Immigration Nation episode 6 recap – “Prevention Through Deterrence”

By Daniel Hart
Published: August 3, 2020 (Last updated: February 13, 2024)
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Netflix series Immigration Nation episode 6 - Prevention Through Deterrence


Episode 6 is a brutal ending to the documentary series as it tells audiences about border control and human smuggling.

This recap of Netflix series Immigration Nation episode 6, “Prevention Through Deterrence” has information on the chapter.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening of Immigration Nation episode 6, “Prevention Through Deterrence

Border patrol has found a dead body; the deceased tried travelling through the mountains to America with a group and died. They inform the father of the deceased and he’s devastated and wants to reclaim the body of his son. Finding bodies happens regularly. These people are desperate. They have to store unidentified deceased migrants and some officers have the job of identifying and finding the deceased’s family. It’s a very large number of bodies found every day. These are the kind of real-life truths that we don’t like to accept but it’s reality. It’s happening and nothing is done to stop it.

Detect and deter

American Border control tends to detect and deter. There are many human smuggling organizations and there are squads that are implemented to stop them. Without money, migrants can’t cross with the smugglers. An organization called HSI goes undercover to stop the smuggling from happening. Episode 6 follows an operation where HSI has an informant. They find a group of migrants. Smugglers tend to get many groups across and HSI does not catch as many as we’d like to think.

Innovative smugglers

Smugglers surprisingly have a lot of intel that makes it very difficult for HSI. The HSI has to continually innovate to figure out the smuggler’s processes. A man named Javier describes how gruesome the journey is when smuggled — migrants have to keep moving and there are no excuses. It usually involves incredible and difficult terrain. This was a surprising revelation that human smugglers are difficult to seek out.

There are more deaths than you think

An archaeologist talks about how body parts are spread all over the terrain where migrants try to cross the border to Arizona. He states that more people die than we think because animals eat body remains so the actual number is way higher. Dying in the desert is brutal. This is a dreadful case study to watch.

Helping families

Immigration Nation episode 6 offers some hope for those trying to cross the border.

A human rights activist group has been formed to help families get justice and DNA on unidentified cases in southern Arizona. Biological profiling is very difficult and the pressure is clearly there when a parent is looking for a child. This is a human rights crisis. A smuggler states that they have responsibility for so many people so they can’t just stop for one person to risk the whole group, which is when they usually die.

Law enforcement and paramedic

A border control officer states that it’s a balance between law enforcement to being a paramedic. They spend so much time tracking people but when they find them, they are in medical distress. The same officer finds a man who is trying to find his family — he wants to go to Los Angeles. The man is clearly in distress and is dehydrated and starts crying; he has also been eating barrel cactus fruit and hasn’t drunk water in three days. This migrant is so grateful for help from border control after crossing the border for 15 days. This was very upsetting to watch — no words can describe what this migrant went through.

Prevention through deterrence

A group of volunteers searches the borders to try and help the migrants get to water. But there are cruel practices by law enforcement who empty water bottles that have been left out on the trails. The viewers are reminded that this was bad before the Trump administration. It’s been bad and passed on from President to President. Policy in 1994 shows that there was a “prevention through deterrence” clause that actually stated migrant deaths should help deter migrants crossing. But deaths continue to increase. After 9/11 the policies got worse as Bush linked terrorism to undocumented migrants.

All border control is doing is helping cartels make more money and increase the number of deaths, however, the budget continues to increase.

The ending of Immigration Nation episode 6, “Prevention Through Deterrence

Bryan Cox, the ICE spokesman, states the fear of getting caught is a deterrent. He compares this to speed limits on the road and how people stick to the speeds because there might be a cop. This was a flimsy and frankly incredible comparison — comparing speed limits to human lives is absurd and almost non-human to say. As this documentary suggests, there needs to be a better way to deal with immigration.

The last five minutes of this documentary series consists of ICE officers justifying why they do their jobs and by this point, you have to wonder if the viewers care what they think. Something has to change. Episode 6 is a brutal ending to the documentary series as it tells audiences about border control and human smuggling.

Netflix, TV Recaps
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