The Undocumented

More than 2,500 migrants have died trying to cross the unforgiving Arizona desert in search of the American dream. Woven together from multiple narratives and made for ITVS, ‘The Undocumented’ tells the stories of the men and women who have to deal with the repercussions of America’s immigration policy.

Marcos Hernandez’s father disappeared while trying to cross the Sonora Desert. The traffickers who were meant to guide him to Arizona have admitted they abandoned him in the desert but Marcos and his family refuse to stop looking.

In Arizona, the Pima County medical examiners work heroically to try and identify the unending stream of migrant corpses and return them to their families. In the 1990s, they were dealing with approximately 20 cases a year. Now, they’re handling more than 250.

Working closely with them is the Mexican Consulate in Tuscon, headed by Jeronimo Garcia. He spends his day fielding calls from worried families whose loved ones have disappeared. Garcia sums up their plight: “In search of the American dream, they lose it all in the desert.”

Meanwhile, every day the border agents tasked patrolling the desert have to balance law enforcement with lifesaving. As human rights worker, Kat Rodriguez, says: “People are dying — and that should be enough to change things.”


  • Year: 2013
  • Duration: 60 & 90 mins
  • Production: Hiptruth Productions, LLC, KUAT, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
  • Director: MARCO WILLIAMS
  • Available Versions: ENG
  • Country of production: France



  • Full Frame (awarded the Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights)

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