|Location||United States of America|
“A Better Life” examines the effects of American immigration policy by documenting the experiences of three Mexican immigrants in the Chicagoland area. The film focuses primarily on Octavio “Gus” Salazar, who migrated to Rockford, Illinois in 1995, and uses this story, among others to approach this complex social question. In Rockford, Gus found stable employment, married an American woman, Pamela, and started a family. He was ultimately deported in 2003. In “A Better Life”, we also meet Luis Perez, a successful small business owner, whose path to citizenship began with the amnesty declared in 1986 for undocumented immigrants residing in the United States; Ivan, an undocumented worker who was kidnapped while crossing the border and held for ransom until freed by U.S. federal authorities; and Pamela, Octavio‘s ex-wife, whose struggles to raise her four children as a single mother are paralleled by Octavio’s efforts to earn a living and be a father to his estranged American family. We also explore the issue on a grander scale through interviews with the former head of the Chicago INS, the former head of the Illinois minutemen, former CPD detective Wayne Johnson, experts on immigration law, and famed newsman Bill Kurtis, who provides insight into how mass media depicts the immigration issue on a national scale. This film explores the paradoxical nature of immigration policy and how it impacts the lives of individual immigrants and their families.