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The Visitor: I Just Want My Life Back
Here is a movie that seeks to capture post 9-11 immigration policies, and specifically, the increased securitization of immigration control in the United States.
It is shocking that people would find it acceptable to keep "foreigners" and even fellow Americans like Sarjina Emy (who have committed no crime) behind bars without due process of law. Remember, even illegal presence is NOT a crime; it is a civil offense. The courts have gone as far as to rule that while it is illegal to enter the country without the proper documents and permissions (an action that DREAMers are not liable for since they were not adults and did not willingly break any laws), it is not necessarily illegal to be in the country. There is absolutely no humane justifable reason to limit the mobility of migrant bodies via detention.
A lot of us (DREAMers) can relate to Tarek, the Syrian held in detention, in The Visitor when he declares "this is not fair. I am not a criminal…I have committed no crime…there are no terrrorists in here. The terrorists they have money and support." If we are indeed forging ahead with making a border wall, lets not call it "border security" because it is not for homeland security–no terrorist is trekking the desert or swimming across the Rio Grande with bombs. Lets honestly call it the "Wall to Keep out Mexicans." The movie does not explicitly explore post-911 racial politics but the double conscious of the scapegoated Arab-American immigrant is apparent.
This post is about the physical detention of a migrant human body but lets not be fooled into thinking that there aren't other ways of detaining people. Asylum seekers, migrants and DREAMers are all detained in the "waiting rooms of history." The more subtle forms of local, national and international detentions will be explored in a later post.
We just want our lives back.