As the Santiago family shares an early evening dinner for young muralist MANNY's 18th birthday, Manny's sister MAYA spills the news that her best friends' father has been deported. Their mother MARINA warns her undocumented children to remain silent if questioned by immigration authorities. Manny assures her that they understand their rights as he rushes out the door to complete one of his murals before it gets dark. Marina and Maya do not let him leave, however, before singing him a round of Happy Birthday and giving him a homemade cupcake.
Passing through his housing project yard Manny sees that the mural he painted has been tagged. Frustrated, he hands his cupcake to a little girl neighbor playing with her grandmother MYEONG nearby. Manny scrubs off the tag when pizza delivery guy AHMED passes by and compliments the mural. Myeong gathers her granddaughter to head to work.
Manny finally gets to his work - his next mural in downtown LA. He makes his final touches and signs his name on the mural when the police encroach and accuse him of tagging the outdoor painting. The police thrust the bewildered Manny into the back of their car.
Meanwhile Myeong is just starting her shift at the garment factory. She shares with co-worker JIN-KYONG her worries that her autistic granddaughter is having trouble adjusting to her new school. Ahmed arrives at this factory to deliver a pizza. The factory receptionist points him to a staff meeting in another area of the building where he'll find the customer who ordered it. When Ahmed finds the meeting, however, instead of finding his customer he discovers in horror that he has walked into a setup for an immigration raid, a raid that Myeong is already caught up in.
Things are not going well for Manny either. ICE OFFICER MICHAELS arrives at the local holding cell, informing Manny that he was ordered removed back in 2008 due to his undocumented immigration status and that his name came up in the "gang database." Manny insists that he was 9 years old in 2008, unaware of any pending deportation, and certainly not a part of any gang. When he refuses to sign a voluntary departure Manny is sent into detention, where Ahmed and Myeong are unfortunately also heading.
In detention Myeong convinces ICE officers that she must get home as the only caretaker to her autistic grandchild. They grant Myeong a humanitarian release by strapping a painful electric monitor to her ankle. Myeong is grateful to be going home but feels criminalized and humiliated.
In the prison yard Manny tells Ahmed that his lawyer SARA GARCIA has found a way to get him a bond for his release. He urges Ahmed to seek her help which he does reluctantly. Sara explains that he may be eligible for a U Visa as he was a victim of a crime as a child. In court JUDGE AARON informs Ahmed and Sara that she will grant them sufficient time to build a case for a U-Visa application but Ahmed is devastated to learn that he won't be released for at least another several months. Sara suggests that he focus on the fact that he has an avenue to remain in the country and that it's good news to receive on the day that also happens to be his birthday.
A discouraged Ahmed stews in his dark cell that night when he hears the faint sounds of singing outside. He looks out his window to find a throng of activists and their families singing Happy Birthday to him. Ahmed cries and thanks God, discovering that people are indeed fighting for him and that he is not alone after all.