Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Migration and "Documentary" Film

Although it's been a hot topic for nearly three decades, immigration is rarely taken as the subject of feature films and documentaries. The 1980s classic El Norte and last year's A Day without a Mexican, are notable exceptions. The Washington Post today reports that conservative David N. Bossie, best known for releasing recordings of Hillary Clinton’s phone conversations with Webster Hubble (of Whitewater infamy). Bossie was fired from his position as an investigator for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee when it came to light that the tapes were edited so that it appeared that Clinton participated in billing irregularities at the Arkansas law firm where she once worked with Mr. Hubbell.

Now Mr. Bossie has turned to "documentary" filmmaking with the release of "Border War." As the title suggests, the film focusess on the seedy side of immigration: the coyotes who abandon immigrants in the desert, the men who sexually harass and assault young women as they travel north, and criminal activity on the U.S.-Mexico Border. He also examines immigration advocates who question (or disregard) the legitimacy of the border and border enforcement, because much the territory of the U.S. southwest was once part of Mexico.

Based on what I have read here, it appears the Bossie's film, although clearly framed to show a very limited view of the border and immigration, does address some of the real and extremely troubling issues that the nation should be debating as we consider an immigration reform law. By limiting his presentation to those issues that are most likely to enrage the public, however, the film will not further the national debate on immigration, but will likely increase polarization of public opinion.

No comments: