Film poster for "Exiled" with soldier saluting in gray background.
Film poster for "Exiled" with soldier saluting in gray background.
Two military veterans, both green card immigrants willing to die for America, get deported


Regular price $249.00


​HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Educational Media Reviews Online | RECOMMENDED ★★★ - Video Librarian | BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY - San Diego Latino Film Festival | BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY + AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD - GI Film Festival San Diego

Immigration Studies • American Studies • Latinx Studies • Mental Health • Criminal Justice • Sociology • Human Rights

Date of Completion: 2017 | Run Time: 30 minutes​​ | Language: English and Spanish | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript Director: Mike Seely | Producers: John Kane & Diya Guha

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."

Best Short Documentary | GI Film Festival San Diego
Audience Choice Award | GI Film Festival San Diego
Best Short Documentary | San Diego Latino Film Festival
Official Selection | Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Official Selection | United Nations Association Film Festival


UC Berkeley
Deported Veterans Support House
San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art
Capitol Hill Discussion co-hosted by ACLU of California, Immigrant Defense Project, Human Rights Watch and the Truman Center

Mike Seely has over a dozen years of professional experience as a director and cinematographer of social issue documentary films, working with independent directors, non-profit, and broadcast clients such as; National Geographic, HBO, Al Jazeera, PBS Newshour, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. As a cinematographer, he has developed an eye for moments that reflect universal human qualities. As a director, he aims to amplify the voices of underrepresented populations. Seely received a Fulbright scholarship to explore the Polish documentary film tradition, and has a master's degree in Documentary Filmmaking from Stanford University. Mike worked closely with Hector on the creation of EXILED, which tells the emotional and complicated stories of veterans living in Tijuana, Mexico. Despite their “lawful permanent resident” status in the U.S. and honorable military service, they have been sent away because of criminal convictions. In this powerful investigation of the human consequences of U.S. immigration policies, these EXILED soldiers are now fighting to be heard and return to America - the country they consider home.

Hector Barajas-Varela is an honorably discharged veteran of the US Army. Following a 3 and-a-half year sentence in California state prison, he was deported to Mexico. He lived in homeless encampments in Tijuana until he discovered that there were other veterans who had been abandoned by the U.S. government, and thus began the Deported Veterans’ Support House. Hector's personal story is featured in EXILED, and now, as one of the first deported veterans to be lucky enough to return as a U.S. citizen in 2018, he continues his advocacy for deported U.S. veterans worldwide.