In the Shadow of the Law


A documentary portrait of four families who have lived without legal documents in the United States for many years, exploring their everyday reality, from constant worry about being apprehended by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, to being taken advantage of by many who capitalize on their vulnerability. Using the voices of the families themselves, the program provides a human view of their family life and their hopes for the future, particularly under the amnesty provisions of the 1986 Simpson-Rodino immigration bill signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.


National PBS broadcast Nominee, National Emmy, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Special Classification for Outstanding News and Documentary Achievement, Three Emmys, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, San Diego Chapter, for Best Documentary, Best Director and Best Sound; also nominated for Best Writing, Photography, Editor and Music Composer/Arranger, Best Documentary, Broadcast Industry Conference, San Francisco, Best Documentary Made for Television, National Latino Film and Video Festival, Best Documentary Report, San Diego Press Club, Journalism Awards, Silver Award, Houston International Film Festival, Best Overall Electronic Entry, National Conference of Christians and Jews-San Diego Chapter, Press Award, American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties, 20th Annual Bill of Rights Banquet, Director’s Choice, The Thomas Edison-Black Maria Film & Video Festival; included in Black Maria’s Traveling Showcase of Prize-Winning Films and Videos by Vanguard Media Artists, Honorable Mention, National Educational Film & Video Festival, Oakland


Producer – Paul Espinosa
Director – Frank Christopher
Writers – Paul Espinosa, Leo Chavez
A Production of KPBS-TV