Clinic Director Moderates Panel on Powerful New Documentary

Cemetery marker for an unidentified migrant buried in Brooks County, TX. Credit: Molomot/Bemiss from the film “Missing in Brooks County”

On January 20th, Immigration Clinic Director Stacy Kern-Scheerer moderated a panel discussion after the Indie Lens Virtual Screening of “Missing in Brooks County.” After a pre-screening of the documentary, members of the audience had the chance to hear from Dr. Katherine Barko-Alva, Assistant Professor of ESL/Bilingual Education at the William & Mary School of Education, Dr. Syed Ismail, Trustee of the Muslim Community of Tidewater and member of Old Dominion University Chaplains Association, and Rodrigo Soto, Campaign Manager at the Commonwealth Institute. The documentary screening and panel were hosted by WHRO Public Media. 

“Missing in Brooks County” follows two families searching for their loved ones who went missing in Brooks County, Texas after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Their story reflects the struggles of thousands of other families. More migrants have gone missing in Brooks County than anywhere else in the United States. Jeff Bemiss, one of the filmmakers, told TIME Magazine that “[w]hat’s happening in Brooks County is so extreme that you have to see it to really get your mind around it.” 

The documentary has won several awards, including the Best Documentary Feature at the Toronto Arthouse Film Festival and the Audience Choice Award at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.  

“‘Missing in Brooks County’ is an incredible documentary that shines a needed light on the heartbreaking and deadly experiences happening at our southern border,” said Kern-Scheerer. “It was a true honor to be a part of WHRO’s public screening of the film. As discussed by the panelists, hopefully people who view the film will be moved to think about how local and state policies impact migrant families, and what we in our communities can do better, no matter where we are in the U.S.” 

“Missing in Brooks Country” premieres tonight on PBS’s Independent Lens. It is also available to stream on Apple TV, Prime Video, and Google Play. Check the documentary’s website for more streaming and screening information.