I have been reading with great interest the heart-wrenching stories of children, unaccompanied minors, who end up here in the United States, most of whom are from Central America. It’s hard enough when you end up in a new country and have your family with you. But for many of these kids, they’re here along; so many of them no longer have a family. The primary reason they end up here in the United States is due to the civil war going on in their native lands. They have lost their homes, separated from their families, and in many instances, their parents and siblings were slain. It’s a sad and poignant story. Many of these young people end up here as a product of a human trafficking enterprise as a stow-away in pursuit of the American dream.
America has long been viewed as an immigrant nation, touted by all as the Land of the Free. Estimates indicate a shift; as the current trend continues, we won’t likely see as many immigrants from Europe as in years past but rather, an increase of immigrants from Latin America, Central America, and South America. If you want to see a story that breaks it down, then you must check out the documentary, Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America. This illustrates it beautifully.
From the producers, Harvest of Empire “provides a rare and powerful glimpse into the enormous sacrifices and rarely-noted triumphs of our nation’s growing Latino community. The film features present day immigrant stories, rarely seen archival material, as well as interviews with such respected figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz, Mexican historian Dr. Lorenzo Meyer, journalists María Hinojosa and Geraldo Rivera, Grammy award-winning singer Luis Enrique, and poet Martín Espada.”
When you think of the history and back story for these young people, it really causes you to re-evaluate the things you choose to call a problem in your own life. Can you imagine migrating to a new country as a young child without your parents, oftentimes without any familial connections, blending into the fabric of society — hiding out– because if the truth is ever uncovered, you risk being deported? It’s a troubling road ahead.
Harvest of Empire debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and won a Best Film award for archival footage. The full documentary is available on Youtube for rent or purchase. You can also find it at your favorite retailer, such as Amazon.com, or get it from the film’s production company. Here is the trailer.