Two Americans -- a Film Review
This film attempts to reduce the unfortunate inrush of millions of undocumented persons into our country to a bumpy and not invisible theatre of manufactured experiences. The plight of the new self-created polity of illegals is all we are exposed to, as if there were no legal back-structure or consequences to our country -- to every land -- as they crush our infrastructure's ability to contain or manage this invasion.
We are shown weepy photogenic children who are the born-here offspring of the sometime-incarcerated sneak-in parents. The Constitutional amendment meant for freed slaves is being abused to permit untold millions of extra-nationals to drop babies here and become poof! Instant cereal citizens of this great nation. These cute ragamuffins mewl about how hard it is to go to school daily without their parents to wake them. (They stay with relatives who take up the parental reins for the months the parents are in ICE jail custody.)
The moms are busy getting pregnant and cooing over the new U.S.-hospital-born kidlet-citizens/anchor babies. That phrase, or reference to the 14th Amendment intended for freed slaves, unsurprisingly never appears in this lengthy doc. There is no mention of the penalties and jailtime and severe restrictions we would face if we were to be discovered overstaying our visas or having no visas at all in such draconian countries (for over-stayers) as Mexico, Honduras, or Guatemala. Try getting into Uganda without a permit. Try bouncing to the Bolshoi in Big Bear Putin country.
No way, Jose.
As we have come to expect from the dishonest public dialogue on the topic, the term "immigrant" is used promiscuously to convey all illegals. These however are not immigrants. They are invisible invaders and trespassers. Were we to continue this untenable track, we would easily be overwhelmed with persons of every country except maybe Vanuatu, the Maldives (sinking faster than comfortable), and North Korea (impermeable to outside travel except to fans of Dennis Rodman).
The real prospect of terror infiltrations across the border is never broached. Gratitude to the U.S. for the endless favors they have been extracting? Never cited. Instead, "self-deportation" is the boo! Hiss! villain that reaps signage and bullhorn condemnation. Instead, we see these pious people in church, lobbing volleyballs, making the sign of the Cross, and in general being apple-pie unremarkable. After a segment of weepy, inarticulate women and just-slightly-better kids, the camera circles back to the amazing, ferociously committed, rough-hewn but determinedly no-nonsense Sheriff Arpaio. He tells us he gets "lots of heat" for his determined stance to follow the law of the land. And he does. We see crowds demonstrating against him as some sort of latter-day Hitler, and as a beheaded figure in effigy. Nice. He shrugs. It rolls off him. His deputies are equally committed, but we see less of them than of the sometimes country-droll "most famous sheriff in the country" (probably the world, since few countries even have one sheriff).
Occasionally, Arpaio has had to let a few of his deputies or police go for corruption of various sorts, making him regretful but undimmed. The putative "hard guys" wear suits, have neatly cut hair, are impassive in the face of numerous rallies and protests and screaming noncitizens with signs misspelled (One amusing sign read "Stop pickin on PRENTS!").
The illegals, in colorful cotton attire and T-shirts, flip-flops and caps, are corralled by hard-left community organizers and La Raza (unbenignly racist) regiments with bullhorns: Don't sign anything! Resist. Don't agree to anything! Get money for a lawyer! Sign nothing. The distaff-side lawyers here are full of self-righteousness and prickly avoidance of law. It's all about Just Being Kind to People Trying to Better Themselves.
The film avoids talking about dangerous sneak-ins from places unknown. There is no talk about actual alarming rises, now pandemic in the southern border states and such cities as Phoenix, in abductions, rapes, kidnapping (Phoenix is #1 in the nation), theft, land vandalism, car accidents, drunken driving, massive property damage, a host of crimes that are not reported as keyed to such itinerant noncitizens. The law is mentioned as a passing triviality, though considerable effort is expended deriding 1070, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's earnest effort to follow the law of the land and contain illegals back to their original countries. Picturesque and English-speaking runny-nose kids are photographed as they apostrophize the current president by name, asking him to 'Let my parents stay here and take me to school.'
Arpaio is one of the sharpest and toughest guys on the tarmac since Clint cocked his Magnum .44. "See these teeth?" he asks the filmmakers. Points to his full mouth of perfect, white-on-white choppers unusual in a man of his age: "See these, here? Cost me $20,000 bucks. 'Cause of high-def TV; I saw my teeth didn't look good and figured I had to look right on high-definition..." He's on call for TV interviews all over the world, but never loses his focus.
Why the pink shorts, socks, and towels on male inmates under his purview? ("We kept seeing our white ones disappearing. But nobody steals pink shorts!")
On the doc reeled for nearly 2 hours, half mocking the astonishingly vivid sheriff and his determined efforts, half plunging into the vernacular world of illegals' little dog-and-pony shows of anecdotal woe, without legal underpinning or rationale beyond Poor us! Aren't we just too sweet to send back? No stats on escalating crime waves are provided or hinted at. All are ideal citizens-to-be, apparently. Despite the thousands of new crimes and deaths.
We see dozens of documentaries every year. Most of them are remarkable histories that strive hard to present both sides fairly and with maximal facts and stats. This documentary is shoddy work, without the fig-leaf of facts on the "other" side, and without the decency to include the costs of incorporating cheaper labor, vast government subsidies for education, welfare, medicine, and hospitalization. The effort to catch the side of law enforcement in open-mic rages against the illegals is a subplot that never ceases. We do hear a few derogatory remarks, but not unwonted, and not all that big a deal, considering the abuse heaped on law enforcement, police, and Arpaio himself every day of his tenure.
"If people don't like me, why do they keep sending me money?" he asks. "I got $2 million in donations [unsolicited] in under 12 months," he says, a smile sort of hovering near his usually dour demeanor. He has one photo of himself smiling ("The best photographer in the world got this!" he crows.) He's been re-elected popularly five -- or is it six? -- times.
Against this effort is the frequent recourse to men in admirable physical shape trimming topiaries, gardening, hauling sacks, or doing manual labor on the agri expanses that provide us our arugula and artichokes, our heirloom tomatoes and okra.
Not on display is the ardent fight of House and Senate diehards to pull a permanent Democrat majority out of this sad stateless mass of humanity. Not on display is the round of unprecedented ignoring of Constitutional law by this administration and its minions, Attorney General Eric Holder and his feckless hirelings, to make Arizona an outlaw state unless it bows in lawless acquiescence. Not on display is the failure of the last amnesty, by Reinaldus Maximus, President Ronald Reagan, in 1986, which opened the door for this wretched problem of not-citizen ragtag brigades clambering into the country without end. No screen shots of holes in fencing, holes under inadequate barriers, holes in border-crossing travesties.
The audience for the private screening at the AS/COA (Americas Society/Council of the Americas, Park & 68th St., Manhattan, a forum dedicated to education, debate, and dialogue in the Americas) was decorous throughout, though one could not stay for the planned Q-and-A after the screen went black; one assumes the tenor of the SRO crowd could have been seen from the nature of the unheard questions. But we had other calls on our time.
The dishonesty, imbalance, and nontransparency of the partisan filmmakers did not require one force oneself to sit through... praise? Contumely? Ridicule?... for this most unhelpful faux feature on family disorder among the illicit occupiers of our nation, whether they are sweet and religious folk, or hardened criminals trafficking in assault, vandalism, drugs, contraband, or the efforted destruction of our heretofore great republic.
The Congressional Budget Office just found that anywhere from 50% to 66% of such illegal in-migration would go on unabated if the current bill were to be made law. Despite unflagging "border surges," in boom times or bust, the current Corker-Hoeven amendment does nothing to change the clunky posturing of the immigration bill: Every last criminal or insurgent becomes eligible for legal status six months after the bill's signed, before any enforcement provisions are even scheded to take effect. No matter any hiring of 20,000 new border agents. Got a great bridge to sell you.
Enforcement in the past has been a joke. Even under the Republicans. Under this administration and the flawed-flaky dynamisms of Senators Schumer and his bratpack, enforcement will likely be scrapped as forgettable or 'too harsh.' Yet failure to follow through on stated enforcement and border stricture goals wouldn't affect the inexorable sprint to citizenship for these unknown myriads. Broad discretion to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano is granted. Secretary Incompetano once bizarrely stated, in 2011, that the Department of Homeland Security already has "effective control over the great majority" of both the northern and southern borders of the U.S. Lollipop, anyone?