Sleep Dealer: An Immigration Solution?

When it comes to literature and cinema, I have to say that I’ve never truly appreciated the genre of science-fiction as much as I do now. Why the sudden change? Well, it was actually a very controversial topic that brought me to the futuristic/fantasy world, and that was: immigration. Okay, so now you’re probably wondering: what does science-fiction have to do with immigration anyhow? And that’s the problem right there.


There’s not enough research done or people that know about the individuals who are writing, filming, and creating new stories that predict the future of immigration. Particularly in Latino culture, there has been quite an emergence of futuristic texts that have you picking your brain about what immigration will be like in the next decade or so. Which brings me to the reason for all my glorified sci-fi talk…


If you haven’t watched the movie Sleep Dealer yet, then I highly suggest renting it, buying it, streaming it—whatever it takes to watch this amazing film. The main character Memo Cruz is played by actor Luis Fernando Peña, who you may recognize for his work in Amar Te Duele and the 2010 telenovela Teresa. Long story short, Memo longs to be free of the confines the little village he inhabits in Mexico. The only problem with this dream is that in this place in time, all the borders have been “shut down.” Particularly for Memo, the border is blocked off by a massive dam that actually prevents his village from having a water source. As a result, his family has to pay for quarts of water in order to sustain their small farm, and of course, quench their thirst.


Although these borders are closed for business, immigration is not. That’s where the concept of the “sleep dealer” comes in. And this is also where the sci-fi stuff gets super interesting.

Instead of crossing the border illegally, which is such a hot-topic today, those wanting to work in U.S. must “plug in” to a virtual network. Plugging into this network is another obstacle in itself because it requires the  help of a Coyotek (sounds a lot like the Coyotes huh?).


Anyway, the Coyotek injects “nodes” into the back, shoulders, and arms of the person who wants them. This scene in the film can be a little gruesome, so if you’re not into blood/injection scenes—I suggest looking the other way.


After the nodes are installed, the person wanting work seeks out places that employ these “sleep dealers.” Once the person plugs in and places the virtual contact into their eye, they virtually “cross-over” the border and into the U.S. The characters in this film make it very clear that the U.S. is aware of these “illegal” workers but enjoy having the work without the people inhabiting their country.


It’s absolutely bizarre to watch and I simply cannot imagine this as what they describe as, “Mexico. The near future.” But, it really gets you thinking about the possibilities of the inventions that are being created in the technical world. Technology has become such a huge product all over the world, why not have virtual places like the one in Sleep Dealer?

I didn’t want to give the entire plot away, so I gave the basics, but truly there’s more to it then the virtual world of immigration. Those interested in the blogging world will definitely find the futuristic views a bit strange but extremely possible from what this film predicts.


I know that when we think of sci-fi we think of the obvious Star Wars Trilogy and Star Trek, but this isn’t just a story that creates a world of fantasy and awe—it’s a world that implements the issues of the present, immigration in particular, in order to show that these issues do still exist and this is the possible way that it will be dealt with. The only question is: do you approve of a world completely disconnected from the physical? I say watch the movie, and come to your own conclusions.

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