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Broken immigration system brought to light in documentary

No matter which side of the fence South Carolina residents fall on with regard to immigration reform, it has become clear that things will not be okay remaining status quo. It is estimated that over 1,000 immigrants are deported every day in the United States. Over the last five years, nearly two million immigrants have been deported. This may be one of the reasons behind a documentary that will air on CNN sometime this year entitled, "Documented."

The filmmaker describes himself as gay and an undocumented Filipino-American. He was sent to America at the age of 12 by his mother, who remains in the Philippines. He has not seen her since then. She has been denied a tourist visa and is currently awaiting a family visa to enter the United States.

Vargas's documentary asks Americans to think twice about what it truly means to be American. Does one's residency status indicate that they are truly "American?" Immigration reform may happen and the politics behind immigration and citizenship may shift. The filmmaker feels, however, that our culture must undergo a genuine shift in their attitude. This attitude shift must be in the way undocumented immigrants and their place in society is viewed. Until that time, immigration will remain a complicated, frustrating and divisive issue in the United States.

Immigration can be linked to social reform in areas such as gay rights. Laws will change as attitudes change. Attitudes will change as laws change. One thing is clear is that whatever happens first, reform is coming. Documentaries like this will help shed light on the issue of immigration for those who may not have chosen to educate themselves with the current state of the law. Additionally, the documentary may allow those that have felt one way towards immigration to be open enough to see things in an entirely new light from both a legal and social standpoint.

While most immigrants strive to be a legal permanent resident, those who have personally struggled or have family members who have struggled know how difficult a task this can be. When it comes to immigration, there are many time-sensitive deadlines and strict formalities that must be followed in order to obtain various types of visas.

Source: CNN News, "Jose Antonio Vargas: Why I made 'Documented'," Jose Antonio Varga, March 13, 2014

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