Alien: A Documentary

The current immigration policies are driving immigrants toward a big existential crisis: “America is a land of opportunities, but only for citizens” is a sentiment conveyed by almost all immigrants living on visas in the US and seeking a permanent life here.

Alien is a documentary about legal immigrants living on different visas in the US, who for more than a decade now, have been facing a cultural xenophobia through America’s stringent, stifling immigration policies.

Alien is the story of every legal immigrant who has entered the American shores either on a valid work permit, student, dependent or on an exchange visa and is struggling to achieve what they consider to be the “American dream”: a place for the realization of their hard work and fulfillment of their aspirations for generations to come. This documentary highlights the deep- rooted anxieties, frustrations and deprivation of talented, highly educated immigrants in their pursuit of keeping their dreams alive as entrepreneurs, innovators and contributing to their personal and professional growth amidst current immigration policies. The current immigration policies engulf the legal immigrants in a never-ending, tiring chase for permanent residency (Green card).

The fallback of not granting immediate permanent residency to high skilled workers is that America has started losing the global race to capture entrepreneurial talent. Most high skilled immigrants with sheer frustration are leaving US forever and returning to their home countries or other “welcoming” economies. Many countries including Chile, Australia, Canada, China and Singapore recognize the opportunity of attracting entrepreneurs, technologists and other skilled workers. These countries are offering stipends and labor subsidies for employees, expedited visa processes, and other incentives to bring in start-up opportunities.

Instead of building their own ideas and exploring entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity, the current system compels an international student, armed with an advanced US education, to find a job with a company willing to fund the H1-B visa (work permit visa) or return to their home country to start their own companies. In the current economic scenario companies are often not willing to hire a foreigner owing to the extra work and monies involved in applying for these visas. The situation is so bad that an international student/high skilled labor has to depend only on his/her luck instead of his qualifications to get hired by an American company.

Spouses (mostly wives) living on H4 (“dependent”) visas are deprived of basic right to earning their own livelihood. In some states it is impossible for H4 visa holders to even obtain a driver’s license. Hundreds of thousands of spouses having highly skilled science, engineering and medical qualifications cannot work, or even contribute their expertise in the US.