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Monday, February 14, 2011

Paper: Response to Dr. Roy Germano's "The Other Side of Immigration"


“The Other Side of Immigration” Review/Response
Last Monday I attended a screening of Dr. Roy Germano’s “The Other Side if Immigration.” This film (and following Q&A session with Germano) was a revealing and interesting experience and an entertaining evening. Germano filmed “Immigration” while doing research for his doctoral thesis in Michoacán, Mexico. Originally he began filming his interviews with local residents out of curiosity, but his curiosity quickly grew into a large project that would involve interviewing over 700 families and receiving funding from the National Science Foundation.
            Within the film, I was introduced to the Mexican side of Illegal Immigration and migrant workers for the first time. While viewed at worst as an affront to the United States’ sovereignty (and at best a severe annoyance) in Texas, Mexicans see “the issue” in an entirely different light. For instance, Mexicans view immigration as a temporary engagement in order to provide for their families. Migrant workers find the cheapest accommodations in town, and pack themselves in to the brim – often resulting in 10 to 12 roommates in a small apartment. Many work multiple jobs and live off of pennies on the dollar, sending the rest home to their families. Illegal immigration to the U.S. has become a necessity for many because of a lack in local well-paid work, since the funds given by the Federal government to lessen unemployment and empower small businesses are quickly scooped up by corrupt local officials. Another interesting aspect was the opinion of Mexicans about American response. The strict regulations and border maintenance by Americans are viewed as a personal insult to many Mexicans, giving rise to my favorite quote from the film: “It is wrong to build fences between people.” Simplistic in understanding, yet deep in meaning.
After the film, Germano opened up a short Q&A session. During this time, Germano hammered home his personal beliefs regarding the issues at hand. Germano talks about immigration problems in a way many doctors talk about disease – you can manage the symptoms, or address the root cause. And addressing the symptoms in the form of a $4 million-per-mile fence isn’t the solution to our ailment. When asked if he thought a revolution lies in Mexico’s future, he suggested that what we should expect is a lessening in Mexico’s government corruption. Germano suggests that an increase in education could make citizens “feel more comfortable holding their politicians accountable.”
Overall, I really enjoyed the evening. Others found issue with the music, but I enjoy both groups I recognized (Bright Eyes and My Morning Jacket) and therefore had no qualms about the soundtrack. The cinematography was also pretty solid for candid interviews, only a few minor audio hiccups from shifting the camera distracted viewers. I wish the showing had been a larger event, and would definitely recommend the film to anyone interested or uninformed about current immigration issues.
Edit: Here's the new trailer for "The Other Side of Immigration." Check it out!

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