Cesar Martinez Barba’s “Dial Home” Documents the Post-Deportation Lives of the Undocumented – Review

Over the past several years, the deportation of undocumented immigrants in America has been a topic that has been on the minds of many. From DACA to The Dreamers, many have tried to take a stand against these deportations and the effect that they can have on those who are forced to leave the country they call home. Cesar Martinez Barba, director of Dial Home, documents a world that many have not witnessed; as well as one that some may not understand. The documentary predominantly focuses on Oscar Cimota, a young man who was deported just a day after he and his wife lost their newborn child. After he arrived in Tijuana, he began working at a call centre. 

When those who have grown up in the United States are sent to a country they left as a child or were simply born in, many can struggle to acclimate to the new environment. These people may not have been “Americans” in the legal sense but, in many cases, they are more American than they are natives to whatever country their families moved from. 

Working at this call centre allows Cimota to make money for his family since many of the immigrants who are deported by ICE have skill sets that are useful in the American workplace but lack skills that are necessary in the Mexican, in this case, workplace. 

Dial Home highlights one of the most important things that many American lawmakers seem to forget when they deport immigrants, in particular children of immigrants, without a second thought: What happens when the lives of deportees have been completely rooted in the United States and American culture? Cesar Martinez Barba challenges viewers with this notion and provides a brief, but poignant, lense into the lives of those who are directly affected by American immigration laws. 

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