EPISODE 59: From Fast-Food Worker to Renowned Film Critic: Carlos Aguilar and Why DACA Is Important

“My dad died in 2018 and I wasn’t able to go to his funeral. It was too much of a risk.”

For the film critic Carlos Aguilar to have left his home in the US to attend his father’s funeral in Mexico would have put his re-entry into the United States in jeopardy. A native of Mexico City who has lived and worked in the US since he was young, Carlos is part of the immigration program known as DACA— Deferred Action for Children Arrivals. He has experienced both the privilege and the pain that come with this tenuous status.


Listen on Apple Podcasts here: America the Bilingual by Steve Leveen; on Spotify; or wherever you listen to your podcasts.


It is somewhat ironic that his immigration status makes Carlos one of the group that’s been nicknamed the Dreamers. Even so, his dream to become a successful film critic has indeed become a reality. And where better to be based than Los Angeles.

You’ll hear in this episode how he uses his Spanish-English bilingualism to produce compelling film reviews and, on a lighter note, how singing a famous Beatles song helped him learn English pronunciation.

But always the Dreamer hovers. It is only recently that Carlos shared his DACA story publicly. Here, he also shares his views on what DACA recipients give back to the country they know as home.

“There are DACA recipients who are activists, lawyers, doctors, nurses, scholars, filmmakers, film critics and everything in between,” he says. “Our very presence is an act of resilience.”


Thanks to members of the America the Bilingual Project team for this episode: Fernando Hernández and his production house in Guadalajara, Mexico, Esto No Es Radio, which provides sound design and mixing, and where Fernando wrote and directed this episode; Mim Harrison, editorial director of the America the Bilingual Project; and Karla Hernandez at Daruma Tech, who manages our website.

Meet the entire America the Bilingual team—including our bark-lingual mascot, Chet—here.

Music in this episode, in sequence, was by Kai Engel, “Seeker”; Kevin Mcleod, “Quasimotion”; John Bartmann, “Heart of Acceptance”; Jorge Mario Zuleta, “En detención”; TRG Banks, “Daybreak in a New Town”; and Monplaisir, “I Am the Coyote.” All were available through a Creative Commons License.

We welcome your comments here, on our new America the Bilingual Review page of Medium, and on Facebook.

Be sure to check out our Book page, and see why one grateful reader says America’s Bilingual Century:   “I’ve found the magic! Mr. Leveen has provided me with a new way to approach my study of an adopted second language.

Enjoy the book in your favorite format. Click here.


2023-02-02T14:16:33-05:00By |Episodes|

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