Immigration is a pretty divisive topic, and if you’re unsure where you stand on the matter, Netflix’s new documentary, Immigration Nation, might just help you decide.
The six part docu-series shows the realities of living as an immigrant across the United States. We see government agencies as they arrest and deport people, harrowing scenes of family members being separated, and the people desperately petitioning the handling of such cases. If you feel like you don’t know enough about the US’s actions on immigration, this is a both gritty and heartbreaking way to get informed, and you can’t help but feel shocked at the nonchalant way that Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents go about their work. From the training they go through, to knocking on the doors of American immigrants, the documentary producers have gained an impressive amount of access.
The agents regularly push the boundaries of what is legal, using grey areas and loopholes to detain and deport immigrants. Watching this is likely to evoke a lot of emotions, ranging from outrage to pure disbelief, but it’s an important and informative documentary concerning something that is happening right now.
The docu-series has received a lot of praise in the press. In The Guardian, Charles Bramesco discusses the lengths that the documentary makers went through to get the series on air, after ICE tried their best to halt it. He says of the series: ‘the sprawling project unpacks this hot-button issue with a Dickensian scope, showing how decisions made by state and federal politicians send out shockwaves affecting law enforcement officials, lawyers, immigrants, their families and many others caught up in this thorny system.’
The documentation of the lives affected by this system is also mentioned in The New York Times. Mike Hale says: ‘what sticks with you from Immigration Nation is its up-close depiction of the banality of deportation — of the huge disconnect between the everyday people of ICE and the Border Patrol and the everyday people they detain, arrest and “process.”’
Immigration Nation is complex and at times hard to watch, but whatever your political stance, you’ll finish the six episodes more informed.
First shown August 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.