Before watching Maid in America, I was extremely skeptical. I didn't really have an opinion on the whole issue of domestic houseworkers, especially those that are undocumented workers. I thought that if you were an undocumented worker you were somehow here illegally, taking jobs from Americans. I'm so glad this film changed my initial perceptions.
Although it was extremely brief and just scratched the surface of these women's lives, it definitely opened up the audience to their world. It was amazing to me these houseworkers were thankful to make on average, about $5 an hour! I couldn't believe they were living in conditions in other countries where $5 was considered a lot of money!
It deeply saddened me to know that these women were working in U.S. homes to send money back to their homes, and at the same time they were missing extremely significant events! For example, Judith missed her daughters growing up and Eva missed her grandmothers funeral. All of this for the sake of money? It seems so backwards that money is literally what these women's lives revolve around. Yes, they were treated politely (in this film) and paid "so much money," but they didn't legally have any actual rights or benefits. Granted, they aren't U.S. citizens, one was in a co-op of women who paid taxes to our government! The system seems a little messed up to me if these workers are here legally, and even paying taxes they aren't required, and they have no legal rights, no actual insurance coverage, etc. It was disturbing when Judith said to come back into the United States again would be risking her life! What kind of place is this? These women may not be United States citizens, but they are performing a service to us. We aren't doing them any favors by employing them at $5 an hour, which is below our legal minimum wage. Basically, we're ripping desperate families off, and then acting martyrs for "letting" them work here.
Basically, by the end of this film, I was outraged at the way in which our government conducts its policies against undocumented workers. It all seems so selfish. These people are only trying to better their lives, and we're doing nothing to help them, with all of our riches. Isn't it a feminist issue to help assist these women in equal rights while they're in the U.S? Aren't we responsible for protecting them from living in constant abuse, fear, or danger? I believe it is also a feminist issue to work with these poor, third world countries to help these women make it on their own, without the backbreaking, underpaid labor they're performing in the U.S.