Interweaving five gritty snapshots of life on the US/Mexico border, Illegal captures the raw motives and realities of illegal immigration in the United States.
Set in the sweltering desert of the Southwest U.S., five individuals are portrayed as they struggle with their circumstances. Maribel, a waitress in Juarez, Mexico faces an impossible decision after she realizes that the only hope for her dying son lies in medical treatment in the U.S.. Ariel, an honest and hard-working day-laborer in New Mexico, battles the temptation of higher wages as a drug trafficker. Arturo, working the fields with Ariel must decide where his loyalties lie when he is suddenly pitted against a smooth-talking government immigration officer. Ignacio, a dish-washer in New Mexico, deals drugs to teens in a dead-end town while immigration agents circle in to use him as an entry-way to a Mexican drug cartel. And Chuy, a low-level trafficker of both immigrants and drugs, longs for a way out of his miserable life full of violence and fear.
Through heartbreak and hope, these five separate stories interweave in this tense and gritty portrayal of the social, economical and political impact of illegal immigration in the U.S. today.