In Review: Immigration Nation, a look inside a broken system


Courtesy of Brig News.

Victoria Almaguer, Contributor

Immigration Nation is a six-part Netflix documentary series featuring footage filmed from 2017 to 2020 of the United States’. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during President Donald Trump’s administration.  

The documentary, directed by Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz, started by focusing on ICE agents and eventually shifted to the testimonies of migrants and U.S. veterans trying to fix their illegal status or escaping death threats from their country of origin. 

Clusiau and Schwarz, faced legal threats from ICE to delay the documentary until the 2020 presidential election had passed. Released Aug. 3, the series followed ICE agents during their raids and showed the testimonies of many migrants crossing illegally. 

Some scenes seen on the documentary were filmed at the El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico border and depicted the brutality and emotional distraught that comes from families who are separated. Not far from El Paso, the Tornillo facility was met with various protests to be closed back in 2018. Although the facility no longer stands, the emotional trauma parents and children will carry, is a heavy weight on the immigration system. 

According to data published from the Pew Research Center, the El Paso region saw a 477% surge in migrant apprehensions in the fiscal year of 2019 compared to 2018. The city ranked number two in apprehensions in the Rio Grande sector. People traveling in families accounted for most apprehensions in the fiscal year of 2019. 

After the Trump administration enforced the zero-tolerance policy in 2018, which resulted in the separation of thousands of families, it is unclear how families that have been separated will be united.  

The series also shows a scene, where ICE officers enter a home seeking a certain individual, only to “hit the jackpot” and arrest everyone in the apartment who is undocumentedThis was explained to be a process that helped meet demands to arrest “collaterals”a term the departmentuses to refer to the arrest of undocumented immigrants who are not their intended targets, havenot committed any crimes and are typically caught unaware. The scene demonstrates how officers lie their way into a target’s home and mocks them after their arrest.  

The intimidation and mockery that is shown to be used to arrest people in the documentary further demonstrates the true horror that goes behind ICE’s arrests. The power of truth thdocumentary holds has the potential to impact the El Paso/Juarez border region due to its demographic and the strong cultural bond both cities share. It is a series that should be seen by everyone in order toinspect and understand how we should move forward as a community and allow others to do the same.  

 Victoria Almaguer may be reached at [email protected]; @victoriaalmagu9 on Twitter.