“It’s time to listen to the people whose lives are being directly affected by immigration policies. It’s time to get to know the individuals whose complex stories have been reduced to basic headlines,” Selena Gomez writes about her Netflix documentary series – Living Undocumented. I couldn’t agree with her more. But I hadn’t seen the news about the show before. I had only seen the title when trying to decide what to watch. The title registered, but honestly, I had initial visions that it’d be another horrifying tour through a detention center and news-based episodes and I skipped over it. Yesterday I finally decided to watch the first episode, and now I’m on the 4th.
This isn’t another news documentary. It’s a deep dive into the uncomfortable truth, a humanizing look into what votes have done to rip good families apart. This show makes you feel it, sit with it. It makes it real. Maybe my blogs are still just words, but if you can see it, if you can hear it, maybe then people will understand. Everyone should watch it. Anyone that wants to argue immigration politics with me needs to watch it.
“We here this thing about ‘Why don’t they do it the right way?’ ‘Why don’t they stand in line and wait their turn?’ There is no line to wait for them. You either have to be petitioned by a family member, petitioned by a job. You have to have some lawful reason to enter the united states. You can’t just show up at the US Consulate and say ‘I want to become a resident of the United States.”
But the lottery! Some say (I even said) but the green card lottery is only for countries with low immigration numbers, and for 2021, they’re issuing 55,000 total. People cannot apply if they’re from:
Nigeria, Bangladesh, China (mainland-born), India, Pakistan, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Great Britain (United Kingdom) – including Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St. Helena, and Turks and Caicos Islands, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, or Mexico. (They threw Mexico in there twice and ended with it, you know, just in case).
It isn’t that easy. Also – that number is the equivalent of a not-full Patriots game at Gilette. If you take every person that wins a green card and spread them evenly through the states, that’s 1,100 people. In the smallest state, right now, there are more than 1.057 million humans. Do we really believe that this is the most we can do?
Thankfully Rami and I are safe here in Florence. But others aren’t so lucky, and they are just like us – people, humans, looking to live happy, spend time with their families. Instead, there is violence at home. Some on the show are still getting threats from the country they fled and asked asylum from. There are kids who never knew anything else but their schools with the US flag in the corner.
It’s madness that papers don’t go through anymore. It’s crazy that people that have proven their worth in my home country are being torn apart. It’s insane that so many still believe in their ignorance that there is a simple easy way to do it. Watch the show. It isn’t my story or Rami’s – we’re just another further layer in this mess, but Undocumented shows the stories behind the numbers that are plastered all over the news. The people that stand and keep going behind the name-calling, the humans that just want what we all want. Go watch it.