First came the illegal immigrants on the Mayflower (1620) and hundreds of other rickety ships.
Then came the United States of America, 156 years later.
Like it or not, illegal immigration is an inalienable part of our heritage.
If you pore deep into our history, you can’t but smell the sweat of our illegal forbears, or hear their different tongues or see their skins of a thousand shades.
And the hungry hordes still keep pouring on to our shores.
Desperate to escape the grinding poverty of their native lands, they come mostly by walk across the dangerous Southern desert, occasionally on leaky boats from Haiti and frequently by plane too.
Today there are an estimated 15 million-20 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.
Illegal immigrants in the U.S. come from every nook of the world including our own India (unlike the amigos who come by crossing the southern border, our desis usually end up as illegal immigrants by overstaying their visas).
But the present-day illegal immigrants in the U.S hail mostly from Latin America. As a group, they are often disparagingly referred to as Mexicans. You can see them in Los Angeles at the Norwalk station, in Virginia outside the Home Depot stores and huddled in groups in Suffolk County of Long Island.
Theirs is a tragic story, of life in the shadows without IDs, with false Social Security Numbers, a constant nagging fear of being deported by the immigration agents and exploitation by unscrupulous elements round them.
Given their plight, is it any surprise then that movie-makers find the story of illegal immigrants fertile ground and compelling material.
Directed by Patricia Riggen, the Spanish language La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon) is one such effort.
Released in 2007, La Misma Luna is the story of an illegal immigrant Rosario (Kate del Castillo) in the U.S. and her son Carlitos (Adrian Alonso) who remains at home in Mexico.
We’ll update this post after watching the 109-minute movie.
Overall, a decent but definitely not a must-watch movie.
We thought Adrian Alonso who plays the young Mexican kid Carlitos coming to the United States illegally in search of his mother did a good job.
The sexy and pretty Kate del Castillo, who plays his mother Rosario is alright.
After the death of his grandmother, nine-year-old Carlitos decides to head to Los Angeles to be with his mother Rosario.
Much to the distress of both, mother and son have been parted for four years.
But the journey is perilous, particularly for a young boy traveling alone and without legal documents.
Under the Same Moon provides a small peek into the lives of the illegal immigrants, from their entry into the U.S. to the struggle and exploitation inherent in their day-to-day existence.
We think the reality for illegal immigrants in the U.S. is far harsher than depicted in this movie.