‘Indivisible’ Details the Trials of Illegal Immigrant in America

A scene from Svetla Tsotsorkova's THIRST, playing at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21st - May 5th, 2016.

Nov. 9 was either the worst or most perfect time for the documentary Indivisible: Love Knows No Borders to be screened on campus. After the recent election of Donald Trump, it is questionable whether illegal immigrants will have a path to citizenship. Regardless, it is important to speak about this highly contested issue that impacts the lives of countless individuals, both inside and outside the United States.

Indivisible goes beyond the borders this country has set between the U.S. and the other countries of the world. The story follows the accounts of three undocumented immigrants in the U.S., each fighting for the right to become a citizen. The film shows each person’s personal battle toward citizenship, as well as the struggle to visit his family coupled with the actual visits to his family back in his country of origin.  

All of the main characters of the movie had lived in the U.S. from a young age, but a piece of documentation kept them from being legitimate U.S. citizens. The three each became a part of the political process, to be a part of America and to tell their stories. These young people came to understand what policy battles actually mean and to understand firsthand what it is like to fight for legislation. It is devastating watching people vote on aspects of other’s lives, like whether or not they will get to see their families again.

Two of the main characters, Renata and Evelyn, grew up in Boston, while Antonio grew up in Queens, N.Y. All of them were, however, born in different parts of the world—Antonio from Mexico, Evelyn from Colombia, and Renata from Brazil. Each of them had different reasons for coming to the U.S., but they all still had the same love for the country. The country had raised them, had kept them safe, and had given them opportunities that often were not universal in their countries of origin.  

All three of these illegal immigrants had been separated from their families for long periods of time. The film actually documented the first time Antonio, Renata, and Evelyn had seen their mothers since they had been separated from them through different circumstances. This reunion was through a fence between Mexico and America. These poor children and mothers had to hug each other and tell stories through a fence. All they wanted to do was reunite, but instead it seemed as though they were positioned like animals, communicating with one another through fences. It was both sad and horrifying.

Finally, the movie ended with scenes of Renata, Evelyn, and Antonio returning to their countries of origin to reunite with their families. Although heartbreaking, these reunions held a sense of hope and promise for the future that has yet to come. The love between these children and parents was palpable and beautiful. Whether it was in a loving greeting at the airport with cries of joy calling out, “Ay! My little treasure!” or a simple conversation over breakfast, the love between these families was beautiful.   

After the movie, members of the audience engaged in a discussion. The first topic they talked about was what had changed in regard to the events depicted since the movie. The election was the most obvious and most devastating aspect. The recent election promised to remove the ability for illegal immigrants to receive work permits to see their families. The message that rang loud and clear, however, was that “we will continue doing this work.”  

One of the most relevant questions of the night was, “What can college students do to help?” The answer came in many parts. First off, we need to put in the effort to understand the policies we have in the U.S. and how they affect certain people in our country. As uncomfortable as these questions and conversations are, we need to continue to have them in order to understand the positions of the rest of the country. We actually need to care about each other as human beings. Additionally, it is important for students to connect with organizations that can help, in addition to making calls and writing letters to Congress members to stop deportations. Although the election is over, issues like immigration will still affect countless numbers of people both inside and outside of this country.

Featured Image By Kudzu Films