The Deported

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
The Deported Movie Poster Image
Excellent, timely, emotionally intense documentary.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 91 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive messages.

Positive Messages

The power of committed individuals to stand up against injustice. 

Positive Role Models

Religious leaders and followers shown putting their beliefs into practice by providing sanctuary for immigrants threatened with deportation, protesting policies they believe to be unjust. 


Photos of dead bodies. One of the subjects discusses how her father sexually abused and threatened to kill her. 


"F--k" used several times. "Motherf----rs." "S--t," "bulls--t," "bitch." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Talk of marijuana smoking. One of the subjects discusses her arrest for marijuana possession. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Deported is a documentary that follows four families facing deportation in the wake of the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" stance on immigration. There are intensely emotional moments throughout the film -- kids crying as their parents are deported, stressed-out adults angry and cursing after coming home to find that someone has broken in and stolen their things, fear and anger over the threat of being deported, and more. Expect occasional profanity throughout, including "motherf----rs" and "f--k." There are photos of dead bodies, and one of the subjects discusses how her father sexually abused her and threatened to kill her, her mom, and her brother. Besides following the stories of these four families, the documentary also interviews officials in charge of implementing the current immigration policies, as well as an ICE officer whose job is to enforce the policies. Overall, the film puts human faces on a topic that's intensely controversial. 

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What's the story?

The Deported follows four families facing deportation in the aftermath of the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" stance on immigration. A young woman and pre-med student in Texas who lost her DACA status due to a marijuana misdemeanor is on the verge of being sent to Mexico, where she has never lived, and where her sexually-abusive father still lives. A successful businessman, his wife, and two college-aged sons in San Diego who fled FARC guerillas in Colombia and sought political asylum in the United States have been ordered to be deported to Colombia, and are fighting in the courts and spreading word of their situation on the internet. An Albanian family who have lived in the Detroit area for 18 years have taken sanctuary in a Methodist church. A Guatemalan-born man who sought asylum in the United States as a teenager and has created a successful middle-class life for himself and his kids in Connecticut faces deportation despite the strong support of his community who want him to stay. Narrated by Rosario Dawson, this documentary shows the front lines of this intensely controversial topic. In addition to following the stories of these four families, the documentary also includes interviews with immigration attorneys, bureaucrats in charge of implementing current immigration policy, and an ICE officer working in Los Angeles. 

Is it any good?

You'd be hard pressed to find a documentary timelier than The Deported. While unlikely to change many minds on such a controversial topic, the documentary nonetheless succeeds in putting human faces on a topic prone to broad-brush generalization. While following the four families profiled in the documentary, a question raised in the movie highlights the frustration, resistance, and struggle: "Is this the America we want to be?" It forces the viewer to confront ugly realities about contemporary immigration policies in the United States when those being deported seem more like the living embodiment of the American Dream instead of the "rapists and criminals" President Trump and his followers believe them to be. 

Unsurprisingly, The Deported has incurred the wrath of supporters of "zero tolerance" immigration policy. Again, those who believe that those profiled in the documentary are little more than criminals who broke the law by entering the country illegally will most likely not be convinced to change their views. On the other hand, for those who believe the view espoused by the Methodist minister in Detroit providing sanctuary to one of the families in the documentary, "When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty," as well as those who are trying to make sense of what's happening, The Deported is an intense and provocative look at the lives impacted by Trump Administration policy. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about documentaries. How can documentaries such as this one dig deeper into controversial issues in ways that daily news reporting might not?

  • Do you think the documentary presented all sides of the issue? How would the documentary be different had it been made by someone who supported the policies being enforced here?

  • Besides interviews, how did the documentary present the thoughts and opinions of the filmmakers?

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