Episode 5 tackles asylum seekers which prove ICE’s policies are even more absurd for this status.
This recap of Netflix series Immigration Nation episode 5, “The Right Way” has information on the chapter.
The opening of Immigration Nation episode 5, “The Right Way“
At the start of the episode, an immigrant asks an ICE officer if he could stay away from his family for 10 years and “be patient”. The same officer is interviewed and he doesn’t understand why immigrants don’t try do it “the right way”. This argument will always be a terrible point — it’s naive. And ICE seem to follow this ridiculous point regarding asylum seekers throughout the episode — like they all have the option to follow the “legal way”. More than 20% detained by ICE are asylum seekers.
It’s not a prison apparently
ICE try telling the viewers that the Detention Centres are safe and are good living conditions. Some asylum seekers are on hunger strike because they are not getting released. An ICE officer claims they are not being held to be punished — they are not prisoners. Well, they look like prisoners to me and they are being punished for trying to get asylum. If you hold people in a detention centre for years and years — what is that? It’s definitely not a nice place of stay, is it?
The case of Berta
Episode 5 case studies a 63-year old grandmother asylum seeker named Berta who came to the States legally with her granddaughter. But when the mother arrived, she was detained. The family was in danger from a gang which is why they came to the United States. Congress has told Berta’s lawyer that if he can prove the scope of an asylum seeker then she can be released — but ICE says no anyway. The lawyer reckons they are using Berta as a deterrent. Let’s repeat that, ICE is using a 63-year old woman as a deterrent despite legally coming to America in the first place.
The treatment of asylum seekers changed when the Trump administration formed. They barely accept any asylum now — the episode is talking about innocent families.
Making it political
The government has made asylum seekers political and have shut them down purposefully despite the laws that allow people to come to the country for various reasons. The episode discusses an acid survivor called Deborah from Uganda. Deborah tells her story of the acid attack and it is horrific. She was accepted by the US government, however, her children have still not been approved. This makes no sense whatsoever — this family separation policy is absurd.
Executive orders, again
The UN then get involved in the episode and talk about their processes in helping those in need get resettlement. In a speech, Trump celebrates reducing refugee settlement by 85%. Trump also gave an executive order shutting down the family reunification programme for asylum seekers. A group called Amnesty International is trying to change the policies that horrifically take away asylum protection.
Gaming the system
Immigration Nation episode 5 sees ICE generalizing asylum seekers with a certain behaviour — a typical tactic.
An ICE Officer claims that some people claim “asylum” status to game the system. I wouldn’t say this is a wrong statement, but generalizing asylum seekers is not the way forward. Thus proving it should be a case by case basis and not a blanket rule of a deterrent.
“The country is full”
Bryan Cox, the ICE spokesman, claims that the door is closed for asylum seekers while their case is adjudicated whereas before, the door was open while the case was reviewed. Migrants remain in Mexico while this happens and it’s not sustainable for that country. Trump also claims that the USA is full. This whole “the country is full” theory is also nonsense.
Seeing her children
Deborah is returning to her home country to see her children in the hope it will speed up the process — her lawyer advises against it. Deborah’s children had to flee to Kenya due to the acid attack. Deborah discusses that separation of families is the worst punishment. She manages to expedite her children’s interviews. Her lawyer tries to keep Deborah grounded and tries to keep it realistic — she doesn’t want Deborah to feel regrets for her children and be too hopeful. You can tell her lawyer has been let down plenty of times before.
She can be deported at anytime
Berta’s court appeal has been rejected and she’s scared of returning home as she will be murdered. Her lawyer has suggested submitting an emergency petition. The lawyer explains that Berta can be deported at any time and ICE give no warning or airport details.
The ending of Immigration Nation episode 5, “The Right Way”
The ICE gave Berta no time and she was deported instantly with no warning. Her daughter states that no-one can know she returned to her home country or the gang will murder her.
The next scene is happier at least as Deborah greets her children at the airport to claps and cheers. Her children are finally joining her after the applications were approved — five years without her children is frankly unacceptable and ICE should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. Her lawyer explains that so many other families are in this situation and calls it small progress.
Episode 5, “The Right Way” ends with dead bodies in a river — a father grew tired of the processing centers and tried to swim the river himself. He drowned. The policies are causing lives to be lost. Episode 5 tackles asylum seekers which prove ICE’s policies are even more absurd for this status.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.