Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth", 2009 documentary, as updated, airs on some PBS channels


Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth” is an hour-long 2009 documentary by Anne Galisky, and was aired on Howard University Television PBS Wednesday night in Washington DC. The film has an epilogue that traces the history of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) in Congress in 2010, when the House passed it but the Senate blocked it with filibuster. (The Act would consider military service and college as enabling one to stay, supporting the idea that for some people there is a sort of "back door draft".) The film was sponsored in part with a grant by Cathy and Kenneth Shine.
  
The film discusses the issue of education for undocumented minors, which the Supreme Court has mandated, and points out that several southern states have blocked access to state universities for documented students.
  
The film says at one point that sometimes kids do need actual sponsors to stay in the US.  I don’t know how this works, but it could become a moral expectation of people capable of providing that kind of support.  But the Congress and administration don’t want to create a situation where a “moral burden” on individuals encourages more minors to come illegally, as with the case of the recent flood of immigrant children from Central America. 

The documentary presents one episode where a mother asks her teen son if he is gay, and then asks the son to get out of the car when he says he is; then the mother changes heart and says she loves him. 
   
The film traces the history of several high school and college students.  At one point near the end, at a demonstration, there is a bizarre sight of a Caucasian-looking teen with a hairless chest and the words “Do I look illegal?” painted on it. 
  
  
The official site is here  and there is also a book.

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