Monday, February 13, 2017

AIFF2016 Followup: Immigration Nightmare - The Movie

[You can scroll down to see the movie, and further to see one of the director I took when she was in Anchorage last December for another of her movies at the Anchorage International Film Festival.  But here's some immigration context for the film.]

Immigration dominates the news these days, but for many there is no sense of the topic.  But let's look at some numbers to put things in perspective.  From the Homeland Security Website:

Below are daily averages:
1,069,266 passengers and pedestrians
- 326,723 incoming international air passengers and crew
- 53,786 passengers and crew on arriving ship/boat
- 688,757 incoming land travelers
So, in a year, there are about 400 million people going through Customs.  And how many terrorist attacks have we had inside the US since 9/11?

Back to daily averages:
• Conducted 1,140 apprehensions between U.S. ports of entry
• Arrested 22 wanted criminals at U.S. ports of entry
• Refused 752 inadmissible persons at U.S. ports of entry
• Identified 877 individuals with suspected national security concerns
• Intercepted 20 fraudulent documents 
I can't find any explanations of these figures or the terms used, so I don't know if there is overlap from one category to another.  Were the 22 arrested already counted in the 1,140 apprehensions?  Were the 20 people intercepted with fraudulent documents also counted in the 752 inadmissible persons?

But for my purposes here, the numbers here are so low that I'll count them all as if they are all discrete counts.  The total comes to 2811.

So, on a daily basis, that comes down to one quarter of one percent  of the people coming through get onto the list of 2811 above.  That's one out of every 400.   I have to assume that the 'perfect' foreigner  like Anna in the film - highly skilled, US education, a place to stay and a job where people are needed badly, no suspicious connections - is one of the 2811 caught up in a typical day.  And perhaps the woman in the wheel chair who couldn't speak English who will have to stay overnight because Anna isn't allowed to translate - is she part of these numbers?  It's not clear.

Here's the whole film which is being highlighted at Short Film of the Week.

WELCOME from Serena Dykman on Vimeo.

Is the situation in the movie an exception to the rule?  It doesn't look like it.  From the Center for American Progress (in Wikipedia identified as a progressive policy group):
"The most serious conviction for many deported immigrants is an immigration or traffic violation. Forty-seven percent of those deported in FY 2012 for committing a crime were convicted of only immigration or traffic offenses." (emphasis added)
Another excellent full length film on immigration we saw at the Anchorage International Film Festival in 2013 was called De Nieuwe Wereld (The New World) and took place in the  no-man's-land between the arrival area and the departure area in Amsterdam (I'm guessing because it was a Dutch film) where people with questionable or missing documents are held pending a decision.

I've got this titled as part of the Anchorage International Film Festival 2016, because the filmmaker showed another film - NANA - at the festival this year.  I mentioned it briefly in this post, but I also had a video of Serena Dykman that I didn't have a chance to post.  Getting work of this film got me to get it ready so I could post it here.  Below she talks about the film she showed at the festival - about her grandmother who survived Auschwitz and took on the mission of going to schools and elsewhere to spread the word from the mouth of survivor.

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