What happens when you’re an American kid, born to Mexican parents, who ends up moving to Mexico? A new documentary, “Una Vida, Dos Paises,” tackles the story of “transfronterizos,” young children who must adapt to life in their parents’ home country.
Many of the children, who grow up speaking English, are faced with the challenge of fitting in at schools where they struggle with Spanish. Some are called names such as “gringo” for not speaking Spanish. Others deal with fractured families, where one parent stays behind in the U.S. to work and provide for the family in Mexico.
One of the filmmakers, Tatyana Kleyn, told the New York Times her experience as a Latvian immigrant in the U.S. helped her relate: “I saw what it was like through the eyes of my parents when you come to this country and you don’t speak the language.”
President Trump has made it a key part of his presidency to go after undocumented immigrants. He has used tactics to demonize them and uses fearmongering to make sure his base of supporters blame the undocumented community for their problems. Samantha Bee recently sat down with three undocumented people who were once employees of Trump and how they saw a change after his practices were exposed.
Samantha Bee started by asking them if they needed papers when they were first hired.
“When I got there I asked the supervisor, ‘Do we need papers here?’” one of the women recalled. “And she says, ‘No, no, it doesn’t matter. But in 2016, they started asking for documents. And then my manager told me, ‘This guy will take you somewhere where they make those papers.’”
That’s right. A former housekeeper for President Trump told Samantha Bee that she was not required to have papers are the start of her job but was eventually taken to get fake ones made.
Originally, the undocumented workers for Trump did think that things might get better for them when he was running to be president.
However, they quickly realized that he was going to do anything but help them if he won the race. Unfortunately, they were right. Trump has a documented record of attacking undocumented immigrants and has started taking aim at legal immigrants.
Within the company, things did change when Trump started his presidential campaign.
“When he started his campaign, from then on they didn’t let me go to his house,” one woman told Samantha Bee. “So, I would go into Ivanka’s house and sometimes Eric’s when he would visit.”
Yet, instead of firing people for being undocumented when he became the president, he gave them certificates.
The certificates were to show the employees how much Trump appreciated their hard work while working for him. They originally thought they were pretty cool because they are from the White House. Yet, it was not enough to combat the darkness to come.
It wasn’t long until there was abuse from the supervisors, according to one woman.
“The supervisor would assign me double shifts,” the first source said. “And she would tell me, ‘This is how we should treat immigrants’—and if we said anything, immigration would come. And when [Trump] called us ‘immigrant rapists,’ the supervisor would say, ‘Good, good, that’s nice because immigrants are no good. Garbage.’ … There were many insults, and she even hit me three times,” she alleged. “So I decided to speak out, because there was so much injustice.”
The recent immigration debate in the U.S. has largely centered around the forced separation of families at the southern border and indefinite detentions. However, “Ya Me Voy,” a documentary by Mu Media, is shining light on the internal immigration debate. The story centers on a man living undocumented in the U.S. and his decision to stay in the U.S. or leave and rejoin his family. However, unexpected love and troubles at home in Mexico play a major role in his decision.
“I’m Leaving Now (Ya Me Voy)” is a touching look at the personal immigration debate many undocumented immigrants in the U.S. face.
Felipe, an undocumented immigrant living in New York, has spent years living away from his family in Mexico. His mission was to find work and send money home regularly to help his family with the ultimate goal to move back to be with his wife and kids.
The documentary starts with Felipe calling his family telling them that he was ready to move back to Mexico and reunite with them.
After several attempts and changes of mind, Felipe is finally ready to go back home. He had been sending his family money and expects to come home in a better position. It has been 16 years and he has been diligent in sending money back to his family.
However, during a phone call home, he learns that everything he had worked for has fallen apart.
His family had managed to squander the money he had sent back for them. Not only that, they had gotten themselves into debt. Felipe, who was planning to go home, realizes that it might not be able to go home since the family is now indebted after his 16 years of hard, manual labor in the U.S.
During the documentary, the audience learns that Felipe has fallen in love with a woman in the U.S.
The romantic relationship complicates his decision to do home. On one hand, he wants to reunite with his sons and wife more than anything. He misses them terribly and knows that his heart ultimately lies with them. However, his family has spent the money he managed to send them and returning would put him back where he was when he came to the U.S. all those years ago. The new romance offers him solace and comfort in the U.S.
We witness Felipe having tough conversations with his new life in the U.S.
Felipe is trying to determine if he is still able to move back to a family he does not know. It has been so long since he left Mexico that he is essentially a stranger to his children. His wife has been without him for 16 years and he has set unexpected roots in a place that was supposed to be temporary. At one point, you see him telling a vendor that he was preparing to leave and she jokes that she’ll believe it when he is no longer here.
Ultimately, he is forced to make a decision as to whether he is going to stay in the U.S. or be with a family he left years ago.
His tale is one that so many undocumented immigrants in the U.S. experience. They leave friends and family behind in an attempt to better the lives of those they are leaving behind. Many will never see their family again and have to miss major moments, like funerals, to sacrifice it all to help their family.