“Other Dreamers” documentary highlights Dreamers who are forced to return to their birth place


Jose: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. I’M JOSE CARDENAS. PRESIDENT TRUMP’S DEADLINE ON DACA HAS COME AND GONE AS CONGRESS AND DREAMERS WAIT FOR A RESOLUTION IN THE COURTS, LAWMAKERS HAVE PAUSED THEIR LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS AND DACA RECIPIENTS ARE IN A CONSTANT STATE OF UNCERTAINTY. “OTHER DREAMERS” IS A DOCUMENTARY THAT FOCUSES ON HOW DREAMERS FROM THE U.S. ARE FORCED TO GO BACK TO THEIR BIRTHPLACE THROUGH DEPORTATION OR OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES.
Ayala: HI, MY NAME IS MARICARMEN AYALA. I’M 23 YEARS OLD AND I LIVE IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS FOR TEN YEARS.
Hernandez: HEY, MY NAME IS WILLIAM, WILLIAM SANCHEZ HERNANDEZ. I’M 32 YEARS OLD AND I LIVE IN NEW YORK FOR 17 YEARS.
Hernandez: I REMEMBER I THINK I WAS SEVEN. I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE. I REMEMBER I WAS TELLING MY GRANDMA I DON’T WANT TO GO AND MY GRANDMA WAS LIKE YOU GOTTA GO, YOU GOTTA GO WITH YOUR PARENTS. SO, I’M LITTLE, I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON.
Ayala: THIS IS, UM AROUND WHEN I WENT TO CHICAGO. I DIDN’T REALLY REALIZE WHAT WAS GOING ON. WE GOT OUR VISA, EVERYTHING, AND WE FLEW TO CHICAGO.
Hernandez: I REMMEBER WE WERE IN A HOTEL AND IT WAS ME AND MY BROTHER, MY OLDER BROTHER JOSE, AND THIS LADY WAS THE ONE WHO PROCESSED IT AND SHE BROUGHT US SOME I.D.S. SHE SAID REMEMBER THIS NAME. REMEMBER THIS NAME. THIS IS YOUR NAME. IN CASE WE GET STOPPED, YOU HAVE TO SAY THIS.
Ayala: I WENT TO FAULCONER FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. IT WAS REALLY NICE. YEAH, I LOVED IT AND I LOVED MY TEACHERS THERE.
Hernandez: IN YONKERS, I WENT TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. IT WAS PRETTY NICE. I WAS AN HONOR ROLL STUDENT, I WAS ACTUALLY. I LIKED IT.
Ayala: MIDDLE SCHOOL WAS PRETTY HARD FOR ME. I WAS A PRETTY CHUBBY, LITTLE GIRL. AND, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE BOYS THAT ALWAYS BULLYING YOU OR CALLING YOU NAMES. YOU KNOW, LIKE, PIGGY.
Jose: JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS IS CARLO CASTILLA, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF “OTHER DREAMERS” DOCUMENTARY. CARLOS, WELCOME TO HORIZONTE.
Castilla: THANK YOU, JOSE.
Jose: IN THAT INTRO WE SAW TWO OF SIX KIDS THERE. GIVE ME A SENSE FOR THE BACKGROUND OF SEVERAL OF THEM.
Castilla: SURE, WE, WHAT WE’VE BEEN EXPERIENCING IN GOING THROUGH THIS PROCESS IS THANKS TO THE U.S.-MEXICO FOUNDATION WHICH BASED THE WHOLE PROJECT AND PUBLISHED A BOOK ON IT IS THAT THESE KIDS COME FROM VARIOUS BACKROUNDS AND EXPERIENCES. SOME ARE FROM VERY POOR MEANS AND SOME ARE ESTABLISHED, MIDDLE CLASS. BUT THE COMMON JOURNEY IS THAT THEY HAVE DRAMATIC EXPERIENCES HAPPEN TO THEM. HERE WHEN THEY CAME AS CHILDREN AND THEN LATER WHEN THEY WENT BACK TO MEXICO. EACH TIME HAVING TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE. NOT KNOWING THE LANGUAGE, NOT HAVING THE DOCUMENTATION TO PROVE THEIR EDUCATION OR THEIR PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE. NOT HAVING FAMILY WITH THEM OR SUPPORT AROUND WHATEVER JOURNEY THEY WHERE TAKING. AND SO IN THOSE EXPERIENCES WE FOUND SOME THAT WERE EXTREMELY, UM, PRECARIOUS. ONE OF THEM WAS DEPORTED AT A TRAFFIC SPOT FOR RUNNING A RED LIGHT. HE GETS DEPORTED TO MEXICO AND THEN GETS KIDNAPPED BY A CARTEL. HE ESCAPES FROM THE CARTEL AND GETS A RIDE, I THINK IT WAS 12 HOURS, TO GO TO MEXICO CITY. AND THAT’S JUST ONE OF THE CHARACTERS.
Jose: SO YOU KNOW, I SAW, UM, ANOTHER SEGMENT OF THE DOCUMENTARY. THESE LOOK LIKE THEY’RE JUST BASICALLY AMERICAN KIDS.
Castilla: THEY ARE.
Jose: WHO ARE NOW IN A FOREIGN SETTING.
Castilla: THEY ARE. THEIR PRIMARY LANGUAGE IS ENGLISH, THEY DON’T SPEAK SPANISH THAT WELL. THEY ARE, EVERYTHING THEY KNOW IS IN THE U.S.; MUCH OF THEIR FAMILY IS STILL HERE, THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY, AND SO THEY HAVE TO GO TO A NEW COUNTRY AND TRY TO FIND THEMSELVES. THANKFULLY, THEY ARE FINDING OPPORTUNITIES BECAUSE OF THEIR ENGLISH LANGUAGE, BECAUSE THEY HAVE BONDED TOGETHER IN THEIR COMMUNITY, BUT IT’S VERY CHALLENGING.
Jose: I NOTICED ONE OF THEM IS A GRADUATE OF U.T. AUSTIN.
Castilla: CORRECT, ONE OF THEM IS. THESE ARE KIDS WHO HAVE EXCELLED IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. WHETHER IT WAS WHEN THEY CAME HERE AND THEY’VE ESTABLISHED THEMSELVES OR WHEN THEY WENT BACK TO MEXICO AND FOUND THEMSELVES. SO, IT’S AN INTERESTING MIX OF CHARACTERS AND OF LIFE STORIES.
Jose: AND THE TWO WE SAW THERE, UM MARICARMEN AND WILLIAM, AND WILLIAM HAD A DIFFICULT TIME IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN SOME RESPECTS MAY BE BETTER OFF NOW THAT HE’S BACK IN MEXICO.
Castilla: YES, HE HAD A VERY TRADITIONAL JOURNEY WHERE HE CAME TO THE U.S. AND WAS VERY ACTIVE IN SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES PER MEXICAN FAMILIES, DANCING, AND SPORTS. BUT THEN HE ENDED UP FINDING HIS WAY TO BECOME A, UM, DRUG DEALER AND GANG BANGER. HE WAS IN PRISON FOR IT, AND THEN HE WAS DEPORTED BECAUSE OF IT. HE GETS TO MEXICO AND HE SPENT THREE YEARS IN HIS GRANDFATHER’S SOFA IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE PUEBLA, IN THE STATE OF PUEBLA, NEAR OAXACA, HE ENDED UP IMPREGNATING A LADY AND FALLS FOR HER AND REALIZES THAT THIS CHILD NOW NEEDS HIM MORE THAN ANYBODY ELSE. HE STARTS THE PROCESS OF RECOVERING, FINDING HIMSELF, AND FINDING EMPLOYMENT. AND NOW I CAN SAY THAT HE SEEMS TO BE WELL ON HIS WAY TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD.
Jose: MARICARMEN SAID LANDING IN MEXICO IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT.
Castilla: YES, SHE STARTED. THEY WERE A MIDDLE CLASS FAMILY IN MEXICO, IN CHICAGO THEY WERE ABLE TO FLY FOR A LITTLE BIT, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THEY ENDED UP, IT TORE THEIR FAMILY APART. THEIR PARENTS GOT DIVORCED, THEY WENT BACK TO MEXICO, THEY HAD SEVERAL BIG CHALLENGES ECONOMICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY, AND THEN, UM, THE FATHER IS NOT PART OF THE FAMILY PICTURE, THE MOTHER HAS TO CARE FOR THE KIDS BY HERSELF, AND MARICARMEN IS A TEENAGER AND SO SHE’S LUCKY TO BE SO POSITIVE AND TO HAVE SUCH BIG DREAMS AND TO BE STUDYING OUT OF A UNIVERSITY IN PUEBLA. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THE TRAIL OF TEARS AND BLOOD THAT THEY LEFT BEHIND IS QUITE LARGE. IT’S BEEN A VERY TORMENTOROUS JOURNEY.
Jose: YOU MENTIONED THAT SHE IS A TEENAGER, AS I RECALL ONE OF THE OTHER YOUNG PERSONS IN THE DOCUMENTARY IN EXCESS OF 30 PLUS YEARS; IS THAT RIGHT?
Castilla: YES, SOME OF THEM DON’T KNOW ANYTHING BUT THE U.S. THEY LOVE THIS COUNTRY, THEY FEEL AMERICAN, THEY BELIEVE THEY ARE AMERICAN, THEY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO AMERICA IN MULTIPLE WAYS AND THEY’VE NEVER HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE, UH, THAT THEY DESERVE A REASON TO STAY HERE. AND SO OTHER PEOPLE WILL BENEFIT FROM THAT. THE QUESTION IS FOR US. WE JUST WANT TO ASK THE QUESTION, UM, WHAT IS AMERICAN AND WHAT IS THE VALUE THAT WE CAN BENEFIT FROM IF THESE PEOPLE HAVE A LOT TO OFFER US.
Jose: AND IS THAT, AS I UNDERSTAND IT, THEY KIND OF DEVELOP THEIR OWN SUPPORT SYSTEM THERE. THEY’RE UNIFYING.
Castilla: YES, YES. IT’S AMAZING HOW IT WORKS AND HOW HUMANS FIND OPPORTUNITIES. IN MEXICO CITY THERE IS ONE OF THE CORNERS THERE ARE CONGRIGATIONS OF SEVERAL CALL CENTERS AND THEY HIRE ALL OTHER DREAMERS, THE ONES THAT GO BACK WHO SPEAK PERFECT ENGLISH BECAUSE THEY’RE DOING CALLS TO ALL THE U.S. BASED CLIENTELE. SO THEY HAVE GATHERED, THE EMPLOYEES HAVE GATHERED TO HELP EACH OTHER FINDING EMPLOYMENT, FINDING HOUSING, FINDING ANY TYPE OF SERVICE THAT CAN HELP THEM REESTABLISH THEMSELVES. AND BECAUSE THEY’RE DOING SUCH A GOOD JOB, ONE OF THEM WAS SELECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO BE THE FACE OF THE REINTEGRATION PROGRAM FOR OTHER DREAMERS THAT GO BACK, AND UNIVERSITIES LIKE PUEBLA, THEY ARE NO DEVELOPING A CURRICULUM AND A PROGRAM SO THAT THE STUDENTS CAN CONTINUE THEIR STUDIES IN MEXICO. SO YOU’RE STARTING TO SEE A CHAIN EFFECT OF THIS, AND THE KIDS ARE THE ONES WHO DESERVE THE CREDIT BECAUSE THEY’RE THE ONES WHO ARE SPEAKING UP AND ORGANIZING THEMSELVES. I WOULD ARGUE IN MANY WAYS BASED ON WHAT THEY WHERE TAUGHT IN THE U.S., THE SELF-SUFFICIENCY, AND THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM, THOSE ARE AMERICAN VALUES THEY CAN NOW GO BACK AND INFLUENCE OTHER PEOPLE WITH.
Jose: I KNOW ONE OF THE PURPOSES OF THE DOCUMENTARY WAS TO SHOW PEOPLE WHAT’S HAPPENING. IN MANY RESPECTS, IN THE BEGINNING, WHEN YOU SEE THEM UPROOTED SO FORCEFULLY FROM THEIR AMERICAN SITUATION, YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT. ANY CONCERN, THOUGH, THAT BECAUSE THEY SEEM TO HAVE ADJUSTED OKAY PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SAY, WELL, WE DON’T NEED TO HAVE A DREAM ACT BECAUSE THEY CAN GO BACK IS AND THEY’LL BE JUST FINE.
Castilla: YOU KNOW, IT’S A GREAT QUESTION. THE REALITY IS THAT OKAY AND THEY HAVE ADJUSTED IS VERY RELEVANT. THESE ARE KIDS WHO ARE MAKING THE MOST OUT OF VERY LITTLE, PEOPLE WHOSE FAMILIES HAVE BROKEN APART, WHO ARE SUFFERING A GREAT DEAL ON A DAILY BASIS. SOME OF THEM HAVEN’T SEEN THEIR FAMILIES IN A DECADE. AND WHAT WE, THE QUESTION THAT WE’RE ASKING IS AS AMERICANS, AS PEOPLE WHO HAVE CREATED A SYSTEM TO INTEGRATE IMMIGRANTS, WHAT ARE THOSE VALUES ARE STILL IMPORTANT TO US? WHAT IN THOSE VALUES IS STILL IMPORTANT?
Jose: YOU REALLY CAN’T SAY THAT THEY’RE BETTER OFF BECAUSE IT IS PRETTY TOUGH.
Castilla: THERE DEFINITELY ARE, IS SOME WHO HAVE FOUND CALLINGS THAT MAYBE THEY HAVE NOT FOUND BECAUSE OF MATURATION, OR BECAUSE OF THE CONSEQUENCES, BUT THE GREAT MAJORITY HAVE HAD TO SUFFER A GREAT DEAL FOR THIS. YOU COULD ARGUE THAT THEIR NEW REALITY IS A SHADE OF WHAT IT COULD BE OVER HERE, AND FOR OUR OWN BENEFIT IN THE COUNTRY.
Jose: THANK YOU SO MUCH, CARLOS, FOR JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THIS AMAZING DOCUMENTARY. I UNDERSTAND YOU WON SOME AWARD, WE DON’T HAVE TIME TO GO INTO THAT, BUT THANK YOU.
Castilla: THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT AND THANK YOU TO PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO HELP US IN THE JOURNEY.
Jose: THANK YOU.
Jose: COMING UP NEXT, THE SEPERATION OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN AT THE BORDER, AND THE CALL FOR CONGRESS TO ACT ON IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION.

“Other Dreamers” is a documentary that focuses on how Dreamers from the U.S. are forced to go back to their birth place through deportation or other circumstances.

President Donald Trump’s deadline on DACA has come and gone as Congress and Dreamers wait for a resolution in the courts. Lawmakers have paused their legislative efforts, and DACA recipients are in a constant state of uncertainty.

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In this segment:

Carlo Castilla: Executive Producer, "Other Dreamers"

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