This PDF includes 8 discussion questions that your students should think about and answer before and after watching the 55-minute documentary film "The Other Side of Immigration." These questions were written by Professor Roy Germano, the film's director and a professor at New York University. More information about the film and where to see it can be found at http://www.theothersideofimmigration.com/faqs.html
This film and discussion questions are useful for social studies and Spanish language courses as well as diversity training workshops at organizations.
Roy Germano filmed The Other Side of Immigration in rural Mexico while conducting a survey of 700 families. The film explores the reasons why so many Mexicans have immigrated to the United States illegally and what happens to the families and communities these migrants leave behind. It is not a partisan or ideological film. Rather, the objective of the documentary is to provide your students with the often-neglected perspective of impoverished Mexican communities with high rates of out-migration to the US to advance understanding about why so many people migrate illegally. The film was named an American Library Association Notable Video and has screened at many dozens of colleges, universities, high schools, and government institutions.
We recommend that you ask your students to take some time to answer the first 4 questions as homework. The next day, we recommend that you carve out some time for students to discuss their responses. It is important that you allow students to express their true feelings about immigration before watching the film. These opinions may reflect some racist or xenophobic attitudes that students have picked up from home or in the community. As uncomfortable as it might feel, don't be afraid to have this discussion before watching the film.
After having this initial discussion with your students and getting a sense about where they stand on the immigration issue, show the film. After the film (either in class if there's time or that night as homework) students should think about the last 4 discussion questions and come to class the next day ready to discuss. We notice that the tone of the conversation changes--sometimes dramatically--after students have had a chance to watch the film and gain another perspective than the one they see and hear most often in the US media. Students now have information and tools for understanding Mexican immigration that they did not have before.