Synopsis by Mark Deming
In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a number of Americans began demanding stronger legislation regarding immigrants in the United States, calls that became more urgent when it became clear that the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service had been seriously lax in a number of cases of immigrants with criminal records. As if to compensate, the INS began cracking down with new force on suspect cases, but in many circumstances their actions were wildly out of proportion to the crimes committed (or suspected), and a number of families were being torn apart as deportation cases are thrown into limbo for years at a time. Filmmakers Pia Sawhney and Sanjna Singh examine several cases of immigrants at odds with the INS in the documentary Out Of Status. Sawhney and Singh's subjects include an immigrant from Pakistan who was held for over a month without bail on charges that proved to be false; an Egyptian émigré who has been fighting deportation while his wife is pregnant with their child; and a family from Bangladesh who fled to Canada rather than face further INS harassment. Out Of Status was screened in competition at the 2006 Rotterdam Film Festival.
deportation, false-accusation, harassment, immigration, immigration-official, suspect, terrorism