Plight of immigrants shown in film series

On Thursday, April 12 Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary was shown as part of the Lutkus Immigration Film Series put together by Dr. Rose McEwen, director of Latin American studies at Geneseo.

The series premiered its first film on April 5 and may be repeated next year as well, according to McEwen. "I don't foresee the debate about immigration will be resolved in the near future," McEwen said. Sponsors of the series included, among others, the departments of anthropology, English, geography and history.

Two films have been presented by the series already; El Immigrante, directed by John Sheedy, and Wetback, directed by Arturo Perez Torres. Wetback, shown on April 12, follows two immigrants, Nayo and Milton, as they attempt to get to America from Nicaragua. El Immigrante, the first film shown as part of the series, was also about immigrants travelling to North America.

The next film shown will be De Nadie on April 19 at 7 p.m. in Newton 204. Tin Dirdamal, its producer and director, will introduce and discuss it. De Nadie, similar to its two counterparts, follows refugees on their journey to the United States.

Following this documentary, representatives from Geneseo's migrant center will introduce and discuss The Guest Worker on April 26, which is about 66- year-old Candelario, who comes to the U.S. every year to harvest crops.

Gretchen Rosales, a graduate student at the College said that, "The response was overwhelming." Showing the movie Wetback on Thursday was "sort of a way to create a stimulus for the students of Geneseo to go out and do something," she said.

Rosales spoke before the showing of Wetback, discussing the negative results the North American Free Trade Agreement has had on Mexican immigrants in terms of three factors-economy, environment and agriculture. Rosales said the movie "put a human face on immigration." Contrary to stereotypes, many immigrants who come to America illegally are hard-working men and women who merely wish to support their families. "It's important for people to understand that each immigrant who comes to this country has a right to dignity and that's really what the documentary tries to portray."

Of the other films which have been shown or will be shown as a part of the series, Rosales said, "They all offer an important look into what it's like to be an immigrant."