Immigration Nation review — Netflix series shows ICE’s arrogance and apathetic attitude

By Daniel Hart
Published: August 2, 2020 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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Netflix series Immigration Nation season 1


Immigration Nation shows arrogance, it shows no empathy and it shows a glaring issue — we are still on the wrong side of history. This Netflix series is 2020’s required viewing.

Netflix series Immigration Nation season 1 will be out on the platform on Aug 3, 2020.

We recapped every episode – check out the archive.

Firstly, let’s start off by saying that it is surprising that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) gave permissible access to camera crews to make this series happen. Maybe they hypothesised that if the context was provided, it would change the public’s mind about the policies. The whole “any press is good press” roared with applause inside the Public Affairs office.

However, Immigration Nation was never going to be a good PR spin for the federal agency. It takes one naive ICE officer smugly confirming the number of immigrants they’ve caught, paired with laughter at hitting a daily target, and it’s soon realised the true nature of this series — it’s an exposé more than an education. The public sensed the disregard of human life, triggered by the administration’s new policies — Netflix has unearthed them.

Immigration Nation season 1 is not a scene by scene account of how the immigration process works, it’s a turn-the-camera-on gig, which glaringly translates the story. You can presume that many will profess that the series is biased but ironically, ICE has more proud screen time in this than those who oppose their policies. There is more opportunity for them to demonstrate that their policies are correct.

The emotionally-fuelled moments only makes this documentary series essential viewing; witnessing adults break down in tears because their children have been separated from them makes it real — Immigration Nation is not a news piece that you can scroll past on Twitter, it’s an insight into the inhumane actions from a country that obsessively promotes freedom.

Immigration Nation does attempt to highlight the need for an immigration system — of course, one is needed, however, there are too many cracks in the Netflix series that argues a significant pitfall — the lack of human decency. An ICE officer getting stimulated by finding an undocumented immigrant who has been in the United States since 2001, harming absolutely no-one, is hardly a pro-immigration argument. It’s an anti-American statement.

The series doesn’t continually record people being ripped away from homes and their children. Immigration Nation spends time to reveal the full cycle. How ICE target veterans who have served for the country; how ICE privatised Detention Centres to make a profit — more immigrants, more money; how the immigration court judges are not independent and are unfairly asked to abide by a quota with the fear of losing their job; how privileged wealthy men purposefully exploit undocumented immigrants during rebuild efforts post a destructive hurricane.

The cycle presents more than an immigration problem. Immigration Nation dissects the real issue; like any problem worth tackling in America, the country cannot help making it into a cyclical war rather than implementing long term solutions. It’s a one-track record — using deterrence. However, deterrence does not seek a solution, it only lengthens the time the problem exists and the Netflix series does a comprehensive job of witnessing the cycle in raw form, by following real people rather than hiding behind informational graphs and a monotone narrator.

Immigration Nation brings the corporate swag that comes with this type of organisation that relishes in private income. Bryan Cox, an ICE spokesman, is almost movie-like — the confident man professionally fronts himself in the documentary series like he is occupying an evil lair, commanded to ensure that ICE remains grounded in the public eye. With Bryan Cox’s appearances, it is clear that this Netflix series is going to be divisive as the man fondly believes in what ICE is trying to do. And if he believes it, then it’s easy to believe that a silent majority does too.

Immigration Nation shows arrogance, it shows no empathy and it shows a glaring issue — we are still on the wrong side of history. This Netflix series is 2020’s required viewing.

Netflix, TV Reviews
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