I Was Born in Mexico, But… is a creative portrait of a young woman who thought she was American but finds out as a teen that she is undocumented. Because she doesn’t want to appear on camera, found footage from American culture illuminates her voice as she struggles with her new identity and the reality of not being able to legally drive, work or reside in the U.S.
This poetic film will introduce students of immigration, latinx studies, ethnic studies, sociology, psychology, education, and social work to a personal voice in the immigration debate, speaking about what it’s like to grow up and face an uncertain future as an undocumented young person in America.
In interviews done before DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the film gives insight into what life was like before DACA was implemented, and what life could return to now that it has been rescinded. The subject of the film is a current DACA recipient.
"...her subject's cautiously optimistic voiceover effectively presents a powerful reminder of the plight of illegal Mexican immigrants (ed.: no human being is illegal!). Recommended."
An unidentified young woman narrates her story, starting with faint memories of crossing the border at age 3: “bits and pieces of dream” of huge lights and people yelling Correle! (Run!) that she wasn’t able to piece together until later. She is a “DREAMer,” one of an estimated 1.4 million undocumented young people who were brought to the U.S. as children. She describes loving elementary school, where she learned English and made a lot of friends, but in middle school she started to have questions: why were her uncles talking about not being able to renew their driver’s licenses? Why was the family not able to travel? Her parents finally break it to her that she wasn’t born here, and from there she is left to figure out a path forward. How will she be able to go to college with no financial aid? Even if she can go to college, is it worth it, since she won’t be able to work in the career she studies? She describes the daily fears of an undocumented person: what happens if I get pulled over, if immigration pops out at my job? And also the struggle for dignity: she wants to be seen as herself- not just an undocumented Mexican.
"The film presents a powerful depiction of the experience of DACA youth through childhood and into adulthood as they go through critical developmental milestones. In 12 short minutes it gets to the heart of how our system begins to squash their dreams before they even begin to form – and yet it also shows resilience, determination, and hope. This film artfully depicts what it is not to have the privilege of belonging and why that system needs to change."
"This is a compelling story of a young person determined to exert her identity apart from labels and political policy, but at the mercy of factors beyond her control nonetheless. Highly recommend this short film!"
I Was Born in Mexico, But... and Vida Diferida (Life, deferred) were shown to very appreciative audiences in West Marin during January of 2018. The films sparked rich discussions and questions about DACA from large and engaged audiences.
"Tells an important story - evocatively so - of the undocumented youth who rarely get a platform from which to speak or be heard. My students loved it!"
"Presents a compelling portrait of a young woman who discovers that she is not a citizen of the U.S. and realizes the complications to her life that this creates. We recommend this film highly!"