Immigration Officials Nab Actor on His Way to Hamptons Film Festival

Friends, attorneys are trying to stop Praq Rado's deportation back to Albania after trip to East Hampton proves too risky.

In an ironic twist of fate, an actor on his way to the Hamptons International Film Festival to see a film about his immigration journey was picked up by federal immigration officials.

Customs and Border Protection agents took Praq Rado, a 31-year-old Albanian-born actor who has lived in America for 11 years without documentation, into custody on Thursday while he was on board an Amtrak train in Buffalo, the agency confirmed on Sunday afternoon.

"Dreaming American," a short narrative based on Rado's life, makes its East Coast premiere during the film festival at the East Hampton movie theater on Monday at 8 p.m. He was due to speak at the festival headquarters at c/o the Maidstone on Sunday afternoon.

Lee Percy, who wrote and directed "Dreaming American," confirmed Rado was traveling to East Hampton for the screening.

Rado is the lead actor in the 24-minute film that tells the story of his immigration journey, including how he escaped from Albania, without papers. He was thrown overboard from a ship off the Italian coast and made his way to shore.

"Family opposition to the prevailing regime had sharply curtailed his access to education or any sort of meaningful future. Even his personal safety was in jeopardy; his father's death is still shrouded in mystery and political intrigue," Percy said in a statement, adding that Rado dreamed of "living without fear of sectarian or political violence."

In America, he struggled to survive and find work without a Social Security number, taking jobs as a go-go dancer at a gay bar in the East Village, Percy said by phone on Sunday. He ended up becoming a successful model and transitioned to acting.

Percy, an award-winning editor who worked on "Salt," which stars Angelina Jolie, met Rado at an industry party. Rado was working at as a caterer and pitched his life story as a film. Barbet Schroeder produced the film.

"I thought it was moving," Percy said of his story. "People always have an image of illegal immigration," he said. "He's a very determined, very hardworking, very good long fellow. Let's take this one face ... and perhaps give people a different attitude when they think of immigration."

Lead Border Patrol Agent Michael Scioli said that Rado — whose given name is Preke Radoina — first illegally entered the country in Detroit in 2001. By 2007, immigration officials issued an order to remove him, he said.

According to Percy, Rado was never deported.

Rado, who has been working in Los Angeles but lives in New York, has not left the country since arriving, even though both of his parents died back in Albania, Percy said. He has to travel by train to avoid Homeland Security at airports, but was determined to come to East Hampton to see his film.

"I tried to warn him off, but he was excited about this festival," Percy said.

While Scioli did not detail how authorities found out Rado was on the train, he said it is common for them to board a train and ask for documentation.

After Customs and Border Protection have completed paperwork in Buffalo, Rado will be sent to a federal detention center to await a deportation hearing, Scioli 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," Percy said. "Albania may have officially proclaimed support for freedom of ideas, but the everyday possibility of persecution and death remains very common and very real."

His attorneys are fighting his deportation, asking that his petition to re-open his case can be heard. "Praq Rado’s dreaming American may all be for nothing," he said.

Victor Balchunas October 09, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Id like to get something straight. This bullshit that "THEY" do work that Americans won't is just that, BULLSHIT!!!! Some idiot made up that line and everyone likes to use it but its a LIE. Dont just ask people working on the farms, ask all of us in the trades. I dont know any out of work tradesmen that arent willing and ready to work. BTW this myth about them working for slave wages is a crock. Add up what they get paid, then they dont pay any taxes and get all kinds of perks that are supposed to be for needy citizens and they all of a sudden are making 25 to 30 dollars per hr. There should be NO argument, Illegal means against the law. For those of you that arent directly effected consider me coming into your home unwelcome and not only wont the law remove me from your home , but the gov't is going to make you stock the frij with my favorites and make you subscribe to cablevision channels that I prefer, and YOU have to pay for it...
Charles Clampet October 09, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I guess he won't get popcorn and a soda? He had enough time to get his ducks in a row. He has been here for over 11 years, he could have hired an Attorney. We are all immigrants, not unless you are an Native Indian of North America. Believe nothing of what you hear, and maybe half of what you see. Does anyone really trust the United States Government,National ,Federal or Local? If so ....GREAT! Now all you really have to do is ask an Native American Indian if they trust The United States Government !! So ask yourself who lived in USA first?
Brenda October 10, 2012 at 02:06 AM
he is Albanian not Mexican or Latino. Everyone else is fair game, so they can say they are deporting Illegals.
Brenda October 10, 2012 at 02:09 AM
yeap, you nailed it.
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Bob FraSer, how many crimes have you committed? if there were police doing their job,you might not have gotten away w/ changing yr name to an Anglo one just to get a driver's license. Did you get yr driver's license under "Bob Fraser?" you sound illegal.
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Joey, these Latino haters are not Christian, do don't try to convert them with Bible stuf Bob Fraser, great idea if you want to not become blind. They're all thieves, criminal, illegals 7x over. ralebird, Jesus said do not go over 55mph on the LIE. Do you believe in Jesus or not? Jeesh!
Preliator October 10, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Oh look, the crazy train just pulled into the station. Where have you been Mo?
capecodjim October 10, 2012 at 04:09 PM
If there's no reason to suspect someone has broken a law they should be left alone. You, me, the next guy.... I'm not for illegal aliens but I am for our basic right to not be harassed by the gov't for no reason. I don't buy the "in the name of security" BS or the "keep the kids safe" mentality. These are gestapo tactics.
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Gail lies. There are not 100s of illegals in front of any 7-11 on LI.. Did you get eyeballed? Where in your person did they put their eyeball? How did you tell if it's an illegal eyeball? Bob Fraser, We have had many instances of US government deportation of Mexicans. In 1908 they rounded up hundreds of Mexicans & Mexican-Americans & marched them to a prison camp on the border. Pres. Wilson dispatched a young aide, Felix Frankfurter , to go to the camp to see if conditions were as bad as reported in the Herald Tribune. In 1913-to 1917 there were full trains packed with immigrants put on board from Detroit. We've had several periods of harsh progroms, as in 1920s when a young ambitious government bureaucrat began to make a name for himself rounding up "illegals, subversives & unwanted." He would later become the head of the FBI & now known to have gay sex parties in the Plaza Hotel with his lifelong aide & another friend, Cardinal Spellman, in attendance. In the 1950s they had a severe progrom of persecution & deportation. See Woody Guthry's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deportee_(Plane_Wreck_at_Los_Gatos) The progroms against immigrants were most severe during the middle of th 19th C, with the American Patriot Party, aka, the Know Nothings who took over several state legislatures when the anti-immigrant hysteria was so widespread. The KKs, largest,successful 3rd party in American history. They were known for assaults, lynchings, murder of immigrants, esp Irish animals
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 04:37 PM
True Kerrie, several Irish fellows have stood in front the local train station, but I never saw one do a jig. I did see a guy dance with his husband in LI, LI my home town. They were break dancing to the delight of onlookers.
Preliator October 10, 2012 at 04:41 PM
*ding* ...my popcorn is done. Please Mo, elaborate some more about the KKs (Krispy Kremes?).
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 04:53 PM
yeah Trungo, (Is that an American name?) O they just don't hate the Latinos like the good Christian people on this thread. They love immigrants, the Obama people. A good Christian might make you think that the history of the U.S. is a history of immigration. What an inconvenient truth for the haters born here whose legacy most certainly includes immigrants, no matter how many generations ago. When the Europeans arrived in my town in LI, the native born (the Montaukets) welcomed them & saved them from malnutrition & starvation. They soon became despised by the Europeans who considered them alien savages. Not Christian. No compunction to follow their laws & customs. Ah, soon there will be Thanksgiving to celebrate the native people who welcomed Euros, fed & protected them. Even gave them land & had their land confiscated by the "illegals."
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Like nonsense, Surfer! The demographers do know very accurately within small margin of error. 500,000 immigrants on LI, of whom 70, to 80,000 are out of status with Immigration rules. You can telephone the Suffolk Co Dept of Statistics to get the very latest info, if that would ever even matter to you. Without immigrants our entire economy would come crashing down. I am very thankful they are here & hope they remain for they are a great deal more productive than any of us here.
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 05:03 PM
McCormack, that is a very sad fact. We should end the deportations which have historically been a great shame upon our nation.
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Sheesh, what a conspiracy
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Steven, somewhat correct, but it is also very middle class people who hire them to work at their homes. Middle class people can't afford the $45.-60. an hr to have someone mow their lawn, trim hedges, baby sit. They can't pay $60. per hour to have a painter come in. The entire lives we lead on LI, as elsewhere, is quite dependent on immigrant labor. Immigrants have kept a floor on the housing market, buying up foreclosed & low end housing.
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 05:15 PM
You better not get sick Vito, 3/4 of skilled medical personnel on LI are immigrants.
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 05:16 PM
stupid, most people here out of status are those who overstayed their visa
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 05:26 PM
No, you see right here, indisputably, that people's animus is against Latinos. They have even shown some decency to European immigrants, like the fellow in this article from Albania. For the nearly 40 yrs I've lived here, the East End is overrun every summer by young Irish.. People loved them. They were not like the American clerk or waiter or...they were lovely, nice, smiled, spoke English with a favored accent. Nobody but nobody complained they were taking jobs from native born.
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 05:28 PM
agreed Fran
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM
"So get them out and then the Legal American families can teach their children to WORK for the Money instead of Parents giving them everything they want..." Leslie, There is hardly the time, personnel, resources, esp money, to do a little operation of purifying the nation for just citizens. Our nation would have to devote all of its energy & money to deport those out of status. It would be very, very hard for our nation to model our society on the Nazi example of rounding up people in the middle of the night to be put in detention to be deported. Yes, Nazis were good Christians who believed in racial superiority & elevating the gene pool by eliminating the insane, commies, the handicapped, gays & even the very, very few Germans who did not go along with their brutality.
Mo Neill October 10, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Victor, Screaming does not a truth reveal. Contractors, both native born & immigrants, do hire people out of status. Many do not pay taxes, but still deduct FICA. Some tradesmen in my town are pissed off too, they have a little competition, The guys that used to crew for the contractors are not stupid & know, e.g., the landscaper charges $45. an hr for those in his employ, but pay out $15. an hr to the immigrant & often pocket the deductions they should pay Uncle Sam. Gosh, I just don't think any good red-blooded contractor would even dream of cheating Uncle Sam. It is the law the employer must pay 1/2 the FICA deduction. I have a long time friendship with a guy in town who has become rich running 3 crews of house painters. All are Latinos. He tolld me he cleared $500,000. for the year (5 yrs ago.) He doesn't pay taxes for his workers & very little for himself, even though he was born here & his famous (in some circles) father is a multi-multi-millionaire artist, who sells his pieces in the $90,000 to $100,000. range, except for large pieces.. More than 1/2 the jobs I've had were "off the books" So keep bullshitting yourself. It takes little money to become a contractor & people learn on the job just what is the deal.
Jaguar-Guy October 10, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Mo Neill !!! I just wrote yesterday that I missed seeing your posts. Welcome back - you have been gone too long. Hope all is well, take care. I hope you see I ONLY write "out of status" as per your suggestion. Be good.
Jaguar-Guy October 10, 2012 at 06:07 PM
It bothers me that many "out of status" folks claim the child deduction when they file a tax return ONLY to get the money - simultaneously not claiming any income made. So, they file the return only to get money to which they are not rightfully entitled. Many immigrants from many different countries - no specific nationality. We need to close that loophole. Good to read you again Mo.
Victor Balchunas October 10, 2012 at 08:46 PM
OK MO!!! So what your saying is that since YOU have worked off the books and are a big fat TAX cheat like most of Obama;s friends then its ok that these illegals are doing it. I gues birds of a feather flock together. The one thing you are overlooking is that you would wind up in jail for not paying taxes. the illegals wont!! Then all of a sudden I will hear your tune change about was fair. You are the only one who has bullshitted themselves to believe you even have a say after you just openly admitted you are a tax cheat
Surfprotector October 11, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Obviously, this MO has her little agenda. She does not want to hear ..that our country has rules and regulations pertaining to LEGAL IMMIGRATION...because we are a country of limited resources and we can not take care of millions of people who come here illegally. Then...she loves to think that when someone promotes LEGAL IMMIGRATION....they are being biased....great logic,Huh? I am sure that all of us..could care less about the country or ethnicity of the law breaker....enter our country illegally...I don't care if your Norwegian,Latino, Martian..if you are here illegally....you should be arrested and deported.
Jaguar-Guy October 12, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Wow Mo, THAT is one WHOPPER your puttin out there for us. So, MOST had Visa's but overstayed ?? Than why not re-apply, hire a lawyer over this most simple and innocent of mistakes - whoopsies - I over-stayed my Visa, let's fix that right away. I think Mo, that if MOST had only over-stayed, they would have resolved their situations ASAP - and not lurked around here "illegally" past the lawfully permitted time. They should have gone home and gotten another Visa, applied for an extension, H-1, "unique job or talent they have that makes them uniquely qualified to stay", etc. You surely spout that you know everything Latino - but don't think they knew their Visa expired but it just slipped. Ok, it slipped, like you trying to slip us a "Mickey Finn" with that one girl.
Balance October 13, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Notice how no one responds to the question of native americans? Euros were the first illegal immigrants and we decimated the indegenous population, we won so the rest of yall are illegals now...we enslaved africans for 500 years but its ok cause we gave you rights 45yrs ago...and obama should have to show his birth certificate to make sure hes not an illegal, cause you know all white folks n america are natural citizens just by lookin at em....oh and mitt pays 14% tax and has offshore accounts and bush's buddies made billions off 9/11 but obamas the one wit rich buddies screwing america, but its ok to let the poor die off in the name of capitalism cause pretty soon even mcdonalds will be automated and we wont need any of you illegal or otherwise......our incredibly short selective memories help us sleep at night and our blind selfish dedication to ourselves makes it easy to applaud ourselves for our humanitarian efforts regarding all ethnicites as long as those interest are profitable, and anybody that disagrees is not only unpatriotic but probably a terrorist...
Victor Balchunas October 13, 2012 at 03:09 PM
No one is responding to you because you are babbling
tim kurti October 13, 2012 at 04:01 PM
tim kurti - i love passion on all your comments and i think it's gonna be a great material included jail time , for movie number 2 " Dreaming American" with Praq Rado !!!!!!!!!!!!


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