Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna)

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Office of Student Life and NPR Illinois Foreign & Independent Film Series cosponsored a showing and panel discussion for the film Under the Same Moon (or La Misma Luna). This ECCE credit presentation elicited tears, laughter, and heavy silence from the audience on Friday, September 20, as viewers followed the plight of the main characters from Mexico to Los Angeles.

Under the Same Moon tells the tale of an undocumented single mother, Rosario, who left Mexico to seek a better life while being able to financially support her child, Carlitos. He was living with her sick mother while she worked multiple jobs, both with the goal of one day being able to see each other again after years of being apart. There were many poignant twists and turns in the film and plenty of laughs to relieve the audience from suspenseful grief.

After the film, Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) advisor and Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology and Women & Gender Studies Hinda Seif and Presidential Fellow and Professor of Political Science Adriana Crocker led a panel of four in discussion about immigration, family separation, the current political climate, and the reality of the situations faced by undocumented families every day in the United States. Common misconceptions about immigration, such as that “all they have to do is get in line to cross the border,” were dispelled through historical context. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act passed by Ronald Reagan, for instance, was seen as an improvement from more primitive legislation. However, it only applied to United States residents that had been living there since January of 1983. Highly selective conditions such as these were a means of exerting control even in the midst of political and legislative reform.

Panelists also discussed how the Trump administration has sought to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) bolstered by the Obama administration. This act protected young undocumented immigrants from deportation and unemployment. The panelists acknowledged that participants on both sides of the political spectrum have continually fed into a hostile and tension-riddled environment in the United States.

Another important point came from Vanesa Salinas of OLAS, who visited a Detention Center in Dilley, Texas to help asylum seekers near the border. She mentioned how many of the women and children she worked with had endured severe domestic violence in attempts to marry legal citizens and extortion from cartel members, among trauma from the dangerous trip itself and the detention process.

Ways that students can make a difference include joining OLAS, voting in every election, taking informative courses, and attending Hispanic Heritage Month events to show support.