Undocumented Film Analysis

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In both my professional and personal life I am in relationship with immigrants, some legal and some illegal. It is through relationships and other storytelling methods, like films, that we can empathize and understand another person’s or a group of people’s plight. The city of Pittsfield, where I live, is currently in discussion about accepting around 50 Syrian refugees into the community. My first thought when I found out about this was “How can I help?” These are people who have survived war, traveled extensively, and have no belongings and no money. The flip side to the argument, though, is about fear. Fear that they will take our jobs or not work at all. Fear that they will create gangs and commit crimes. Fear that their religion is promoting terrorism, a belief legitimized by the events…show more content…
None of these stereotypes pertain to Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant from the Phillipines and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. His story as told in the film Undocumented is compelling and challenges common beliefs about what it means to live in the Unites States without papers. Vargas is a college graduate who has been employed at several esteemed news agencies. I was surprised by a few things in the film and we discussed these in class. First, how is it possible that the government cannot track a social security number that does not exist? With so many challenges for US citizens, it seems unfathomable that false identification cannot be easily detected. The other surprise for me is that there are several moments in the film when Vargas is in contact with law enforcement with questions about his status. He does not get the responses I would have expected and the police and INS do not pursue him. After “coming out” in 2011, he founded a non-profit organization called Define American that aims to break down biases about immigrants through

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