Three individuals struggle to rebuild a life in Mexico City
after a lifetime in the United States.
ABOUT THE FILM
Hundreds of thousands of undocumented Americans are deported from the United States to "their country of origin" every year. What happens to these "non-citizens" after they return to a country they barely know? The documentary Los Otros profiles three such undocumented individuals as they rebuild their lives in Mexico City. Separated from family and starting all over with nothing, they attempt to forge new lives in the shadow of a broken immigration system and a country not prepared for their return.
Los Otros perfila a tres personas indocumentadas mientras reconstruyen sus vidas en la Ciudad de México después de vivir en los Estados Unidos durante años. Separados de la familia y empezando de nuevo sin nada, intentan forjar nuevas vidas a la sombra de un sistema de inmigración roto y un país no preparado para su regreso.
Esmeralda was taken to the United States at the age of 8. She would eventually become valedictorian at a prestigious high school and was granted a full-time scholarship to a University. However, she was unable to receive the funding unless she fixed her immigration status. She was told to return to Mexico to get her papers in order but ended up getting caught in the broken immigration laws. She has not seen her family in over 9 years.
Fredy went to California as a teenager in the hopes of saving up money and returning to Mexico to start his own business. Life took a turn when he had children, one of whom has autism. After having gone to court for a traffic ticket, he was taken in by ICE and spent 5 months in a detention center before being sent back to Mexico. Not able to say goodbye to his children, he will be eligible to reapply to visit them again in 2028 when they are in their 20s.
Aron's family went to the United States legally on a lifetime visa. Inspired by a long family history in the military, he decided to join the Marines and was told, like many others, he would receive full citizenship in return for his service but he never did. Years later, after having a family, he was arrested for a minor crime, spent years in jail, and was released back to Mexico. His family and children remain in Texas.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
There are 41 million immigrants in the United States. (ACLU)
In 2013, 83 percent of people deported from the United States were not given a hearing before a judge. (ACLU)
The United States spends $1.84 billion detaining immigrants. (ACLU)
Undocumented immigrants alone pay approximately $11.64 billion in taxes each year. Moreover, undocumented immigrants nationwide pay an estimated 8 percent of their income in state and local taxes, which is higher than the effective tax rate of the top 1 percent of all taxpayers in the U.S. (ADL)
A U.S. permanent resident’s unmarried son or daughter, who is 21 years old or older, will have to wait roughly 21 years to file an application for an immigrant visa if they’re from Mexico. Wait times vary by country, category of visa, and number of people in line. (THE ATLANTIC)
Over 230,000 people are deported from the US to their "country of origin" every year. They must wait anywhere from 5-20 years (some are permanently banned) before being permitted to reapply for visas to visit their loved ones in the US. (VOX)
24,000 non-citizens on active duty
The US military currently employs 24,000 non-citizens on active duty. Many are falsely promised automatic citizenship. (TEXAS CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT)
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus estimates there are about 3,000 instances of veterans being deported to other countries. The number of veterans who were born outside the United States stands at approximately 530,000. (CONGRESSIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS)
In Mexico City and in most areas there are no shelters that will meet the needs of the deported community. Mexico has not come up with functional and appropriate policies to meet the growing needs of the deported and returned community. (ODA)
HOW TO TAKE ACTION
Otros Dreams en Acción is a non-profit founded in 2015 and led by three women - Claudia Amaro, Jill Anderson, and Maggie Loredo. ODA advocates for free mobility across the US-Mexico border and better immigration policies from both the United States and the Mexican government. They assist deported and returning youths by offering help with bureaucratic paperwork, housing, job placement, language classes, emotional support and mental health. They also offer a safe haven, Pocha House, where returnees are welcomed, support each other, and advocate through art and culture.
As the newest chapter of the international organization Veterans For Peace, UUSDV (Unified United States Deported Veterans) is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting U.S. Military Deported Veterans integrate into society and return legally to the USA. UUSDV is committed to building a culture of peace, exposing the true costs of war, and healing the wounds of war. As an international organization made up of military veterans, military family members, and allies, UUSDV accepts veteran members from all branches of service. Our network is made up of over 120 chapters across the United States and abroad.
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MEET THE TEAM
MONICA PENDERGRASS - PRODUCER, DIRECTOR
ERIC BALDETTI - DIRECTOR, CINEMATOGRAPHER, EDITOR
Eric Baldetti is a filmmaker born and currently living in Los Angeles. A graduate of Bard College’s Film program, he has since worked in the film industry as a director, cinematographer and graphic designer on commercials, films and music videos large and small. He has collaborated with numerous filmmakers including Emmanuel Lubezki (known for Tree of Life, Birdman, etc), Gabriela Cowperthwaite (known for Black Fish), Jordan Vogt-Roberts (known for Kong Skull: Island) and Lucy Walker (known for Waste Land, Megan Leavey). He pursues projects that reflect our difficult world and speak to our common humanity.
Monica Pendergrass is an independent filmmaker from Texas. She has a bachelor’s degree in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. After assisting numerous photographers including Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Keating, she went on to study cinematography at NYU’s School of Professional Studies. She has since worked on numerous films, commercials and music videos. She has collaborated with various filmmakers including Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Black Fish), Antonio Campos (After School), Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Josh Mond (James White), and many others. Her passion for storytelling and human rights led her to pursue filmmaking in Los Angeles where she now lives and works.