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Missing in Brooks County: A Conversation About the Border

man standing in front of a truck
Brooks County Sheriff’s Deputy Don White outside the Ramirez Ranch gate in Brooks County, TX.

Join WSIU and The Carbondale Public Library for a virtual community conversation inspired by the film Missing in Brooks Countyon January 23rd at 2:30 p.m. We will hear from panelists discussing the immigration crisis at the border. This event is free and open to the public.

Becca Tally, Southern Illinois Immigrants’ Rights Project Tally has been with the Southern Illinois Immigrants’ Rights Project since 2017 where she regularly meets with individuals and families who have been affected by immigration detention. She also volunteers with the Carbondale Interfaith Council and Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants.

Sister Erica Jordan, OP; Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa Jordan is a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa residing in Kenosha, WI. For 25 years she worked as an elementary school principal in the Chicago Archdiocese, serving in three schools whose population was predominantly Mexican-American. Since retiring she has become involved in two interfaith group efforts related to immigration: Congregations United to Serve Humanity (CUSH) and Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants (ICDI). She has also volunteered with the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

Ameer Soomro, Student, Southern Illinois University School of Law Soomro is a second year student at Southern Illinois University School of Law. He has completed a Joseph Bartylak Public interest fellowship in immigration and human rights law at The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). The scope of the work primarily involved affirmative cases for DACA students. Part of Soomro’s time was also spent on a separate detainee project at Carizzo Springs through RAICES, where he worked with children and young adults who had been detained at the border and required legal assistance.

Discussion Recordings

Recording of Film Discussion with New Mexico PBS https://youtu.be/XM2zI1wd1_8

Recording of Community Conversation with Carbondale Public Library https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v_DGS9sH1Q&t=269s

Stream Online at pbs.org: January 31, 2022 – March 1, 2022

Resources related to this film are locatedhere.

About The Film

Every year, hundreds of migrants tragically die or go missing in Brooks County, Texas on the perilous journey to cross the border from Mexico. Missing in Brooks County follows the stories of two families searching for their loved ones who went missing in the fields of the South Texas county. A gripping drama, it is also a deeply humane and nuanced portrait of the human rights workers, activists, and law enforcement agents who confront the life-and-death consequences of a broken immigration system.

Eddie Canales runs the South Texas Human Rights Center, but the messages that strangers leave on Eddie’s phone speak to his unofficial role as a private detective. In a rural community where more migrants go missing than anywhere else in the United States, families of lost loved ones call for help. Omar and Michelle reach out for help finding Omar’s brother Homero Roman, a longtime but undocumented U.S. resident who was deported to Mexico after a traffic stop at age 27. Struggling to adjust in an unfamiliar country, Homero eventually tried to return to his home of two decades. He disappeared in Brooks County. When another man, Juan Maceda, goes missing, his family also turns to Eddie, describing a familiar predicament in Mexico—a choice between lifelong poverty or gang affiliation that compels migrants like Juan to cross the border. Follow Eddie as he engages with border patrol agents to unlock the mysteries and confront the agonizing facts of life and death in a South Texas town many miles north of the border.

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About The Filmmakers

Jeff Bemiss (Co-Director & Producer) An award-winning filmmaker, Co-Director/Producer Jeff Bemiss’ work has aired on network television and PBS. He is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Jeff’s film The Book and the Rose was a semi-finalist for the Academy Award for best short film. Jeff shot and directed the award-winning short Coaching Colburn which premiered at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

Lisa Molomot (Co-Director/Producer), a graduate of the American Film Institute, has directed several documentaries about the American Southwest, including The Cleaners, Teaching Arizona and Soledad. Her award-winning film School’s Out was an integral part of the outdoor education movement and her first documentary The Hill broadcast on PBS’s America Reframed.

Jacob Bricca, ACE (Producer/Editor) has edited over a dozen feature documentaries including Sundance Special Jury Prize winner The Bad Kids (Independent Lens) and the international theatrical hit Lost in la Mancha. Fluent in Spanish, Jacob brings experience editing multi-cultural stories like Precious Knowledge and (both PBS). He is a graduate of AFI.


Additional Resources

21 Must-Read Books about Immigration https://www.lirs.org/books-about-immigration/?fbclid=IwAR09ZUDhdRdNgdeZQHcH0MOWBgcrd8ExmAzhnxSj662DxTdmY9UvlhlTQP8

Sponsored by SIU Carbondale & Carbondale Public Library


Indie Lens Pop-Up is a WSIU media project that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Indie Lens Pop-Up features documentaries from the PBS hit series Independent Lens, draws local residents together to discuss newsworthy topics. These in-person and virtual events are free and open to the public.

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