“A Better Life”: Understanding the Immigrant Experience

Flikr| Photo credit: US Dept. of Labor

Director Chris Weitz’s 2011 film “A Better Life” is not only an Oscar-nominated cinematic piece, but also a harrowing statement of the personal lives of immigrants. The film’s star, Demian Bichir, plays a working class father doing everything he can to help his son attain a better life in the United States. Unfortunately, he is an undocumented immigrant and the trials and tribulations with which he is faced lead to his eventual deportation.

The political atmosphere of the time being allows many of us to quickly disregard undocumented immigrants as criminals, a drain on resources, and an alien group that should be deported as soon as possible. It is difficult to avoid the ubiquitous statements demeaning the presence of illegal immigrants in the nation by politicians, media sources, and others.

It is often so easy to get caught up in the media blitz about illegal immigration that it becomes impossible to remember that illegal immigrants are humans. The status of their visas do not determine their character, ability, or moral code. We must quit separating ourselves and forget the notion of “us” and “them”. It becomes so much easier to say all 12 million illegal immigrants in the US should be deported when we ignore the fact that they are mothers, fathers, laborers, artists, students, athletes, etc. just like the rest of “us”. “A Better Life” demonstrates the strength of family ties and the determination that can be summoned in light of family reunification.

Despite your individual view of immigration, or the political, social, or economic effects of illegal immigration, one must remember to stay human. To have empathy, to understand, and to appreciate that people are people, despite their residency status.

To learn more about “A Better Life”, check-out the IMBD: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1554091/

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaLSBdL-zCY

One response to ““A Better Life”: Understanding the Immigrant Experience

  1. While the media does connect us, by making it possible for all of us to have information at our fingertips and for people all over the world to be reading, watching, and hearing the same things. However it also distances us from each other. People do see other human beings as being fully human beings because they are just subjects of news and media. We used to only know a few select people that were in our hometown, school, work and neighborhood however, now we are learning about people from all over the world that we will never meet, understand, or be able to sympathize with. it makes it easier to detach oneself from stories like this one. I agree that no matter our own political beliefs we need to make sure that we understand that they are human beings and while they might be a representative of a larger problem, they themselves, as an individual are not the problem.

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