As part of a series of short films commissioned by Translingual strand, this latest production from Valeria Luongo and Ryhs Aaron Lewis explores the lives of the Mexican migrant community living in Chicago.

Sin Papeles (English: Undocumented) is a collaborative film directed by Valeria Luongo and Rhys Aaron Lewis. The film, set in 2017, follows Joseph Josue Mora, an undocumented Mexican immigrant living in Chicago, observing how the Mexican-American community will be affected by the President’s decision to cancel DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) a programme which had guaranteed protection to certain illegal migrants who had arrived to the country as children. Joseph Josue Mora is a young artist who has lived in the USA almost his whole life. In the film he travels through Chicago’s large Mexican neighbourhoods, meeting with friends and locals and discussing how they will move forward. Language plays a central role in the film, as a marker for the Mexican American identity in Chicago. Spanish, the language spoken by the first generation of Mexicans arrived to the US is transmitted and learnt by the second or third generations. In the situation of the DACA community bilingualism is an additional proof of their status: they identify themselves as both American and Mexican.

You can watch more films commissioned as part of this project by visiting the University of Manchester’s OWRI project website.