Born in East LA, A Movie Review by Sam Sloan

A very good movie which I just saw on the Sunday Afternoon Movies. A Mexican-American who was born in East LA goes to visit a relative who is working in a factory. At just that moment, the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service raids the place, sweeps up all the workers and deports them all to Mexico. The protagonist, who was not working there but just visiting, protests that he is a US Citizen, born in East LA, but the Immigration Officers do not believe him and he too is deported to Mexico.

To make his problems worse, he was not carrying any ID with him at the time he was arrested and cannot prove that he is a US citizen, plus he happens to have the same name as a known illegal alien who has been arrested and deported nine times.

Denied legal re-entry into the United States, he gets involved with a succession of con artists, people smugglers and fugitives from justice, all trying to sneak across the border to get to America.

One point which I almost missed: When they first arrest the protagonist and he protests that he is a US Citizen, they ask him who the President of the US is. He replies, "That guy who starred in Death Valley Days, John Wayne". This is the wrong answer, and so they deport him. This movie was made in 1987 and at that time the US President was Ronald Reagan, who had in fact been the star of Death Valley Days.

Although this is a comedy, it depicts a real situation which does happen from time to time. The INS does make mistakes and does occasionally deport US Citizens, who are then faced with the same situation as the protagonist in this movie.

What I find especially noteworthy is that the "bad guy" in this movie is the Immigration Officer who makes the mistaken arrest and deportation, and then proceeds to chase him throughout the movie. The officerfs name is McCalister and that is the very name of the INS Officer who made the 1982 arrest of Aziz in the infamous Honzagool Case.

The real Officer McCalister was later transferred to San Diego, where he undoubtedly came to the attention of the producers of this 1987 movie.

Take a look at the Wanted Card for Aziz at You will see the name and telephone number of Investigator McCalaster.

Now, look at the credits for the movie "Born in East LA" at You will see the name McCalister. The same name except that they changed one letter in his name. They changed one other thing, too. The real Officer McCalaster is Black. The actor playing him in the movie is White.

Sam Sloan

Full Cast and Crew for Born in East L.A. (1987)

Directed by Cheech Marin

Writing credits Cheech Marin (written by)

Cast in credits order

Cheech Marin .... Rudy
Paul Rodriguez .... Javier
Daniel Stern .... Jimmy
Kamala Lopez-Dawson .... Dolores (as Kamala Lopez)
Jan-Michael Vincent .... McCalister
Lupe Ontiveros .... Rudy's mother
Urbanie Lucero .... Rudy's sister
Chastity Ayala .... Rudy's niece
David Perez .... Rudy's nephew
Neith Hunter .... Marcie
Larry Blackmon .... Slick dude
Tito Larriva .... Oscar
Geoffrey Rivas .... Immigration Aide (as Geoff Rivas)
Eddie Barth .... Lester
Miguel M. Delgado .... Jos? (as Miguel Delgado)
David Yanez .... Altar boy
Bret Chafe .... Immigration man
McKeiver Jones III .... Immigration man
Terrence Evans .... Immigration officer
Tony Plana .... Feo
Eloy Casados .... Thug #1
Mike Moroff .... Thug #2
Alex Garza .... Jail sergeant
George Garvin .... Doorman
Jim Perrine .... Tourist
Alma Mart?nez .... Gloria
Ruben Guevara .... Miguel
Sam Allen .... Customs officer
Bob McClurg .... Harry
Diana Bellamy .... Harry's wife
John Villella .... Customs agent
Doug Ingold .... Customs agent
Mark Istratoff .... Customs agent
Robert Masseria .... Customs agent
Ronald G. Joseph .... Tattooed prisoner
Josh Cruze .... Jail truck driver
Noble Willingham .... Border Patrol sergeant
Randal Patrick .... Border Patrol officer
Ernest Harden Jr. .... Border Patrol officer
Vic Trevino .... Patrol Patrol officer
Sal Lopez .... What's Happening Boys
Del Zamora .... What's Happening Boys
Ted Lin .... What's Happening Boys
Jason Scott Lee .... What's Happening Boys
Teo .... What's Happening Boys (as Jee Teo)
Mark L. Taylor .... TV evangelist
Dyana Ortelli .... Mother with oranges
Humberto Ortiz .... Boy with oranges
Daniel Valdez .... Norteno Trio
L. David Silva .... Norteno Trio (as David Silva)
Steve Jordan .... Norteno Trio
Austin Cortez Tobar .... Bar customer
Cesar Dominguez .... Bar customer
R.D. Kennedy .... German man
Lilyan Chauvin .... German woman
Ernesto Hernandez .... Fernando
Angela Moya .... Mexican woman
Jorge Andras Fernandez .... Mexican husband
David Selburg .... Policeman
Sam Vlahos .... Father

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