Episode 2 shows the bureaucracy that fronts the law and the unfair and inhuman processes that follow.
This recap of Netflix series Immigration Nation episode 2, “Maintaining Vigilance” has information on the chapter.
The opening of Immigration Nation episode 2, “Maintaining Vigilance”
It’s a strange start to episode 2 showing families apprehended for the Detention Centre — if the centre is full, then the immigrants are placed on GPS monitoring to maintain vigilance and ensure that they remain compliant. Immigrants in this situation are only allowed to stay within a certain radius.
Request to go to court.
Josué Rodriguez is one of those immigrants under the GPS monitoring bracelet. ICE has asked him to come to court without his child. His lawyer says it’s unlikely that they will deport him. His wife is four hours away with his daughter; the lawyer has no idea what he can do to have a reunion but advises that Josué makes a request. What a nonsense situation.
ICE Deportation Officers
We are then shown an illegal immigrant male getting arrested for staying in the country despite his motion being denied. The ICE officer states he cannot buy a ticket home, he has to be arrested and states it is not ICE’s fault. This was a cruel moment with the man’s family in despair.
Most are not criminals
There’s no room for an appeal in most cases. In some cases, immigrants get an extension or approved of citizenship with the Deportation Officer but the system is based on luck. The officers are following the law and it could change from day to day. A good majority of these people don’t have criminal records and it’s very uncertain at present. These two scenes show that the new laws put in place are not working — it breaches human rights on every level as episode 1 also demonstrated. One of the deportation officers claims they only arrest someone if it’s tangible. It’s a daunting, almost otherworldly experience that people go through these processes with such anxiety with limited chances of being able to stay.
Families remain separated
Immigration Nation episode 2 states that despite Trump approving an executive order to stop families being separated, families are still separated. This shouldn’t be how it works — once a law is a law, it should be implemented for the sake of human rights and for the sanctity of law. There’s absolutely no excuse and the Netflix series has revealed the system’s true colours. An immigrant called Bernardo states than in the USA, he doesn’t even feel like he’s classed as the father of his own son based on ICE’s processes. Meanwhile, we learn that Josué and his family entered in America at the same time but ICE reprogrammed their GPS bracelets so they could stay in the same area. There is some good news in this Netflix series.
Life and death
The episode also explores how some families have to flee because they are in genuine danger — this is not new information but it’s important and the Netflix series re-drills the information. Some of these families have no option. It’s life or death. Carlos has a deportation order against him but he fears for his life so ICE is going to put forward a fear claim as well as they put him into custody. One of the case officers states he doesn’t care about public sentiment — he’s just doing his due process for people who do not belong in the country — he deflects the actions to the judge. It’s difficult not to be angry at this scene — his blatant disregard for human life — the job should not be about that.
Judges and courts
However, a judge states they are not in an independent court, they are working for an immigration agency which is an executive branch that connects to the DOJ (Department of Justice). It’s all about filling quotas — more orders of removal than actual justice. Some judges are scared. This is insightful but absolutely terrifying. The buck lies with the government.
The ending of Immigration Nation episode 2, “Maintaining Vigilance“
Back to Josué, he’s over the moon as ICE has finally removed the bracelet which is great news for him and his family. Their heels feel free again. Josué talks about the fear in the USA with all the uncertainty day after day. He’s seen a different reality in the USA — the American dream becomes a nightmare. There’s definitely a mistrust for the US government. Carlos talks about how the officers are just trying to do their jobs and it’s almost impossible to come to America legally. The episode draws to a close with Bernados telling his partner that there may be a chance of him remaining in the USA. Episode 2 shows the bureaucracy that fronts the law and the unfair and inhuman processes that follow.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.