The world of Marisol Riviera comes crashing down when she finds out about her being an illegal immigrant in America. The hopes of a girl full of dreams about a better future are crushed under the brutal machinery of the law. Kevin Abrams, who directed the film, kept it simple and did not sugarcoat the issue of racism in the United States. The satisfactory acting skills of Esmeralda Camargo, Liana Mendoza, Ricky Catter, and others have been an important aspect, making the film stand out. The movie keeps us wondering about the atrocities that the refugees have to face on a regular basis. Some other similar films circling the aspect of the refugee crisis include First They Killed My Father, Beasts of No Nation, Refugee, and others among the top-notch. What happens to Marisol? Does she keep running from the government, or does she give in? Let us have a look at her journey!
What Happens In The Film?
After having received a call for an interview at the University of California, Marisol is thrilled and expresses it to her aunt Carmen and her friend Helen. She is shown to have no contact with her mother for some unknown reason at the beginning, which unfolds later. We see Justin, the guy in charge of the list of university placements at Marisol’s school, stalking her. She later goes to a party with her friend to celebrate and bumps into Justin again. Later in the same party, she gets into an altercation with her cousin, Jaime, and Justin jumps to her rescue just to impress her. That backfires when Marisol accidentally burns Justin’s hand with a firecracker. He gets furious and threatens to get her deported, as he has checked her reports and knows that she is an illegal resident there. Marisol is devastated to learn that she is an illegal immigrant. She cross-checks with her aunt and is confirmed about it when she says that she was just a child when they came. She is also told by her aunt not to return home as the police are out on a search for her.
She flees the place and hides in Eduardo’s stable, and is found by him. He decides to help her by sending her to a shelter for immigrants in Minneapolis. She is seen wandering from one center to another in search of shelter and food. The helpless state of the immigrants in America is showcased when Marisol sees a woman suffering epileptic seizures at the shelter, and nobody even dares to call a doctor. Her family back at home also suffers, as they are struggling to get legal aid to bring Marisol back. Further investigations into the family led to her aunt being arrested. She seeks refuge in a woman named Lily’s house in Kansas, whose parents were also deported. She later asks Lily to take her to Rustwater at her mother’s place, and on reaching there, she learns that her mother has left the place. She then goes to another center, where she stays for a while, and then the place gets surrounded by cops, and they detain all the residents. She somehow manages to flee the place but decides to come back and surrender.
While she is on the run, Justin Brooks finds all the ways to bring her down. He makes posts on social media about the incident and receives a lot of support from the legal citizens. He also goes to the extent of breaking a bottle on Jaime’s head and fleeing the scene. We see Jaime and Marisol being brought to the police station together. Hector Ramirez gives Justin the option to withdraw his complaint against Marisol so that his sentence can be reduced, and he agrees. Before the formalities of the charges are completed, we see Officer Shepherd coming in to deport Marisol.
Why Do We Not See Marisol’s Mother Throughout The Film?
We see Marisol texting her mother, letting her know about all her achievements and problems, but there is no response from the other end. It might have been possible that she had deserted Marisol to get rid of all her motherly duties. The case could have also been such that her mother had been deported, which made her lose all contact with her daughter and the family. We see throughout the film the urge of Marisol to reunite with her mother, only leading to her disappointment.
How Does Illegal Immigration Affect America?
We see the financial strain that Justin is under because his father is unemployed. He is forced to work part-time as an administrator at the school. When Justin’s father sees a bruise on his hand, he says that they can no longer afford medical treatment, so he should be more careful. Justin also noticed an unemployment form that his father was filling out, which he helped print out. It is possible that the current scenario of unemployment in America has made the residents hostile to illegal immigrants. In certain cases, they are of the opinion that their bread and butter are being snatched away by them. The hatred among the legal residents sets a fire of hatred on the internet against the illegal residents when Justin makes a post about the incident. Someone on the internet even calls them “illegal aliens”!
What Becomes Of Marisol At The End?
Marisol is deported by ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) at the end of the film. Despite her surrendering and deciding to come back, we see a tragic end to the story. Officer Ramirez tries to help her out, but all his efforts are in vain. He cannot keep the promise that he made to Marisol. Marisol leaves behind all her belongings in America only to be sent to a center for illegal immigrants, from where the process of immigration would take place. We see her looking at the scholarship award that she had received and hopelessly reaching out to grab a beam of light as a last resort in her hope of leading a better life in another country.
The simple storyline has a very deep-rooted message associated with it, regarding the problems of illegal immigration faced by many all across the world. So many dreams and careers of innocent people are crushed so ruthlessly under thoughtless regimes. However, there were certain missing links in the film that kept us wondering. Who was Marisol’s mother? What happens to Marisol after being deported? We deserved a peek into the life of Marisol’s mother and what had happened to her. Incidents in her mother’s life could have been accessed through flashbacks that Aunt Carmen could find herself having, which was avoided. Is she able to lead a good life in another country? Is she able to complete her education? We are left with so many questions. A question as to whether the director is ever to create a sequel, portraying the life of Marisol and her new challenges in another country, still remains.