Documentary shares stories of immigrants

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter


EIU Students for Peace and Justice showcased their original documentary “I am Migration” Thursday night, which revealed several unnamed immigrants’ stories of struggle and hardship they endured while migrating from their home countries.

The main message behind the film was to show immigrants who come to the United States are here for a better life.

Brenda Cuellar, a member of SPJ, is a former U.S. Director at the Migrant Resource Center in Sonora, Mexico.

She said the top three reasons why people leave their home countries to go to the U.S. are to flee poverty, violence and a corrupt government.

One of the men in the stories said he walked through the desert to Houston for four days and stayed inside of a warehouse for four days.

Another man walked for two days and one night to make it to the U.S.

Cuellar said these people would not risk walking through the desert for multiple days in extreme weather if the conditions they are living in are not worth escaping.

Around half the population of Mexico lives in poverty, according to statistics in the documentary.

Less than five percent of the U.S. workforce is made up of undocumented immigrants, the documentary said, and the undocumented immigrants are filling the void of unwanted jobs in agriculture and labor.

Another man in the documentary said he came to the U.S. so his children could have the opportunity to receive a good education, because he was unable to receive one in Mexico as a child. He said he wanted them to have a better life.

SPJ adviser Doris Nordin said she came to the U.S. from Monterrey, Mexico in 2002 and got her work permit and residence card two years later. In 2012, she became a U.S. citizen.

Nordin said she befriended a few people when when she moved to Charleston. She took one of her new friends to Walmart to purchase ingredients for a dish she was cooking.

When Nordin showed him two different products and asked his opinion, he did not reply until she read the labels to him. It turns out her friend was not literate and only went to school until first grade.

He told his father he did not want to go to school because his teacher was mean, and his father allowed him to stay home to work in the fields.

Nordin said she told the audience the story of her friend who could not read and has been working since he was a little boy, because it is the story of millions of people.

A man in the documentary said he went to school only until fourth grade, so he worked with the skills he had.

Chelsea Picken, a member of SPJ, said immigrants are just like us.

“Most come here for family members, for their kids and for what we consider basic human needs,” Picken said.

Cuellar said if American citizens do not help address the problems like violence and poverty in Latin America, immigration problems also will not get solved.

Cuellar suggested Americans can help the poverty situation in Mexico through buying from free-trade companies, such as Just Coffee Cooperative.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].