By: Noelle Trinidad
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.- Netflix. A pass-way to a wide variety of television shows, documentaries and movies. For the past year, Netflix has done an amazing job of putting forth media that broadcast numerous societal issues, such as racism/police brutality (“When They See Us”) mental health (“13 Reasons Why”) and of course the most controversial topic of discussion right now: immigration. “Living Undocumented” is Netflix’s new limited series that follows eight families from all different countries (Honduras, Mexico, Israel, Colombia and the Philippines) and stories of how and why they migrated all across the globe. This show not only interviews the families going through this tragic event, but they also interview immigration lawyers and former ICE attorneys. With the help of the interviews with actual lawyers and ICE attorneys, the audience is given background information and insight of the impact of immigration reform, ranging from former President Clinton’s policy on immigration right after 9/11 to the Trump Administration’s “Zero Tolerance Policy” on all undocumented people.
There is no way to describe how a person should feel after watching “Living Undocumented,” but I can try with these three words: raw, intimate and heart-wrenching. Right from episode one to episode six, your heart strings are already pulled in hundreds of different directions because you’re seeing first hand families being ripped apart like nothing. We are shown real footage of these immigrants and what they went through to get to America, how they fought so hard and relentlessly to stay with their loved ones and we unfortunately see some of the family members still get deported. “Living Undocumented,” made me really sad, but it also was an enormous wake up call that this is an issue that needs to be fixed. The series is definitely not a fun Friday watch and it certainly wasn’t an easy one either, but it was a necessary one. It made me want to personally reach out to all eight of the undocumented families and tell them my condolences. I wanted to tell them that they’re not alone and they have people standing with them. I wanted to tell them I know that not all immigrants are bad. Lastly, I wanted to apologize about how my country had failed them. In the wise words of one of the most influential artists this year, Childish Gambino, “yes… This is America.” DO NOT simply turn your head from this docu-series.