Independent Lens: The Undocumented

About This Episode


Marcos Hernandez lives and works in Chicago. He came to the United States from Mexico, after a life-threatening border crossing through the Sonora Desert in southern Arizona. Each month, he sends money to his mother in Mexico City to buy medicine for his brother, Gustavo, who needs a kidney transplant. But Marcos has another reason for coming to Chicago; he is searching for his father, Francisco, also an undocumented border crosser, who disappeared in the Sonora Desert while entering the U.S.

Chronicling Arizona’s deadliest summer months, award-winning filmmaker Marco Williams weaves Marcos’s search with the efforts of humanitarians and Border Patrol agents who are fighting to prevent migrant deaths, the medical investigators and Mexican Consulate workers who are trying to identify dead border crossers, and Mexican families who are struggling to accept the loss of a loved one.

In true cinéma vérité style, The Undocumented reveals the ongoing impact of immigration laws and economic policies on the very people who continue to be affected by them. By going beyond politics, the film also tells a story that is deeply personal.