Saturday, January 27, 2007


Sarah Smorol, one of 25 graduate students in our SDSU e725 the Ethnic Mannequins/Obscene Machine seminar weighs in with a thoughtful post--a distpatch, moreover, that helps gel the Obscene Machine and Tex[t]-Mex blog networks:

I am writing to tell you about an interesting movie concerning a Mexican undocumented immigrant who comes to America for work. The film is "Alambrista" by the same Robert Young mentioned on page21 of Tex[t]-Mex. The twist in this film is that the young man leaves a beautiful new baby and loving wife thinking that the land of el Norte will make him prosperous within 6 months time and he will return home with plenty of money for his daughter's education. The reality that befalls him when he arrives however, is one of loneliness, hiding and desolation. The exploitation of undocumented workers is also addressed as the character is denied his pay at the end of a long workday and realizes that he has no recourse to extract his wages. The link to the movie review is on imdb.

There is also a great book that goes along with the movie- it has the same name as the movie and discusses historical migration patterns and circumstances and also attempts to address current border policy as well as critical analysis of the movie- included are many interviews with undocumented immigrants who have crossed and lived to tell. Here is a quote from the book-
"They are often aware of the costs of leaving home but staying home leaves them no options either. This is the story of the Mexican immigrants today, but their voices are not unique. They echo the voices of almost every family in the United States, whose ancestors immigrated to the United States at one point or another and faced pains, insults, vulnerabilities and difficulties, and even death for the sake of a better life. Beneath the voices of the immigration drama we hear the voice of the poor seeking to become full human beings. The tragedy of the immigrant, to paraphrase the words of the director Bob Young, is that while they often spend much of their time cultivating the soil, they are left with little to develop their human potential". (74, Cull, Nicholas J., and David Carrasco, eds. Alambrista and the U.S.-Mexico Border; Film, Music and Stories of Undocumented Immigrants. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004.)

1 comment:

  1. “They made sure I wasn’t smuggling someone in from Mexico, someone willing to settle for America when there’s no where else to go…”
    Ani Difranco, State Line

    “If I could be a superhero, I’d be Immigration Dude. I’d send all the foreigners back to their homes for eating up all of our food. And taking our welfare and best jobs to boot, like landscaping, dishwashing, picking our fruit…”
    Stephen Lynch, Superhero

    The quotes above reflect the reality of the situation for the Mexicans that come here – they aren’t getting rich and living in mansions but for some reason the fervor of the Minutemen and their ilk is completely dependant on the myth that illegal immigrants hurt America and its citizens, keeping us from our ‘God-given right’ to live in splendor while ignoring the people that live on the streets, beg for food, and have little to no access to medical care.

    I’m glad to see a movie out there that is revealing the fallacy of these myths. The current debate over illegal immigrants and what to do with them and how to stop them from getting in, etc. completely ignores that these ‘aliens’ are human and they have a natural will to live, and if the only option is sneaking into America and working the worst jobs for bottom pay they will do it. Thanks for passing this along, I will keep an eye out for the movie/book and let other people know about it.