There is a 2006 movie starring Jennifer Lopez and Martin Sheen that you should see. It’s called “Bordertown,” directed by Gregory Nava, and based on the book by the same name written by Diana Washington Valdez, an El Paso, Texas, journalist. It is a serious, political movie that takes a passionate social justice position on the immigration debate. It tells the powerful true story of life in the border town of Juarez, Mexico. Anyone wanting to see the effects of globalization, Free Trade, and NAFTA (all of which are discussed in the movie) should rent a copy and view it. (Note, I say, “rent” because most of us never knew it was in the theatres. It came and went so quickly and was never released to the multiplexes, so most people never had a chance to know whether they liked it or not. Reviews of the movie were very high, but most theatre chains did not want to risk running it.)

Ms. Valdez spent years investigating and documenting the deaths of thousands of women murdered in Juarez since 1993. These murders are called “femicides,” or gender murders. Hundreds of women working in American-owned factories (malquiladoras) were brutally raped and murdered in Juarez, a city gripped by fear. The attacks have been covered up by the local authorities, and still continue today.

Click in the space below for the theatrical "trailer" from the movie:

This movie details the inner work processes of the Maquiladores and their link to NAFTA. It looks at working conditions, low pay, and exploitation of workers, all so that large corporations in Mexico and the USA can make large profits. It also details the corruptness of both the Mexican and the American government, the greed of transnational corporations and the role/reason for the cover ups of these murders which are still going on today.

Click below for a particularly intense scene from the movie in which the two leads debate some of these issues:

And, for what it’s worth, it’s interesting to note that both Martin Sheen and Jennifer Lopez are people of faith. Both, are very active in their local Catholic parishes, and both on occasion have noted the connection between their political activism and their religious faith. Not to disparage the mega-church evangelicals with thirty-thousand member churches, who teach that Christianity applies only to issues of personal morality, the truth is that the spinal cord of Christian ethics is a commitment challenging and changing the political, economic, racial, and social impediments to fully human existence.

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