Synopsis by Mark Deming
The grim realities of illegal immigration in the American Southwest is the subject of this documentary from filmmaker Joseph Matthew. Since the '90s, the number of illegal aliens making their way into the United States from Mexico and Central America has been growing, with many crossing into America across the Arizona desert. The passage is a dangerous one, and hundreds of illegals have died en route due to heat exposure and dehydration. However, while there is a general agreement that this is a problem that must be dealt with, there are a wide variety of opinions about what should be done. On one hand, Mike Wilson is a Native American activist who scatters jugs of water along commonly used paths in the desert, believing most of the aliens are victims of economic circumstance and do not deserve to die. On the other end of the scale sits Chris Simcox, who has established a citizen patrol group called "the Minutemen" who guard the Mexico/Arizona border with their own weapons. Filmmaker Matthew allows a number of representatives from all sides of this debate to speak their mind and examines the political and social circumstances that have led to the wave of undocumented immigrants and the common concern that the death toll in the deserts must be stopped. Crossing Arizona premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
border [geographic], class-system, controversy, crisis, human-rights, immigration, Mexico, national-security, public-policy, vigilante