Refuge(e) traces the incredible journey of two refugees who each fled violent threats to their lives in their home countries and presented themselves at the US border asking for political asylum, only to be incarcerated in for-profit prison for months on end.
"A powerful story of two remarkable people whose lives are upended by violence, Refuge(e) is a beautiful film that shines a light on the ugliness of U.S. immigration policing practices. Where the harsh edges of a profit-seeking immigration prison end, the hopefulness of new lives in the United States, asylum in hand, begin."
Alpha and Zeferino each fled violent threats to their life in their home countries, made the long, dangerous trip across most of the Western hemisphere to the US/Mexico border, and presented themselves at the border asking for political asylum only to be incarcerated in a for-profit prison in Cibola County, New Mexico for months on end. They represent thousands more like them who can't tell their stories, and their fight for freedom and the right to live calls into question the nature of our immigrant detention system.
Correction: At the end of Refuge(e), the film incorrectly states that Core Civic and GeoGroup made $4,000,000,000 in profit in 2017. That year, Core Civc and GeoGroup made $4,000,000,000 in revenue, not profit.
"In a time when we need to make space to talk about suffering, hope, and dreams, Refuge(e) reaches the corners of your soul that beg for humanity and understanding of complex issues around us. Teachers and students have long been pioneers of societal change, this is a film that can spark conversations in classrooms in a compassionate way while also incorporating critical thinking."
"The film's beautiful artwork and cinematography brings to light the hardship and struggle to find protection in the U.S. Alpha and Zeferino's story, I hope, makes you question why our asylum process is so unjust, why detention centers are allowed to stay opened, and why we allow migrants to be treated this way."
"Refuge(e) should be required viewing for people who want to witness the experiences of immigrants and refugees in detention and think critically about the nationwide movement to end our reliance on the private prison system and divest our collective wealth from corporations that prioritize profit over human life."
“The film successfully mixes traditional documentary style with illustrated watercolor animations that lend emotional depth to the depiction of personal memories such as the men's nightmarish accounts of trekking through the Central American jungle and their experiences in the Cibola County Correctional Center. The result is a touching exposé of the horrors that might cause a person to leave everything behind, the relief of arriving at the border, and the treatment refugees face in the US immigration system.”