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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: TONY PLANA - ACTOR

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Tony Plana is the Cuban-born actor who plays Ignacio Suarez on the hit ABC sitcom Ugly Betty. Suarez has had a long and distinguished career on stage and screen. His role on Ugly Betty has a particular significance to this forum because his character, Betty's father, is an unauthorized immigrant from Mexico and his immigration problems have been an important part of the show's storyline. Ignacio Suarez represents one of the twelve million here without status and the creators of the show have done a tremendous service by humanizing their plight. Ignacio is not a criminal or someone simply out to steal a job from an American. He's a good man who works hard and tries to pass on good values to his children and grandchild. The antis have done everything they can to paint unauthorized immigants as a collective "other" who warrant  no sympathy. But when Ignacio is arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and later deported, the audience of this top-rated show got to see just how much pain it caused the family. No other prime time show on a major television network has, to my knowledge, addressed this issue before in such depth and for that Mr. Plana should take some pride in doing more for the cause of the unauthorized immigrant than almost anyone else in the country.

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  1. Teri's Avatar
    Corrections need to made in your blog. Tony Plana is portraying Ignacio Suarez, not Hector. Plus, Tony Plaza has had a long and distinguished career on stage and screen, not Suarez.
  2. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    You're correct. Right character- wrong given name. I'll correct.
  3. Kayra Contreras's Avatar
    Hola!

    I am an intern for of La Plaza, the Latino production unit at WGBH/Boston. We have a new video blog with Tony Plana from Ugly Betty. Check it out!

    Link-- http://lp.thecolorline.org/posts/tony_plana_immigration#

  4. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Thanks Kayra. I enjoyed the interview.
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