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.
Alpha and Zeferino's stories left an emotional imprint on our students and gave them tangible stories that brought to life the statistics and migration concepts they were learning about. Refuge(e) provided students with a powerful and palpable human story on a topic that is often desensitized by political jargon in the media. The film will no doubt inspire deep and meaningful conversations in your classroom about the reality of seeking political asylum in the US.
“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.”
"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."