“Immigration Nation” Review Series Episode 2: MaintainingVigilance

I do not own the rights to this image.

Watching Ep. 2 “Maintaining Vigilance” was a bit harder to watch than the first episode. When I decided to start doing reviews for each episode, I knew it was not going to be easy; it was going to be time consuming, and mentally exhausting. However, watching this documentary has led me on my own journey of research, learning, and adjusting mindsets that I hope others experience either through my review or by watching the documentary on their own. So lets dive right in.

Ep. 2 continues on the foundation that Ep. 1 laid out. There is so much information, that to really appreciate it, you have to watch it yourself. I will only mention the most striking parts of the episodes, so understand there might be parts left out simply because of a lack of time to write it all out, and a lack of time for everyone to read a very very long review.

Ep. 2 walks through what happens after an undocumented immigrant is detained and processed. There seems to be a great deal of miscommunication with those ICE officers that implement the law and those that push policies/laws; there aren’t enough resources to accomodate the number of immigrants that are being detained. This episode follows many detainees and the uncertainties they face .Undocumented immigrants with deportation orders have to go to ICE offices and report. The episode refers to a “non-detained unit.” For clarification that means: “provide supervised release and enhanced monitoring for a subset of foreign nationals subject to removal whom ICE has released into the United States.” (read more). According to the documentary, there are over 3 million immigrants on the ICE non-detained docket. Many immigrants come to their ICE appointments with their immgration lawyers, that are helping them undergo petitions as they search for lawful status. There are so many intricacies when it comes to immigration: there is no black and white.

“We were removing a ton of people under the Obama administration…and there was a lot of uncertainty. This administration [referring to the Trump Administration] is double.” ICE Officer

The separation of families was greatly criticized during the Trump administration. “If I had known they were going to separate me from my son, I would have never left my country.” (Translated to English from Spanish, Detainee). Just to clear misinformation that will arise saying the Obama administration separated many more families than the current administration, please refer to the following links:

  1. https://www.factcheck.org/2018/06/did-the-obama-administration-separate-families/

Personal narratives are big part of this episode, as the producers follow families as they try to deal with their circumstances, and as they think about the rest of their families in other countries, waiting for them to provide support (monetary). It was specifically difficult to watch the families explain to their children what was going on, and the position the children are in as they deal with personal traumas and emotional exhaustion. Cases are so specific and it would be unfair to judge them on only one benchmark. There was a man that was a police officer in his country, who gave the US info about gangs and dangerous groups, who had a lawyer (which ended up taking his money and didn’t put in any paperwork for him), and he still got deported. Something about that doesn’t sit well with me. He was sent back to his country, where his life was in major danger, even though the officers mentioned his important contributions.

Lastly, its all about numbers. This is the most disheartening aspect of immigration. Immigration judges do not function lik any other judges, and if they don’t deport a certain amount of people, they get fired and looked down upon. Its a system with specific issues that once again, cannot be fixed by simply building a bigger, stronger wall.

“This administation has done what I call weaponizing the immigration courts to use them as a tool of enforcement. In 2018, the department did something it had never done before, and that is put production quotas on immigration judges.” (Immigration Judge)

If you don’t believe me, check this out:

  1. https://www.npr.org/2018/04/03/599158232/justice-department-rolls-out-quotas-for-immigration-judges#:~:text=Justice%20Department%20Rolls%20Out%20Quotas%20For%20Immigration%20Judges%20%3A%20NPR&text=Justice%20Department%20Rolls%20Out%20Quotas%20For%20Immigration%20Judges%20To%20get,erode%20due%20process%20for%20immigrants.

Main point: Is the solution really to only focus on buildding a wall? Or could there be additonal pressing issues within the immigration system of the US that should be a priority?

Tune in next week for my review on Ep. 3.

Activist | Writer | Storyteller