Trump jails children for immigrating, new film

This 4 December 2018 video says about itself:

Icebox 2018 Official Trailer. Written & Directed by Daniel Sawka. Premieres on HBO on Dec. 7 at 8PM.

The NHMC [National Hispanic Media Coalition] supports programming that includes Latinos/as in prominent roles in front and behind camera, such as this feature, ICEBOX, which explores the grim realities of the current U.S. immigration system through eyes of Oscar, a 12-year-old school boy from Honduras, whose unsolicited connection with a violent local gang has led his parents to smuggle him out of the country in hopes of escaping to [US] America.

Caught by border agents in the Arizona desert and sent to an immigrant processing center for minors, Oscar struggles to gain control of his fate inside the “Icebox”.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Icebox: The US government locks up children

11 December 2018

Icebox, a film about young asylum seekers locked up by US authorities, is available for free streaming by nonsubscribers at HBO starting Monday, Dec. 10: here.

We reviewed the film and interviewed the director and actors at the Toronto film festival in September. Directed by Daniel Sawka and produced by veteran American writer-director-producer James L. Brooks (best known for his extensive work in television spanning four decades), Icebox focuses on a 12-year-old Honduran boy, Oscar (Anthony Gonzalez), forced by gang activity to flee his home country and head for the US, where an uncle lives.

The trip north in a truck is frightening enough, organized by thugs who, at one point, pick out the women they think attractive enough to work as prostitutes. In the desert, the group of immigrants climb a border fence and ride off across the desert on bicycles provided by the smugglers. Oscar has a problem with his bike, and finds himself alone in the wasteland.

A sinister US border patrol drone, hovering in the sky like a bird of prey, spots Oscar and agents take him into custody. He ends up in a detention center, better known as the icebox. Here, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, children are locked up in cages. They shiver at night under plastic “space blankets.”

Oscar repeatedly attempts to telephone his uncle, without initial success. Other young detainees pour cold water on his illusions about being able to stay in the US: “They’ll send you back.” “Would they build places like this if they wanted us to stay?” “There is no asylum. They’re sending us all back.”

Oscar meets a female journalist (Genesis Rodriguez), and prevails upon her to contact his uncle for him. The latter, Manuel (the talented Omar Leyva), finally comes for Oscar. Manuel is in the US on a temporary visa and has hesitated to help Oscar because of fears about his own precarious situation. Picking up Oscar at the detention center, he mutters, “Never been so scared in my life.”

At the farm near Phoenix, Arizona where Manuel works in the fields, he and Oscar fill out forms and prepare for a hearing before an immigration judge. They have no legal counsel to assist them. Nonetheless, they persevere in the face of the bureaucratic red tape.

Oscar dresses up for his hearing. The judge (Forrest Fyre), perfectly civil and polite but without any comprehension of or perhaps interest in the violent, dangerous conditions in Honduras, asks Oscar whether he was forced to join the gang in question. In his ruling, the judge notes that gang violence is “prevalent” in Honduras, and we “can’t give you asylum.”

Manuel now faces a moral dilemma. He has vouched for Oscar. If he aids his nephew to go underground in the US, what will happen to his own chances of staying in the country? “If I let you run, I’ll lose everything!” On the other hand, if he helps send Oscar back to Honduras, will he be responsible for what happens to the boy?

Daniel Sawka’s film is sincere and intelligently done. Preparatory work on Icebox was begun under the Obama administration, which deported hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants. Donald Trump has made vicious, venomous attacks on immigrants a centerpiece of his government’s right-wing policies.

Border Angels, a migrant rights group, estimates that 10,000 men, women and children have died since 1994 attempting to cross the increasingly militarized US-Mexico border. Icebox bends over backward to portray the circumstances in the detention center in the most impartial manner and clearly has no wish to condemn either ICE or the border patrol as an institution. One suspects the everyday conditions are considerably worse than those depicted in Sawka’s film. But this only has the effect of making the objective brutality of incarcerating children, whose sole wrongdoing is attempting to cross a border, all the more cruel and depraved.

The film places great emphasis on the intimidation Oscar’s uncle feels in the presence of any representatives of US law and order. None of the various agents acts here improperly or with particular violence. Again, this only reinforces the inhumanity of a situation where millions of men and women are obliged to live in terror for the crime of attempting to make a living for themselves and their families.

Sawka’s Icebox concentrates on gang violence as the principal factor in the decision of Oscar’s family to send him away to the US. In part, this is no doubt an effort to build a “stronger case” dramatically and emotionally. Oscar, literally, has no choice—gang members are threatening his life unless he takes part in their activities.

But drug and gang violence themselves are only symptoms of the barbaric social realities confronting the working class and rural poor in Central America, whose impoverished countries have been wracked by intense violence produced, above all, by decades of US imperialist domination. Those generalized conditions have driven vast numbers to head north, where they face further repression and threats to the elementary right to work and live.

The greatest strength of Icebox is that the filmmakers have decided, to their credit, to tell the story from the point of view of a 12-year-old Honduran refugee and with unquestionable sympathy and anger.

ICE RAMPS UP UNDOCUMENTED ARRESTS Immigration and Customs Enforcement has ramped up its investigations of workplaces suspected of employing undocumented immigrants, with a surge in the number of workers arrested from 300 last year to 2,300 in 2018. [HuffPost]

In a series of tweets Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump threatened to bypass the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and have the military build a wall along the US-Mexico border. After congratulating the government agencies for “securing” the border, he criticized the Democrats for wanting “Open Borders for anyone to come in. This brings large scale crime and disease”: here.

Trump’s embrace of murder in the Saudi regime’s assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, his defense of fascists such as the neo-Nazis who marched last year in Charlottesville, his racist and fascistic attacks on immigrants, are blowing up a basic ideological pillar of US imperialist foreign policy—the pretense that the United States is a bulwark of human rights and democracy: here.

4 thoughts on “Trump jails children for immigrating, new film

  1. Pingback: Trump imprisons 15,000 children for immigrating | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Again, child arrested for immigrating dies in the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Children abused sexually in USA for immigrating | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: American Jews against Trump’s horror camps | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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