Access a list of select published books on deportation. The books are listed in reverse chronological order and include a link to the publisher’s website and a brief description.
Films & Documentaries
Here is a select list of films and documentaries whose focus is deportation and post-deportation. We are sure there are many more films on this topic – please share your favorites with us!
- Sentenced Home (2007): Sentenced Home follows three young Cambodian Americans through the deportation process. But, as “permanent residents,” the refugees (residing in Seattle) were not afforded the same protections as American citizens. For some, this means being permanently separated from families and homes because of a minor offense—such as the case of Loeun Lun, who fired a gun in the air as a teenager to protect himself from a gang attack. Told through interweaving stories, in the voices of the deportees, their families and friends, Sentenced Home explores what it’s like to be deported along with the social, historical and political reasons behind the deportees’ fate. Along with family man Loeun Lun, who fights to stay together with his wife and children from behind bars and across oceans, audiences will meet former gang member Kim Ho Ma, who struggles to come to terms with his identity in a country he doesn’t understand. Also introduced is an introspective Many Uch, who looks to redeem himself by taking advantage of what time he has left in the U.S. to give today’s Cambodian American youth something he never had—the ability to play little-league baseball. Sentenced Home follows Lun and Kim Ho Ma all the way to Cambodia. There Lun begins building a tiny shack for himself amidst rice paddies, while Kim Ho tries to contain his anger and frustration at U.S. immigration law, and the lack of opportunity in the city of Phnom Penh. Meanwhile, as Many Uch leads his baseball team, inspiring members of the Seattle community to re-think their negative opinions of the deportees, his own deportation status hangs in the balance of an unblinking legal system increasingly deemed unfair.
- Tony & Janina’s Wedding (2010): Tony & Janina’s American Wedding is a feature length documentary that gets to the heart of the broken, red tape ridden U.S. immigration system. After 18 years in America, Tony and Janina Wasilewski’s family is torn apart when Janina is deported back to Poland, taking their 6 year old son Brian with her. Set on the backdrop of the Chicago political scene, and featuring Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez at the heart of the immigration reform movement, this film follows the Wasilewski’s 3-year struggle to be reunited, as their Senator Barack Obama rises to the Presidency. With a fresh perspective on the immigration conversation, this film tells the untold human rights story of Post-9/11, that every undocumented immigrant in America faces today, with the power to open the conversation for change.
- Special Flight (Vol Special) (2011): Special Flight is a dramatic account of the plight of undocumented foreigners at the Frambois detention center in Geneva, Switzerland, and of the wardens who struggle to reconcile humane values with the harsh realities of a strict deportation system. The 25 Frambois inmates featured are among the thousands of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants imprisoned without charge or trial and facing deportation to their native countries, where they fear repression or even death. The film, made in Switzerland, is a heart-wrenching exposé of the contradictions between the country’s compassionate social policies and the intractability of its immigration laws.
- Nowhere Home (2012): In 2009, the Norwegian government introduced several measures to restrict immigration. One of the measures is to grant temporary residence permits to unaccompanied children seeking asylum. At the age of 18, they are to be returned to their country of origin. In Norway, the Child Welfare takes custody of children without close caregivers – but this does not apply to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children between the age of 15 and 18 years. In Nowhere Home we get to know Goli from Kurdistan. He was deported from Norway the day after he turned 18 and we follow him as he embarks on a new flight. The brothers Hasan and Husein are from Afghanistan.
- Last Chance (2012): This feature documentary tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever.
- The World Is Like That (Le Monde Est Comme Ça) (2013): The World is Like That explores the destiny of five of the protagonists in the film Special Flight after being deported from Switzerland. Being paperless migrants, they were uprooted from their host country and torn away from their children. Back in Senegal, Kosovo, Gambia and Cameroon, they found themselves totally destitute, excluded from their families and sometimes even tortured. This film is an intimate portrait of these broken men bearing witness to the brutality of the migration policy in Switzerland and in Europe.
- Sin Fronteras (2014): What happens to the Mexican deported once they are sent back home’ The amazing achievement of Sergio Tamai, founder of Angeles Sin Fronteras, who has created one of the most efficient shelters for the deported in Mexicali.
- At Home in the World (2014): Ali is scared by his nightmares. His classmate, Magomed, is coping quietly with the prospect of his father’s deportation. These are the everyday concerns at the Red Cross school for refugee children in Denmark, where kids from across the world study whilst awaiting the outcomes of their asylum claims. Multi-award winning filmmaker Andreas Koefoed intimately portrays ordinary children in extraordinary circumstances. Stunning cinematography and an unobtrusive sensibility allow the students’ resilience and their teachers’ empathy to take centre stage. *Preceded by Malak and Mustapha, two short films produced by Dovana Films
- Abrazos (2015): Abrazos tells the story of the transformational journey of a group of U.S. citizen children who travel 3,000 miles, from Minnesota to Guatemala, to meet their grandparents for the first time. After being separated for nearly two decades, these families are able to share stories, strengthen traditions, and begin to reconstruct their cultural identity.
- Detained (2015): Detained is an absorbing observation from within a Swedish immigration detention centre for rejected asylum seekers. The film follows detainees and staff over the course of a summer. A mother separated from her children faces deportation, a young man waits for his life to begin, and staff members struggle with the impersonal bureaucracy required of their job. With great sensibility to its characters and environment, Detained depicts the silent psychological horror faced by those held in modern detention centres and questions this crucial, global phenomenon.
- Indivisible (2015): Indivisible is a high-definition, feature-length documentary film about the real people at the heart of our nation’s immigration debate. Renata, Evelyn, and Antonio were young children when their parents brought them to the U.S. in search of a better life; they were teenagers when their mothers, fathers, and siblings were deported. Today, they are known as Dreamers. Indivisible takes place at a pivotal moment in their lives, as they fight for a pathway to citizenship and a chance to be reunited with their loved ones. Frustrated with the stalled legislative process, the trio take matters into their own hands and petition for a special waiver that would allow them to leave the U.S to visit their families—and legally return. With the future of immigration reform uncertain, the three do not know if their trips are a once in a lifetime experience, or the beginning of true family reunification.
- Chasing Asylum (2015): Chasing Asylum exposes the real impact of Australia’s offshore detention policies and explores how ‘The Lucky Country’ became a country where leaders choose detention over compassion and governments deprive the desperate of their basic human rights. The film features never before seen footage from inside Australia’s offshore detention camps, revealing the personal impact of sending those in search of a safe home to languish in limbo. Chasing Asylum explores the mental, physical and fiscal consequences of Australia’s decision to lock away families in unsanitary conditions hidden from media scrutiny, destroying their lives under the pretext of saving them.
- Needed but Unwanted: Haitians in the Dominican Republic (2016): In this film, IRIN tells the stories of people like Wendy Batista, a 17-year-old of Haitian descent who can’t comprehend why, since he was born in the Dominican Republic and has lived there all his life, the government won’t give him papers and allow him to become a citizen. Evelin Perez Matos describes how her Haitian-born husband was abruptly deported last summer, leaving her to raise six children alone. “I don’t know if he’ll return,” she says. “I know nothing.” Others, like Edowane Pierre-Paul, fled to Haiti when the Dominican Republic began clamping down on those without formal status last June and now raise their families in tents in squalid border camps. Experts say the Dominican Republic’s policy amounts to a gross human rights violation, while the government says it has every right to control who is allowed to live in the country.
- Deportation Class (2016): They come in the night, tear families from their sleep, give them just enough time to pack and put them on a plane: this is the role of the so-called ‘transportation commandos’ comprising police officers and immigration officials. Last year, over 22,000 failed asylum seekers were deported from Germany. The documentary DEPORTATION CLASS presents a comprehensive view of this state enforcement measure for the first time: from detailed planning in the office to night-time operations at asylum seeker accommodation blocks and the arrival of asylum seekers back in their respective homelands – and the question of what awaits them there. Following extensive research, the film crew led by Carsten Rau and Hauke Wendler were present at a collective deportation in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. A project favoured by Interior Minister Lorenz Caffier who was present in person at the deportations. Haunting, moving images unlike anything seen before, repeated week after week as hundreds of asylum seekers are flown out, mostly to the Balkans. Two years ago, Rau and Wendler documented how Germany reacted to these new arrivals in their hit film ‘Willkommen auf Deutsch’. With DEPORTATION CLASS, they show where things lead as the mood shifts against the refugees. As more and more countries are declared to be ‘safe countries of origin’ and basic rights are restricted. The film depicts these ‘returnees’ as people with dignity and their own opinions.
- Exiled (2017): EXILED tells the stories of two deported US military veterans living in Tijuana. Stuck in Mexico, Army combat veteran Mauricio Hernandez struggles to find adequate treatment for his severe PTSD, while former paratrooper Hector Barajas fights to reunite with his daughter in LA, and raise awareness about deported veterans.
- The Deportation of Innocence (2017): What happens to children when their parents are deported from the United States? The Deportation of Innocence is a documentary in search of answers to this very question.