The media source I chose to watch was a documentary called Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis by The New York Times. This short film was based off thousands of children fleeing from Central America to Mexico to then get to the United States, illegally. In the documentary, these children were filmed to show how they go about this process to try to escape. These young children (ages 19 and under) leave their families homes, without telling them, to try to escape the drugs, violence, and corruption. This film gave insight to how thousands of people are struggling in these countries and what they have to go through in their everyday lives. They do not feel safe and try to flee to America for a better life; whether it is a safer alternative through the route they have to take, or not.
One of the key points presented in this documentary was how corrupt governments truly are. After watching the film, it made me feel empathy for many of these people struggling to get to the United States for a better life. The film showed how the gangs and police work with each other and how the police basically protect the gangs. Many kids were shown huffing glue right in front of police, and nothing was done. People do this to pass the time by and so that they’re not truly “living” in the world with what they are surrounded by. How could one not blame another for doing things they do to get somewhere for protection, better rights, jobs, involving families, education and more?
When we discussed in class what comes to mind when we think of immigration, the first thought that came to my mind was “the wall” and how the United States is trying to protect us from these illegal immigrants coming over. In reality, and what was shown in the documentary, these young children are just trying to make a better life for themselves. They want to protect themselves and their families. They walked miles, crossed through rivers, and tried to stay hidden from the border protection patrol. If they get caught, gangs could take their families and make them do horrific acts, and even worse acts. This shows how desperate these individuals are and the risk they are willing to take to try to get across the border without getting caught.
Statistics show that apprehensions of people crossing on the Southwest border illegally peaked in 2000 at 1.64 million and have generally declined since, totaling 396,579 in 2018 (Illegal Immigration Statistics). There are most likely more undocumented attempts to how many people have tried to cross the border illegally, as well that may have gotten caught by gangs, etc. It was shown in the documentary that others help individuals on crossing over. They gave these young children shelter and food before they took off in the long journey. This documentary showed how much effort into their lives they put into just getting to the states.
Another key point discussed in the documentary were individuals getting deported who lived in America for years. These people had to start their lives over again, getting sent back home through busses back to Mexico, some either who have over stayed their green card, did not even know they were not a U.S. citizen (from being there since birth) and some for minor charges while not being a citizen. This is in relation to our discussion on crimmigration laws in class. The crimmigration article writes, “Today, an aggravated felony includes theft, use of false documents, and failure to appear in court, as well as rape and murder,” (Menjivar 5). These are all regards into immigrants who commit these crimes, and must be deported. People in the United States commit some of these crimes (theft) every day and do not get treated the way these immigrants do.
After watching this documentary, I have gain a lot more insight on illegal immigration. I recommend this documentary because it has led me to feel more empathy for these innocent people and their lives. I believe more needs to be done to avoid these individuals from crossing over illegally, whether it would be from the United States itself from making it easier to get a green card to come over to states. Another possible solution could be government changes in other countries. I feel compassion for these individuals that fear for their lives every day in their own countries and not feeling welcomed by other countries. Sometimes some take living in America for granted and this documentary should be a reminder on why we should always be thankful we have protection, education, and the success that we do in the United States.
Menjivar, Cecilia, Gomez Cervantes A, Alvord D. “The Expansion of ‘Crimmigration, Mass Detention, and Deportation.” Sociology Compass. 2018.
Robertson, Lori. “Illegal Immigration Statistics.” FactCheck.org, 7 June 2019.
Documentary Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxF0t-SMEXA&t=512s