Thoughts After Viewing “Immigration Nation,” the ICE Docuseries on Netflix
If you are someone who hasn’t put too much thought into your opinions on the role of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or you feel like you aren’t informed enough to “take a side” one way or another about the agency, I highly recommend watching the documentary series “Immigration Nation” on Netflix. The project is a powerful exercise in honest storytelling.
When I watched it, the thing I found most unsettling was the way that when ICE agents were given an opportunity to provide their honest perspectives on the work they do every day, they said some form of “well, the law is the law, and we just do what we are told.” Almost every time.
I can’t understand that. I can’t understand the blind acceptance of “authority” without questioning the cultural impact of that authority’s actions or without zooming out to examine the legitimacy of the systems in which you are choosing to participate.
How do you divorce the work you do every day — entering people’s homes at 6 am and taking hard-working parents away from their children for the sake of the “law” — from the complicit role you play in making possible the ridiculous and inhumane criminalization of immigration we are seeing in this country.
The only reason the existence of an immigration enforcement agency would be necessary is if their mission and purpose were to help immigrants navigate the system and get on a path to citizenship, regardless of how they got here. As a nation, we need to stop confusing legality with justice. Just because something is policy, does not mean it is just, right, or beneficial to the future of our society. Anyone who believes in America’s core values of freedom and democracy would never blindly accept a policy as just and necessary (or enforce it) without thinking it through for themselves.
I know that not all ICE agents are bad people. I got to know several of them in my time working in immigration legal aid. I know that many of them just want a good job to feed their families. But there comes a point in everyone’s life where we each must reckon with the things for which we chose to stand.
I would love to open conversations with anyone who has further thoughts on the subject or who has watched the series.
Que siga la lucha, amores. 💕