the Cortes family from 120 Days


Hello, this is Ted Roach, the director and producer of the documentary, "120 Days." I am trying to raise money to directly help Miguel and Maria Luisa Cortes rebuild their lives and educate their daughters back in Mexico.

If you've seen the film, you know that the Corteses are the family of focus. They were a hard-working, productive, immigrant family living in Raleigh, NC before being split up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement a few years ago. More info on the situation and film at:

Since I started this campaign in 2015, with your help and support of over $20,000 to date, we have now renovated their house in Morelia, installed security fences, updated their appliances, and we have funded Saydrel’s college education! She is on track to graduate later this year (2018). The money you have donated has also helped cover eye surgery for Yael, physical therapy for Maria Luisa’s hip, and kept food on the table as Miguel searched for work. He now has a full time job at a factory in Tijuana. Yael is also currently working in the same factory where they produce luxury leather seat covers, and they both work 10-12 hours per day. Yael has written a letter to you all with more detail which I will post as an update later today.

After talking with the family, we have developed a new set of goals for your continued support in 2018. Yael has recently been accepted into the University of Morelia for film and computer animation studies. She needs help with tuition, housing, a laptop, and some camera equipment at a later date. She has also been accepted to another school in Tijuana for the same degree and is currently trying to decide which is more practical for her situation. Maria Luisa is considering hip replacement surgery at her doctor’s recommendation. This is an old injury that has restricted her movement for years.

For these very worthwhile pursuits, and emergency support when needed, I have raised our overall contribution goals to $50,000 to meet these needs. Your hard-earned money will all go directly to the Corteses, except for the GoFundMe fee which is about 6%.

After spending 4 months with the family and documenting their last days together in the States, I feel very strongly that these people did not deserve to be first torn apart, then forced back to the country they fled over a decade ago. Once I got to know the Corteses and understood why they tried to make a life in the US for their daughters, it reminded me of the same reasons that brought my own Irish forefathers over generations ago.

Miguel and Maria Luisa are ineligible for any legal way to come back to the US where their girls were raised and educated. There is no "line to get into," so the only legal course of action is to help them try to achieve their shattered American dreams back in their home country of Mexico. I want them to have hope and opportunities, both of which are currently hard for them to find. And I personally want to see them rewarded for being courageous enough to stand up and show us all what it means to be undocumented immigrants in the United States today, at great risk to themselves and their extended family.

The Corteses and I would be very thankful for any donations you feel able to contribute. I will continue to post updates and new photos throughout this fundraising effort because I want you to see the money being put to good use. Your help is greatly appreciated, and will honestly give one loving, tight-knit family hope for a better future.

Thanks for your time and consideration, and please email me if you have any questions.

Best regards,
Ted Roach

PS- A few recent pics of Yael and Miguel in the factory (see the updates for other pics throughout the last 3 years):

Donations (0)

  • Connie Lindbeck 
    • $100 
    • 14 d
  • Glenn McNutt 
    • $50 
    • 23 d
  • Kelley Knox 
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Raul Cabrera 
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Robert Barnett 
    • $25 
    • 2 mos


Ted Roach 
Durham, NC
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