the past. She pleads her case, saying she’s been a resident for eight years, her hospital will sponsor her visa and she’s spent $300,000 on education. But the officer refuses to budge — even when she asks for a lawyer.

He tells she doesn’t have any rights at immigration checkpoints and she’ll be sent back to the Czech Republic to sort out her immigration issue.

Anna keeps pushing until she’s told she won’t likely be able to return for five years.

As the devastation sets in, she calls Aaron. But before she can tell him she’s being sent back, he asks her to marry him.




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