Illegal immigrant actor detained en route to screening of film… about his own immigration

PUBLISHED: 23:32 EST, 8 October 2012–immigration.html

An immigrant actor was captured and held by federal authorities as he made his way to a film festival to watch himself star in a short, ironically based on his immigration journey.

It was quite the twist of fate for Praq Rado, the Albanian actor who stars in ‘Dreaming American’, a short being debuted at the Hamptons Film Festival.

The film is based on his own escape from Albania 11 years ago, where he had been born Prejke Radoina to an ostracised farming family.

Rado stars in ‘Dreaming America’ but was not there for the screening

He arrived in the USA without papers and endured what he describes as years of hardship to gain a place in community college, paying his way through acting school by dancing in a gay bar.

Now Rado’s art appears to have landed him in hot water.

‘Praq Rado is right this minute languishing in a Federal facility in Buffalo awaiting deportation to Albania,’ wrote his supporters on Facebook.

‘Praq Rado’s dreaming American may all be for nothing.’

Rado was stopped on board an Amtrak train on his way to the Hamptons.

Far from the festival screenings he was supposed to attend, speeches he was lined up to make, the 31-year-old remains in police custody.

‘A federal agent took him off a train as he traveled to his screening in East Hampton,’ said Lee Percy, Emmy-winning filmmaker who wrote and directed ‘Dreaming American’.

‘He is being held for deportation even though there is no pending order of removal against him.’

‘Dreaming American’ premiered on Saturday and was played again Monday, the audience lacking the star.

Not this time: Rado poses by a promo poster of his short film, based on his own life

In its 24-minute entirety, it tells the story of Rado’s escape, being thrown from a ship off the Italian coast, where he made his way to shore.

‘Family opposition to the prevailing regime had sharply curtailed his access to education or any sort of meaningful future,’ Percy said in a statement.

‘Even his personal safety was in jeopardy; his father’s death is still shrouded in mystery and political intrigue,.’

He added that Rado dreamed of ‘living without fear of sectarian or political violence.’

Rado has not left the United States since arriving, not even for the funeral of his parents when they died back in Albania, Percy told the East Hampton Patch

He was working in LA, living in New York, and taking the train in between to avoid Homeland Security at airports.

Praq Rado: now in the hands of the authorities

Other than that he would avoid public transport, but was determined to see his film play at the festival.

‘I tried to warn him off, but he was excited,’ Percy said.

‘If he is sent back to Albania, not only will he be separated from his loved ones forever but his now public persona may further endanger his life.

‘Albania may have officially proclaimed support for freedom of ideas, but the everyday possibility of persecution and death remains very common and very real.’

Once paperwork is completed Rado will be sent to a federal detention centre to await a deportation hearing.

His attorneys continue to fight, as do his friends and family, determined to prevent his fate.

Read more:

Immigration Officials Nab Actor on His Way to Hamptons Film Festival


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