Skip to Content
East of Salinas: A Story of Immigration, Childhood and Circumstance cover image

East of Salinas: A Story of Immigration, Childhood and Circumstance 2015

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547; 800-543-FROG (3764)
Produced by Laura Pacheco & Jackie Mow
Directed by Laura Pacheco & Jackie Mow
DVD , color, 53 min.

High School - General Adult
Social Sciences, Political Science, Criminal Justice

Date Entered: 08/15/2017

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

East of Salinas is a documentary that not only illustrates obvious challenges of migrant farm workers but also points out the harsh realities of being parents at the same time. Awarded the Cesar Chavez Human Rights Award in early 2016, this documentary brings home the constant fear, misunderstanding and continuing national debate over ‘undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens.’ It combines several important issues currently under debate in America today: immigration, education, employment, healthcare and access to food.

Undocumented migrant workers and their families are exposed to the possibility of being arrested. Many live in gang-infested and dilapidated areas, putting their children at risk. East of Salinas follows the story of Jose Anzaldo an eight-year-old undocumented child and his dream of becoming a productive citizen of the United States. He is bright and eager to learn. His exposure to the positive aspects of education are evident. His mother is a migrant worker in the fields of Salinas Valley, California. Jaime, Jose’s stepdad, works in Yuma, Arizona a 12-hour drive from their home. The fear of arrest by immigration agents and its consequences is evident for both these parents. Mexican schoolteacher Oscar Ramos, who teaches at the local school, is aware of the hardships the parents of these children currently face to make a better life. He too is a Mexican whose parents, though U.S. citizens, were also exposed to these same adversities. Many children like Jose have a desire to learn. This is a thought-provoking film that puts real people in the cross hairs of an ongoing debate.