'The Infiltrators' Exposed Realities Of Deportation, Then Its Star Was Deported

Oct 21, 2019

Since President Donald Trump was elected, there has been an increased focus on the fate of undocumented immigrants in the United States. But long before Trump’s ascendancy to the presidency, the U.S. had ramped up deportation efforts. And in 2012, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance decided to fight these deportations from the inside.

The film, The Infiltrators, is part documentary and part recreation of what happened when a group of undocumented immigrants decided to turn themselves into a detention center for deportees and help people get out. 

"We're going to somebody to talk about the truth. And they need to be protected and be able to say, 'this is the truth,' without a government or an individual being able to come after them for telling the truth."

Marco Saavedra and Viridiana are the two undocumented immigrants who turned themselves in to the Broward Transitional Center, which was a detention center for deportees (it has since closed). Once he entered the deportation center Saavedra enlisted Claudio Rojas, a man facing deportation, whose son had asked the National Immigrant Youth Alliance for help.

After the premiere of The Infiltrators, Rojas was detained and deported — something the filmmakers claim is retaliation for Rojas' participation in the film. Now, Saavedra is also facing deportation. Darren Dean, of the producers of the film, says this impedes the ability for documentarians and journalists to expose hard truths in our country. 

He explains, "We’re going to somebody to talk about the truth. And they need to be protected and be able to say ‘this is the truth’ without a government or an individual being able to come after them for telling the truth."

The Infiltrators is part of this year's Milwaukee Film Festival. It has a screening at the festival on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. at the Jan Serr Studio Cinema.