"120 Days" captures an intimate, inside look at the lives of one family of undocumented immigrants who have been living and working in the United States illegally for over twelve years.
The father, Miguel Cortes, could be forced to leave the country in four months as a result of his immigration status. Local police discovered Miguel was in the U.S. illegally after pulling him over without cause (no moving violations were discussed or issued). They hand-cuffed Miguel for driving without a license, and detained him for ICE deportation processing through the controversial 287(g) agreement, which allows local police to act as immigration enforcers.
After paying a $5000 bond, he was released until his pending court date and sentencing, and his fate was decided several weeks later in the North Carolina Immigration Court in Charlotte. In exchange for Miguel agreeing to leave the country voluntarily, the judge granted Miguel “120 days” to get his affairs in order before leaving his wife, Maria-Luisa, and their two daughters, Yael and Saydrel, in the U.S. to continue their education. If he follows the agreement, no official deportation will be recorded against him, thus allowing him the possibility of returning legally someday (if he gets his papers, or if U.S. policy changes).
This film documents Miguel’s last official “120 days” in the United States, as he works hard, saves his money, and weighs his options about returning to Mexico alone, or changing his name and disappearing into another U.S. city illegally to keep his family together.