Documentary tells story of the deadly side of illegal immigration

Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@mu.edu

Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@mu.edu

Marco Williams, a widely acclaimed film director, highlighted the emotional struggles faced by undocumented immigrants and their families in his new film “The Undocumented,” which he showed in Johnston Hall on Monday night.

“The Undocumented” tells the story of those who cross over the American border to find work due to tense financial situations in Mexico. The documentary  uses powerful images to humanize the fact that 2,500 human remains have been found since 1998 along the Arizona border.

“I am profoundly impacted by the human rights crisis taking place along our border,” Williams said, discussing what he sees as a key piece of the immigration debate that is not displayed in the media narrative.

It follows the work of several organizations, both humanitarian and government, as they do their best to help those who survive the crossing and identify the remains of those who do not so the families can have closure.

The movie is relevant given the recent spike in debate surrounding the American immigration policy. One of the first official actions taken by the newly elected Congress was a bipartisan effort to make serious and necessary changes to the current system of immigration.

The documentary also discusses how American policies dating back to the 90s have led to a spike in casualties as individuals are forced into much rougher and far more dangerous terrain while attempting to cross the border.

Karma R. Chávez, an assistant professor in the department of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the modern political and social movement to ‘secure the borders’ has exacerbated the situation for all those involved on both the American and Mexican side of the border.

“So-called border security has only made border communities unsafe, and furthermore, it has led to record numbers of deaths for people crossing as they continue to be pushed into remote parts of the Arizona desert,” she said.

There are also student driven-efforts to relate the immigration discussion back to Marquette. Youth Empowered in the Struggle is a student group working to try and raise awareness for those impacted by immigration laws.

“The discussions surrounding immigration reform are a huge step forward because it is long overdue, but the plan put forth by the president and the senate is still a sad excuse for reform,” said Francisca Meráz, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences who is a member of the group.

Meráz said she supports reforms that would help protect workers’ rights and create a simple and direct path to allow those already living here to gain citizenship.

Chávez said immigration talks, while somewhat encouraging, are still in the political theater stage, which makes it difficult to know if real reform will be possible.

“Above anything else, and in terms of realistic policy, we need a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented people that is not contingent on militarizing the border,” Chávez said.

Meráz said that many of the current laws have negative effects on the immigrant communities who are impacted by them, often dehumanizing large populations.

“Anti-immigrant laws…make it a point to strip the humanity out of the immigrant community, shaming all of us as criminals and  ‘illegals’,” she said.

Williams said that while the political debate surrounding comprehensive immigration reform has been constant for the past few years, the story of the dead bodies in the Sonoran Desert is often left unsaid.

“The deaths are invisible,” he said.

 

 

 

 

  • Bard Groupie

    I would suggest you leave your comments to yourself until you have actually seen the documentary. I have just watched it and sought out information about it online and found your useless comments. I don’t watch movies, just documentaries and I have seen so many I can’t count. However, today I have been so moved by this particular documentary that need to be involved in finding a solution and I don’t even live in America, I’m Canadian.

    Tell me this, how would it be if there were 200-300 unidentified Canadian bodies in a couple of huge freezer boxes in North Dakota. Just that one place, there may be hundreds more in other places near the thousands of miles of border between Canada and the U.S. Also, it would be a fair guess that there were hundreds of more Canadian bodies out there not found yet. All to be named John Doe or Jane Doe until enough clues come together that they can identify the remains which isn’t likely. Now tell me this, would this not be national news, International news, would it not be on the front page of newspapers around the world? There would be emergency meetings with heads of state, etc etc etc. Well why is it that the population south of the U.S. can not be considered with the same care and outrage? We are the same humans, occupying the same planet. The only difference being that I can see is that the population south of you is often poverty stricken and willing to do jobs that Americans won’t do just to feed their families back home. Fortunately in Canada we don’t have that level of poverty. We have poverty but not anywhere near that level. Come on America, admit it, you have typecast these humans and its all based on prejudices. You certainly wouldn’t get away with treating your Northern neighbours like that.

    You have a big problem down south and its called murder. Perhaps not direct murder but its the kind you divert your eyes from, turn your backs from. It makes me feel ill.

    So watch this documentary to see what is really going on. And remember, this is only one district of many on your borders. One place with many dead humans from a neighbouring country. You are not at war with your neighbours apparently but it certainly appears that way to me.

    Enough said, watch this documentary and well done to Mr. Marco Williams on giving these people a voice. This documentary has profoundly affected me and probably will to many other caring human beings.

  • Bard Groupie

    I would suggest you leave your comments to yourself until you have actually seen the documentary. I have just watched it and sought out information about it online and found your useless comments. I don’t watch movies, just documentaries and I have seen so many I can’t count. However, today I have been so moved by this particular documentary that need to be involved in finding a solution and I don’t even live in America, I’m Canadian.

    Tell me this, how would it be if there were 200-300 unidentified Canadian bodies in a couple of huge freezer boxes in North Dakota. Just that one place, there may be hundreds more in other places near the thousands of miles of border between Canada and the U.S. Also, it would be a fair guess that there were hundreds of more Canadian bodies out there not found yet. All to be named John Doe or Jane Doe until enough clues come together that they can identify the remains which isn’t likely. Now tell me this, would this not be national news, International news, would it not be on the front page of newspapers around the world? There would be emergency meetings with heads of state, etc etc etc. Well why is it that the population south of the U.S. can not be considered with the same care and outrage? We are the same humans, occupying the same planet. The only difference being that I can see is that the population south of you is often poverty stricken and willing to do jobs that Americans won’t do just to feed their families back home. Fortunately in Canada we don’t have that level of poverty. We have poverty but not anywhere near that level. Come on America, admit it, you have typecast these humans and its all based on prejudices. You certainly wouldn’t get away with treating your Northern neighbours like that.

    You have a big problem down south and its called murder. Perhaps not direct murder but its the kind you divert your eyes from, turn your backs from. It makes me feel ill.

    So watch this documentary to see what is really going on. And remember, this is only one district of many on your borders. One place with many dead humans from a neighbouring country. You are not at war with your neighbours apparently but it certainly appears that way to me.

    Enough said, watch this documentary and well done to Mr. Marco Williams on giving these people a voice. This documentary has profoundly affected me and probably will to many other caring human beings.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pf-Wag/100002575167071 Pf Wag

    Too bad nobody is making a documentary to tell the story of the many tens of thousands of Americans who have been molested, raped, seriously injured, killed, or murdered by many of those same illegal aliens.

    To get an idea of the undocumented carnage, see the crime chapters in massive free report THE DARK SIDE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. Google it.

  • robinked

    What a Load of LibTard B.S.!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Francis/100003689645540 Dave Francis

    THE SOCIAL SECURITY CARD HAS BEEN COMPROMISED AND SO ITS TIME TO COMMIT OURSELVES TO A MANDATORY ID CARD? IT WOULD BE VERY BENEFICIAL IN STOPPING ILLEGAL ALIENS STEALING AMERICANS IDENTITY?

    The most logical answer to asserting some major
    enforcement on the 11 million (this number is upwards by at least another 10
    million) is the illegal alien invasion is for Congress to implement on a
    mandatory basis a National ID card. Our Social Security number has been massively
    compromised of millions of citizens and legal immigrant’s identities stolen on
    a nationwide, procured by criminals and illegal migrants and immigrants. Any
    good private investigator can quickly enlighten an individual, that illegal or
    otherwise can obtain out diseased persons Social Security number and use it
    without little chance of being caught? And this is just one instance on how to
    claim any person’s identity? Approximately 15 million United States residents
    have their identities used fraudulently with financial losses totaling upwards
    of $50 billion each year according to reporting agencies. Stealing people’s
    identities have become a dark cloud over credit reports, which can wreck a
    person’s integrity and ability to buy medical insurance; a home mortgages,
    rental housing; an automobile, RV, boat, small business theft, and other forms
    of financing and loans; and even Social Security government checks can be
    compromised?

    Theft of your personal information can stop you for
    being getting a good job. So why with millions of peoples livelihoods at stake,
    do the lawmakers have no apprehension of this growing issue ruining people,
    through no fault of their own? Out of this ominous identity quagmire why has
    not more been accomplished in this archaic ID that is used; although it was not
    in its exception used for identification? I am very suspicious about the
    implications of our elected officials generating profits out of daily
    disclosure of men of women’s grief? Springing up like weeds over the last two
    generations many security companies publicizing they can detect attempts to
    access your bank account, or even purchase a car, a mortgage on a house. Could
    it be that certain disposed participants in Congress, have invested in these
    companies and are staying silently in the background, yet collecting
    considerable profits? If you don’t know already many of these elected servants
    in Washington, have weighty portfolio’s, that are not in the best wellbeing of
    the common man; we are bought and paid for, by special interests. This type of unethical situation is not
    illegal, but it is at the financial cost to all Americans. Is this why
    Washington has no compliance to mandatory upgrade our identity?

    The Cost of a few billion dollars to produce a safe,
    biometric identification card and distribute it to every American would
    overtime save trillions of dollars as illegal aliens would be outlawed. An ID
    of this nature could be used for identification at the Bureau of Motor
    Vehicles, for voting in elections, for proof of right to work in the United
    States, and many other needs associated with keeping your credit worthiness or
    your security safe from prying eyes. Close to 100 million additional Americans
    have their personal identifying information placed in peril of identity theft annually?
    Even records maintained in government and corporate data bases have been lost
    or stolen. These alarming statistics illuminate identity theft may be the most
    frequent, costly and insidious crime in this nation. As the new digital tools
    used to positive overhaul to stop identity theft, so do the types of accounts
    and services being stolen by identity criminals;

    Credit, debit, checking and savings accounts are no
    longer the only target. Identity fraud
    has grown to include theft of cellular and landline phone services and even cable,
    satellite television service; power, water, gas and electric service are not exempt
    from tampering. Buying and selling from across the globe on the World Wide Web
    has become a victim. Identity thieves will also use stolen identities to obtain
    employment and to deceive police when arrested. Children are vulnerable to
    theft of their social security at birth, hence their identity which are used by
    illegal aliens to get hired in the workplace. Sorry that we have come to this
    place in globalized world of computers and data bases, but now we should insist
    on a card that would save us from future frustration and furious hopelessness
    that any American can be stuck with bad credit, because somebody unknown had
    stolen a wallet or purse. Personal ID needs to be updated, with a thumb print
    and an auxiliary retinal scan that can thwart the majority of criminals. The SS
    number is to easy to acquire from many sources and we need something urgently
    to eradicate this ugly blemish that hurts us all.

    JUST AS WE HAVE A RIGHT TO BOMBARD CONGRESS THAT
    ILLEGAL ALIENS SHOULD NOT BE REWARDED FOR BREAKING OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS, FOR AS
    IT SEEMS WITH THE TRAITORS AMONGST THE LIBERAL-DEMOCRATS AND SOME REPUBLICANS THAT
    ARE READY TO ENACT ANOTHER DEVASTATING PATH TO CITIZENSHIP. WE AS AMERICANS CAN
    ALSO INFLUENCE THE SENATE AND HOUSE BY INSISTING ON A NATIONAL ID. IN THE LONG
    RUN TRILLIONS OF YOUR DOLLARS WOULD BE SAVED AGAINST A WHOLE NEW OCCUPATION OF
    ID THEFT.

    My friend in California used to make a great living
    installing Commercial heating and air conditioning. Simi Valley, just on the
    outskirts of Los Angeles pushed for stringent regulations regarding contractors
    and intimidating professionals with a fine of $5000.00 and a loss of licenses.
    In came contractors using illegal labor, underbidding long time professionals
    and skirting laws. This type of innocuous working routine has become prominent
    around the country by contractors using illegal alien labor to undermine honest
    business owners.

    Thousands of Americans would be free from this piece
    of utterly worthless paper on which this SS number is evident. My own identity
    was stolen at my office, but I was only taken for $3600 dollars while I was
    away in hospital. At the time I didn’t know the procedure for reporting the
    theft and was rewarded with my credit being partially ruined. My wife was
    credit was also taken by an unknown and in addition my brother in law also
    found himself in the same predicament.

    How many people really trust the polls, especially
    when they have their own agenda? The Rasmussen poll Reports are more genuine
    than the ones administered by the mainstream newspapers, who have a lean
    towards the Liberal biased idea of government, who already have partaken in a
    whole bunch of propaganda thrown into the daily headlines about illegal
    immigration.

    Attention to all moderate Liberals, Independents,
    Democrats, Republicans including the TEA PARTY, President Obama in the State of
    the Union address needs to reassure all the population that he will allow the
    KEYSTONE OIL PIPELINE out of Canada the Right of Way? If you are frustrated
    with currently paying $4.00 a gallon for gas, this would alleviate most of the
    suffering and additionally relief the rising U.S. treasury of $16 Trillion dollar
    deficit and climbing. WE DON”T NEED TO RELY ON THE EXPLODING MIDDLE EAST FOR
    OIL IN OUR FUTURE? As an addition read about the current cost of supporting the
    illegal alien invasion at NumbersUSA, Judicial Watch, American Patrol and many
    more organizations to keep our country solvent. OH! And don’t forget to demand
    the double layer fences that President Bush passed in 2006?

  • http://www.facebook.com/SRMcCaffrey Sean McCaffrey

    (1) lots of the casualties of border crossings are linked to the deadly Mexican drug trade… why did the filmmaker not highlight this as a leading factor? (2) why are illegal crossers so against pursuing legal means for immigration — as MILLIONS successfully do? (3) what needs to happen to get these people to STOP putting themselves in harms way like this? the answer isn’t open borders, it’s better legal immigration and an end to illegal immigration… so maybe we need to do a better job educating folks crossing the border illegally that it’s really not such a grand idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SRMcCaffrey Sean McCaffrey

    (1) lots of the casualties of border crossings are linked to the deadly Mexican drug trade… why did the filmmaker not highlight this as a leading factor? (2) why are illegal crossers so against pursuing legal means for immigration — as MILLIONS successfully do? (3) what needs to happen to get these people to STOP putting themselves in harms way like this? the answer isn’t open borders, it’s better legal immigration and an end to illegal immigration… so maybe we need to do a better job educating folks crossing the border illegally that it’s really not such a grand idea.