The media source I chose to use was the Netflix documentary series Living Undocumented. I watch the first episode of season 1, this series follows immigrate families from around the world who are living or have been living in the United States as undocumented citizens. This documentary showed the discrimination towards immigrants in the United States post 9/11. After 9/11 people who traveled to the United States on work or travel visas had a difficult time extending their visas or even obtaining them. The government made it extremely difficult to get a visa for the U.S. because the country was in fear of having another 9/11. This denied hard working, good people, with a clean criminal record form staying or coming to the U.S. This documentary also did an excellent job at explain how different administrations have handle immigrant policies. Under the Obama administration only criminal undocumented immigrants were deported. Under the new Trump administration every undocumented immigrant regardless if they are a criminal or not are being deported. The people who are being deported are normal everyday people they are mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers that are being separated from their families and being sent right back into the places they were trying to escape from. The people who did cross the border of Mexico or flew from another country with a legal visa overstayed and their visas expired, and now it is nearly impossible to obtain a new one to stay in the country they built their life in. With previous administration ICE agents had discretion in the jurisdiction they worked in, if they knew that an illegal immigrant was not a threat to the public, they could allow them to stay. Now there is a zero-tolerance role and anybody that has a removal order or is found to be an undocumented immigrant has to go. Immigrants are discriminated by the police because one traffic stop could change their whole entire life. Police officers normally only ask the driver for identification when they are pulled over, police officers now will ask the passengers in the car for their identification if they suspect they are undocumented. This means if a person does not speak English as their first language or if they look foreign, they could be stopped and ask to present proof of citizenship.
This documentary relates to class because we discussed how immigrants have changed throughout the years and how policy has greatly changed after 9/11. The article we discussed in talked about crimmigration which is the increasing merging of immigration and criminal law. This documentary explains that with the policy changes in America regarding immigration anyone who illegally entered the country then was deported and reentered would be deemed a criminal. This would mean that they could never apply to be a permit resident or citizen in the U.S. This documentary showed that the undocumented immigrants the government is considering criminals are the opposite, they are hard working men and women who were immigrating from war torn countries and entered the United States to seek a better life. The documentary followed multiple different families from different cultures who were all escaping the violence in their homeland. We discussed in class that this problem of immigration is not just a problem in the U.S. it is a problem in almost every country in the world. This documentary shows how a father and mother from Pakistan moved to America on a tourist’s visa and they could not get it extended or apply from citizenship because 9/11 happened and the government made it extremely difficult and risky get the proper papers. Another mother had to be deported to back to Mexico even through she is married to a veteran of the U.S. armed forces.
I recommend others to watch this documentary because it is very eye opening to see the truth about immigration. For someone who has not live through it or had a someone they know live through it, the documentary shows that the undocumented people who are being departed are not criminals. They could be your neighbors, friends, your children’s friend at school, these people being sent back to war zones are not drug dealers or murders. The documentary also shows a little piece of how these normal people are treated by ICE officers. They treat the people who are being deported like they are in prison and they try to provoke them to do something like get into a fight just so they have a reason to deport them.
Menjivar, C., Gomez Cervantes, A., & Alvord, D. (2018). The expansion of “crimmigration”, mass
detention and deportation, 12(4). Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/soc4.12573
Netflix: Living Undocumented Season 1 Episode 1