Immigration Nation

by | Aug 5, 2020

The new Netflix series that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tried to legally block.

Although Clusiau and Schwartz make liberal use of text slates for statistics, Immigration Nation is mostly devoid of other context and narration. Instead, interview subjects of all kinds recount their personal experience with Trump’s ever-changing tactics to deport undocumented immigrants and deny entrance to asylum seekers. There are the emotional narratives viewers will likely already be familiar with, namely those of parents separated from their children at the border, families mourning the deaths of loved ones who attempted journeys to the U.S., and individuals sent back to countries where they will face certain peril. Tragically, these accounts aren’t what stand out. 

Instead, it is the perspective of the enforcers that are the most damning. Those who acknowledge the inherent flaws in the system while insisting they’re just “doing what they’re told” and “following the law” make up the majority of sentiments in every episode — a consistent passing of the buck not even Clusiau and Schwartz’s thousands of hours of footage could find an end to. As one man claims through embarrassed mumbling, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” 

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