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EXILED tells the emotional and complicated stories of two deported U.S. military veterans living in Tijuana, Mexico. Although these soldiers had “lawful permanent resident” status in the U.S. and performed honorable military service, they have been sent back to their birth countries because of criminal convictions. Mauricio Hernandez struggles with severe PTSD as a result of his time as a U.S. combat soldier in Afghanistan, but in Mexico, he has no access to the mental healthcare that he is entitled to as a veteran. With sweat, tears, and grassroots organizing, deported paratrooper Hector Barajas is on a mission to raise awareness about the deported veteran issue, and reunite with his 11-year-old daughter in Compton, California.

In this powerful and intimate investigation of the human consequences of current U.S. immigration policies, these EXILED soldiers, who have been willing to die for their country, are now fighting to be heard and return to America — the only country they consider home.

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Douglas Reed, Department of Political Science, Ouachita Baptist University
"Eye-opening and timely, EXILED makes a compelling case for these forgotten veterans and uncovers an unyielding bureaucracy’s shameful response. A must-see for lawmakers and veterans’ advocates, EXILED is an outstanding resource for all libraries as well as courses in law, political science, and sociology."

Boston College Law School | Jennifer Klein, Adjunct Professor
"In an introductory immigration law course, this film brought a human element to the laws and systems studied throughout the semester, and was a perfect illustration of the dangers of deploying a simplistic good immigrant/bad immigrant narrative in shaping immigration policy. The film painted a powerful picture of the ways in which non-citizens, even those who have served our country, face dramatic consequences once entangled in the criminal justice system."

UC Berkeley College of Journalism | Samantha Grant, Lecturer
"When it comes to immigration, there is no simple solution. EXILED is an gripping and intimate documentary that perfectly demonstrates the problems that arise with hard line policies around immigration. Through the emotional stories of compelling and relatable characters, EXILED challenges assumptions and raises hard questions about what it even means to be an American in this day and age."

Video Librarian ★★★ | K. Fennessy
"Although Seely’s film focuses on only two men, it’s clear that they represent hundreds of others in the same predicament. Recommended."


Main credits

Barajas-Varela, Hector (on-screen participant)
Hernandez-Mata, Mauricio (on-screen participant)
Seely, Mike (film director)
Seely, Mike (film producer)
Seely, Mike (director of photography)
Kane, John (film producer)
Kane, John (editor of moving image work)

Other credits

Edited by John Kane; directory of photography, Mike Seely; music composed by Wiliam Ryan Fritch, Erik Jekabson.


Immigration Studies, American Studies, Latinx Studies, Mental Health, Criminal Justice, Sociology, Human Rights; "Exiled"; GOOD DOCS