“U.S. immigration policy continues to be one of the most divisive political issues in America—even more so following Donald Trump’s election as president—making filmmaker Francisco Alarcon’s documentary a timely one. The Deportation of Innocence captures the effect of deportation procedures on families who are literally torn apart—children who witness parents being arrested and removed from their homes, and parents who are not only separated from their children but could also lose them to foster care and even adoption. Four immigrant families are the primary focus here, with kids and adults testifying to the impact that the experience has had on their lives. They act as witnesses to a system that might require children born in the U.S. to renounce their American citizenship and emigrate to Mexico to be reunited with deported parents(and then face the difficulty of integrating into an unfamiliar society), or make parents go through complicated legal requirements in order to be reunited with children taken into custody by the U.S. government (a process that can take up to two years). The documentary also includes contextual background information from immigration experts such as Professor David Fitzgerald of the University of California at San Diego, as well as personal reflections from people who work with immigrant families, including social worker Mary Galvan; Father Patrick Murphy, who directs a migrant shelter in Tijuana; and lawyer Daniel Bribiesca, who tries to reunite affected families. Alarcon’s poignant film raises the question of how seriously we take the concept of family. Recommended. Aud: C, P. (F. Swietek).”

-Video Librarian Vol. 32


“Since the early 2000s, the United States government has deported almost 4 million immigrants. Over half of those immigrants are parents who are forced to separate from their children, or whose U.S.-born children must give up their birthright to return to Mexico in order to remain a unified family. A poignant and powerful documentary film,The Deportation of Innocence tells the stories of Mexican immigrant families who have been separated and displaced due to the U.S.’s broken immigration policies. Filmed in New York City, Southern California and Tijuana, the ground-breaking film gives voice to those most impacted and least heard in the public debates over the so-called immigration crisis: Latino parents and their children.”

-Alejandra Marchevsky, Ph.D.
Department of Liberal Studies
Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
California State University, Los Angeles

“The documentary, The Deportation of Innocence, directed by Francisco Alarcon, draws from the collective knowledge of experts, practitioners, and advocates in the field of immigration, to offer a poignant and powerful account of the often forgotten and misrepresented faces of undocumented and mixed-status families in the U.S. This thoughtful and revealing documentary probes the contradictory statements and actions of U.S. politicians and their draconian immigration policies that fragment families and leave irreversible scars for the countless children affected by short-sighted deportation decisions. With tremendous care and great insight, The Deportation of Innocence captures the voices of those fighting on the front lines of deportation: the families, the migrant and immigrant advocates, the immigration scholars and shelter directorst hat battle the daily injustices directed against family members deported across the U.S.-Mexico border. These experts collectively narrate the devastating toll that deportation has on children who witness their parents’ deportation or who they themselves, are uprooted from everything they call ‘home’ and forced to relocate to a country they know little about. The Deportation of Innocence reaches into Mexico to expose the underbelly of the broken U.S. immigration system and the excess of violence that children endure, while narrating the story from both sides.

Cynthia Bejarano, Ph.D.Regents ProfessorCollege of Arts and Sciences Stan Fulton Endowed ChairDepartment of Interdisciplinary Studies/Women’s StudiesPrincipal Investigator, College Assistance Migrant ProgramNew Mexico State University.