I waver between wanting to laugh, cry, yell or get angry about the state of the United States today. Every day I think that this is the worst that it could get and then the sun comes up bringing with it something worse. Mass shootings, gun violence, racism, Trump and all his nonsense, separating kids from their families, denial of climate change, right wing yahoos everywhere, Harvey Weinstein and on and on. It is hard to remember there is light in that country of darkness. Now, it has become even harder after watching the Rosario Dawson (Rent, The Lego Batman Movie) executive produced documentary, The Deported.
A YouTube documentary, which is available on YouTube Originals, that looks at the war against undocumented people living in America. This present administration has made it a priority to deport people in the country illegally. They use the argument that they are doing this to rid the U.S. of a dangerous criminal population. Do we actually believe that? That is for everyone out there to decide.
Yes, this documentary, directed by Pat McGee (American Relapse) and narrated by Rosario Dawson, is slanted. It definitely comes from a particular political view. There are biases there. That being said, why is that a bad thing? All stories, fact or fiction, are told from someone’s perspective.
We follow the stories of four different families/individuals in different parts of the country – Michigan, California, Connecticut and Texas – and their stories of deportation. Each has resided in the U.S. for long periods (some for most of their lives) and are as American as their neighbours, but suddenly the threat of deportation is looming over them. Families will be torn apart or entire families will have to move to countries they are not familiar with.
Their spouses and/or children are American, so are not under the same threat. The stats that 800,000 American citizens are married to undocumented persons and that 250,000 U.S. citizen children lose a parent due to deportation runs across the screen in black and white. That is a huge segment of the population. Since Trump became President there has been a zero tolerance policy on so-called illegals beginning in January 2017.
An interesting couple of scenes focuses on several ICE officers, who are the ones arresting people so they can be deported. One says, “You can’t go wrong protecting the public.” Also alludes to the fact that he is aware of what people think of ICE officers as he says that they too have families and emotions.
Towards the end they admit there is not one right answer to this problem, but that we should continue looking at the issue. We are prodded to remember that immigration is about people and that it is critical that we hear their stories. Is this actually making the U.S. safer? Dawson looks at the camera and says “Is this the America we want to be?” None of the people/families being deported here are criminals. Quite the opposite, in that a couple will be in danger – one will be sent back to Mexico where here father was deported to and he sexually abused her, so could again and another family left Columbia due to the threats on their lives.