Sin País (Without Country) attempts to get beyond the partisan politics and mainstream media’s ‘talking point’ approach to immigration issues by exploring one family’s complex and emotional journey involving deportation.
Sin País is a documentary that brings a face, a reason, and a new found hope to the topic of immigration through the struggle of one family...Sin País tackles the much debated issue of immigration with love, justice and compassion through the eyes of those who are most affected.
In 1992, Sam and Elida Mejia left Guatemala during a violent civil war and brought their one-year old son, Gilbert, to California. The Mejia’s settled in the Bay Area, and for the past 17 years they have worked multiple jobs to support their family, paid their taxes, and saved enough to buy a home. They had two more children, Helen and Dulce, who are both U.S. citizens. Two years ago, immigration agents stormed the Mejia’s house looking for someone who didn’t live there. Sam, Elida, and Gilbert were all undocumented and became deeply entangled in the U.S. immigration system.
Sin País begins two weeks before Sam and Elida’s scheduled deportation date. After a passionate fight to keep the family together, Sam and Elida are deported and take Dulce with them back to Guatemala.
With intimate access and striking imagery, Sin País explores the complexities of the Mejia’s new reality of a separated family–parents without their children, and children without their parents.
Whether considered illegal or illegalized, the empathy evoked by this intimate portrait of a family forced to decide which members go or stay, based not just on citizenship but on age and gender as well, forces viewers to witness a serious problem in America today and to ask why, and what should be done? Sin Pais is a powerful educational tool in my classroom at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare.