Beyond Borders: The Debate Over Human Migration

mig1The second installment in A New View Film Series was a screening of the film Beyond Borders: The Debate Over Human Migration. Held at Butler University’s Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, The Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice in partnership with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, held the second installment in this series on September 22, 2016. This extraordinary documentary is especially relevant in today’s political climate with the national eye on the hot-button issue of immigration. With hateful rhetoric that seems to be rooted in fear, racism, and xenophobia, Beyond Borders does an excellent job dismantling many widely believed myths regarding immigration. Beyond Borders tackles immigration from an American viewpoint with a focus being on immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and Latin America, specifically.

The 2016-election year began extremely controversially with Donald Trump’s making hateful blanket statements about Mexicans immigrants being “rapists” or “criminals.” This hateful polemic has led to the rise in xenophobia and to many media outlets reporting false statistics on immigration, and radio talk show host, Terry Anderson, was used in the film as one of the most extreme peddlers of such rhetoric. As a result, citizen vigilante groups that have taken it upon themselves to police the Mexico-American border have become increasingly popular to join. The Minuteman Project was the example documented in the film whose on-screen time mainly consisted of their members promoting false statistics about immigration, such as the fear that immigrants are going to cause an overpopulation problem in the United States.

However, there were many positive counterpoints, such as some that were raised by journalist Gustavo Arellano, who spent the film defending the importance of immigration. Fears that Mexican immigrants are ‘stealing’ American jobs or that they are mooching off of our welfare system were further disproved by other academics interviewed in the film, such as Noam Chomsky.

mig2Following the viewing of the film, John Clark from the Center for Interfaith Cooperation led a charged discussion that lasted for over an hour. Many of the audience members echoed pro-immigration sentiments that were detailed by immigration experts featured in the film. However, some of the audience members were not convinced. The debate began to heat up when one audience member argued that America should not accept any more immigrants with the rampant amount of poverty that current American citizens face. However, this sentiment was met with a number of objectives from other audience members who argued that immigrants play a crucial role in our society by accepting jobs in the service industry that most Americans do not want to do.

Overall, Beyond Borders: The Debate for Human Migration, led to a relevant and productive discussion surrounding moral and ethical questions of whether or not all humans are entitled to migrate. The next film in A New View Film Series will feature Inocente, a film about a fifteen year-old, homeless immigrant who refuses to let the bleakness of her surroundings deter her dream of becoming an artist. The screening of Inocente will be held on Thursday, November 17th at 6:30pm in Butler University’s Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.

By: Caroline Whang

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