Without Proper Papers in Germany

(Length: 29 minutes (ARD, 19 Nov. 2006, 5:30 p.m. in the series “Gott und die Welt” / “Tag 7”)

Abelardo lives illegally in Germany. He doesn’t have a residence permit or work papers and is constantly on the lookout for police. Abelardo doesn’t want to go back to Ecuador, back to the slums in the port town of Guayaquil. His mother still lives there, a sick woman but with no health insurance. Abelardo sends her money for medicine.For 6 years now he has made his way in Germany. A life in the shadows, defined by the search for cheap-labour jobs where no one asks for any papers. Then he meets Ines, a German woman, in a completely normal way while dancing. They fall in love. But does Ines trust him or does she feel like she’s being used as a means to an end so that he can acquire a residence visa through her?
Like Abelardo, over a million foreigners live illegally in Germany. For over a year Mauricio Estrella and Antonio Uscátegui observed two families whose daily game of ‘hide-and-seek’ has become normality for them due to their fear of being deported. As so-called ‘economic refugees’, they master life bravely and at times in amazingly normal ways, a life in which everything is there except a sense of security. 

Video (approx. 10 min.(German)

A film by Mauricio Estrella and Antonio Uscátegui
Co-author: Valentin Thurn
Camera: Antonio Uscátegui
Editor: Tim McLeish, Mark-Steffen Göwecke
Executive Producer: Angelika Wagner (WDR)
Production: Oskar Film / Valentin Thurn

Further information at WDR