Andrew Weissman poised to open The Luxury in addition to two more restaurants

Andrew Weissman poised to open The Luxury in addition to two more restaurants

Food & Drink: In the last few years, San Antonio has seen an exponential rise in the number of quality restaurant offerings, several of... By Diana Roberts 2/27/2013
How Weed Advocates Hope to Spark Legalization in Texas

How Weed Advocates Hope to Spark Legalization in Texas

News: Less than a mile from the Whatcom County Courthouse and even closer to Bellingham High School sits Top Shelf Cannabis, the first store to open and operate after... By Mark Reagan 8/13/2014
Hall & Oates Singer Hated the Late ’80s, Too

Hall & Oates Singer Hated the Late ’80s, Too

Music: It’s hard for musical duos to survive. Garfunkel felt slighted, Cher never needed Sonny and the Captain could never get a word in edgewise with Tennile. When... By Chris Parker 2/19/2014
Phô Nguyen Woos Phonatics

Phô Nguyen Woos Phonatics

Food & Drink: I don’t expect much from Vietnamese restaurants in the way of decor; it’s more not Chinese and not Japanese than anything. I certainly don’t expect... By Ron Bechtol 8/27/2014
Hot Joy’s Here to Stay

Hot Joy’s Here to Stay

Food & Drink: Since its inception more than two years ago as one of the first true pop-ups in the city, Hot Joy’s been a hit. Maybe it was the The Monterey’s... By Jessica Elizarraras 5/28/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email


PBS Documentary Focuses Immigration Debate on Mass Migrant Deaths

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Don’t mistake The Undocumented as another contribution to the bitter, polarizing dialogue on illegal immigration and immigration reform. Rather, it is an austere adjustment, working to redirect the debate to a moral center: migrant deaths.

Since 1998, more than 2,000 dead bodies have been found in the Arizona Sonora Desert, and the annual toll increases every year. The Undocumented is a memorial to the many cases of John and Jane Does who perished on their way to the United States.

These are the bones of a mother and her 13-year-old daughter,” says the unidentified Pima County Medical Examiner in one of the most sobering scenes of the doc.

It is a three- to five-day trek on foot, roughly 60 miles, from the Mexican border to Tucson, Ariz. Hundreds of trails criss-cross the desert. The border crossers — men, women, children, and seniors — may be told by their coyote that it’s only a 13-hour trip, two days maximum. They bring only a gallon or two of water. If they cross in the summer, desert temperatures routinely exceed 105 degrees. A person becomes dehydrated, stops sweating, gets sick, and is left behind by the group. Most often, he or she dies of heat stroke.

Director Marco Williams says that the core of his intentions is to humanize the dead.

“I believe that if you see a face you cannot help but to feel something, perhaps care,” he said. In this film, we see the faces and the bodies of the dead, what the sun can do to a human, and the people who make up the statistics and rising bar graphs, as well as their families. While the images are explicit, the tone is reverent with compassion.

The film weaves four perspectives around the perished migrants: the Border Patrol, the Pima County medical examiner, the Mexican Consulate, and the families. The undocumented are the missing, unidentified dead. The documentary uncovers the surprising diligence of the authorities and their determined efforts to recover the remains, identify them, and return them to their families in Mexico.

Border Patrol agents split their time apprehending people who are crossing illegally, saving some from heat stroke, searching for reported missing persons, and retrieving found bones and corpses. The Pima County medical examiner is committed to treating each case equally as they would a U.S. citizen to determine the cause of death and to identify the person.

“You can do nothing for the dead,” said the county’s medical examiner. “You can only help the living.”

In conjunction with the documentary, Williams plans to launch an interactive website, It won’t be complete by the program’s broadcast, but in the works is “The Map of the Missing,” an interactive map that will highlight locations where some have died and provide images of the personal effects that they brought. He is also working with Games for Change ( and Gigantic Mechanic ( to develop “The Migrant Trail,” a game that will connect players to a 76-mile walk from Sasabe, Mexico to Tucson, Arizona to raise awareness and protest migrant deaths.

The border fences were built in the 1990s to seal the traditional crossing points for migrants, forcing them to traverse the desert. Officials anticipated that migrants would die in the desert, and their death would serve as a deterrent for illegal crossing. Fifteen years later, this is not the case. Migrant deaths increase every year. The Undocumented is a call to abandon this strategy and factor migrant fatalities in the debate on immigration reform.

The Undocumented

9pm Mon, April 29
KLRN, PBS’s Independent Lens

Recently in Screens & Tech
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus