Documentary Films about Immigration

I’m a proponent of using digital video to conduct and disseminate qualitative academic research, as I’ve discussed here and here.

I made my first documentary The Other Side of Immigration (55 min) while conducting a survey of 700 Mexican households for my Ph.D. thesis. The Other Side of Immigration was named an American Library Association Notable Video of 2011 and was previously distributed by Netflix. It is now available on Amazon, iTunes, and other sites where films are sold. It’s also on the shelves of more than 800 libraries worldwide. This is the trailer:

In 2014, I produced a series on immigration for Vice News. This work is more narrative and journalistic, but is nevertheless influenced by my training as a political scientist. You can watch all of these films below at no cost.

Episode 1 of the series is called “The High Cost of Deporting Parents” (25 min). It follows Ray Jesus, who was deported to Guatemala after 20+ years in the United States, and his wife Kacie and children, who are American citizens living in Utah. It won the Audience Award at the 2015 Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival and was featured by WYNC’s Brian Lehrer Show.

Episode 2 is called “They Steal Our Jobs?” (23 min). This documentary explores how deportation quotas and an immigrant detention center have complicated life for dairy farms and dairy workers in Western New York and led to an increase in racial profiling. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding pieces I have worked on.

Episode 3 is called “Murder and Migration in Honduras” (14 min). This documentary investigates the uptick in migration of families and unaccompanied children from Honduras since 2009. It was featured on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes.

I also independently produced a short documentary called “A Mexican Sound” (13 min). It is about the music and culture of a region of Mexico called the Huasteca. I first visited the Huasteca in 2005 while conducting fieldwork on migration to the United States. I learned that while this area has been changed dramatically by migration, residents have also invested a great deal in maintaining the region’s unique traditions.

Here is the film in English:


Here it is en espaƱol: