Some Americans may perceive Mexican immigration as an invasion of under-qualified workers seeking to steal jobs from Americans. This loud idea seemingly echoes — drowning out Mexico’s cry for help as it succumbs to political corruption and a horrible economy. Americans like award-winning director Roy Germano are now giving a voice to the voiceless.
“It’s actually the eve of a special day,” Germano said, prior to the start of his film. “Three years ago tomorrow, I screened this movie at the Las Vegas Film Festival while I was still a political science major.”
In his documentary “The Other Side of Immigration,” Germano interviewed several lower class Mexican families and explored the lives of men and women who abandon their homes to work in America and support their families.
“We all have our problems and our troubles and our lives are difficult,” said Germano during a discussion after the screening. “But imagine if you had to go through that bullshit to work a minimum wage job washing dishes. You pay a smuggler thousands of dollars, walking through the desert — almost lose your life — to wash dishes at the Macaroni Grill so you can send money to your kids.”
The documentary highlighted facts, like the average money made per day in Mexico — which is $13 — in comparison to the average $80 Americans make daily. Even worse, Mexican farmers struggle to compete against American farms and cannot compete in the agricultural market.
Reluctantly, many Mexicans must immigrate to America to work and provide for their families.
However, crossing the border is incredibly dangerous, not because of border patrol, but because of the taxing desert terrain of Arizona and other Southwestern states.
According to the documentary, it costs $2,000 to $5,000 for the illegal services of a guide to navigate through the desert. Illegal immigrants are also frequently forced by drug cartels to smuggle illegal drugs across the border.
“The film provided a perspective of the immigration issue that most people do not think about because it isn’t shown to them,” said sophomore economics major Robert Veltman.
There seems to be no salvation in sight for Mexico’s lower class — every family Germano interviewed spoke hopelessly about politicians who hide investment opportunities from the public and selfishly reap the benefits for personal purposes.
Germano’s film won the 2009 Politics on Film Founder’s Award and was an official selection in the 2009 Global Peace Film Festival.
The event was sponsored by the Spanish Club, Sigma Delta Pi, Unión Latina, the Department of World Languages and Cultures and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Illegal immigration is an issue that constantly floods the news but the opinions of the immigrants are not always heard. Germano’s documentary was ultimately a thought-provoking representation of a widely underepresented point of view.