Born in east LA

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Rudy Robles (Marin) is told by his mother to pick up his cousin Javier (Paul Rodriguez) at a factory before she leaves for Fresno. Robles arrives shortly before immigration officials raid the factory looking for undocumented workers. Because he is carrying no identification, and his mother and sister are not available to verify he is a US citizen, Robles is deported with the undocumented workers to Mexico. Ironically, Robles cannot speak more than very simple Spanglish, though he is fluent in German from having served in Germany in the United States Army. In Tijuana, Robles becomes friends with ex-con Jimmy (Daniel Stern) and a waitress named Dolores (Kamala Lopez-Dawson). Unable to contact his mother, Robles makes repeated attempts to cross the border, all ending in failure. Jimmy offers to get him back to home for a price. Having left home without his wallet, Robles works for Jimmy as doorman at a strip club, earning extra money selling oranges and teaching two Central Americans and three others would be undocumented immigrants to walk and talk like East Los Angeles natives. They become called the "Waas Sappening Boys" or "What's Happening Boys". Robles falls in love with Dolores and finally raises the money needed to be smuggled across the border. He goes on a date with Dolores and the next day, Robles bids farewell to Jimmy, receives a last kiss goodbye from Dolores and climbs into the Coyote's truck. He sees a woman pleading to be taken for free because her husband is already in the truck and their family is in the United States. Robles gives the woman his place. Robles stands for the last time on the hill of the Mexico – United States border while two Immigration Officers sit in their truck watching in laughter. The song "America" by Neil Diamond is heard as hundreds appear and race forward to reach the American Dream. The Immigration Officers hide in their truck. Rudy, Dolores, and their "Waas Up" friends walk with their heads up high into the United...
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