The Undocumented Lawyer

Lizbeth Mateo is an attorney who swore to uphold the Constitution. She’s also undocumented. When a client takes sanctuary in a church, Lizbeth’s own experience guides their fight for justice.


Los Angeles & Columbus


HBO 2021


Winner, Best Documentary – Boston Short Film Festival

Winner, Rhode Island International Film Festival

DOC NYC Official Selection

Tribeca Film Festival Official Selection

LALIFF Official Selection

Nantucket Film Festival Official Selection

Rhode Island Int’l Film Festival Official Selection

Montclair Film Festival Official Selection


Directors: Zach Ingrasci & Chris Temple

Editor: Lila Place

Producer: Jenna Kelly

Cinematographers: John Pope, Emily Topper

Executive Producers: Brenda Avila-Hanna, Morgan Kays, John Trefry

Associate Producer: Claudia S. Murray

Designer: Katerine Contreras

Directors' Statement

We met Lizbeth in 2017 when a close friend was seeking legal representation in immigration court. We immediately knew Lizbeth wasn’t a typical lawyer — the fight for her clients was personal and impassioned. 

At its core, Lizbeth’s story demonstrates that sometimes it’s necessary to ignore the law in an effort to fix it. Undocumented leaders like Lizbeth and her client Edith are on the front lines risking everything for more equitable immigration law, and the question is, will our communities and elected officials join them in that fight. 

Lizbeth says in the film that: “this country is about giving you the opportunity to actually fight.” We believe she shouldn’t have to fight alone. This film is meant to strengthen Lizbeth’s existing  community of supporters so she can continue to keep families, like Edith’s, from being unjustly separated by an inhumane immigration system.

– Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci