Last night I attended a screening of the film, Documented, written, directed, and produced by Jose Antonio Vargas who is an undocumented American from the Philippines. His film was about his undocumented status and you wonder, why hasn’t he been deported? Well, he doesn’t pose a threat because he’s a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, he pays taxes, and he has become a productive member of America.
Jose was in attendance after the screening of the film and took some questions. The film really brought up a lot of questions regarding what makes an American. His website, Define American asks questions to change the conversation regarding immigration reform and also regarding what it means to be an American.
As a citizen, I feel extremely privileged. What would my life have looked like if I were undocumented? If my parents stayed undocumented when they arrived? As a first generation Dominican American, I know my parents came here and weren’t necessarily legal at first, but then finally became legal before I was born.
How do I define myself as an American? I think of the freedom I have to live as I please, with close to no restrictions. I think about the ability to travel outside of the country and experience different culture and customs. I think about how I don’t ever have to struggle to eat. I think about how I can say whatever I want on this blog and no one is going to come to my door and arrest or harass me. But I still don’t know how quite to define what being an American means to me.
Which is why this documentary is important to change the conversation about immigration and to discuss and “define American.”
I had no idea there were so many undocumented Americans from All countries (not just Mexican because somehow “illegal” is synonymous with that one country which is so not the case) paying taxes in this country. What’s it gonna take to help these undocumented folks to become legal here? It’s not as if they are a threat. They are contributing and working their asses off, just like every American citizen (and sometimes more than some lazy ass citizens).
I urge everyone to find a way to watch this documentary. The trailer is below and the link to find out more about the screenings available. If you miss it in theaters, CNN will also be showing the movie at some point. Again, this documentary is not a movie to be missed.
Roxie Theater is also showing screenings until May 21st. Check it out when you can.