Amidst the fury of the ongoing immigration debate, we're often denied the personal stories of human suffering and loss that result from the crisis. The Brave New Films documentary Immigrants for Sale follows several families who are stuck in the crosshairs of the immigration epidemic, and serves as a deeply intimate and compassionate portrait of the suffering caused by the ill-conceived laws designed to contain it.
The film also points to a far more insidious and sinister dynamic which lies at the heart of many of these laws and policies: the capturing of illegal immigrants, and the destruction of their families, for the benefit of politics and profit.
Immigrants for Sale dissects one such regulation - SB1070, a sweeping and controversial anti-immigration bill enacted in Arizona - and shows the egregious human rights violations which have rippled from its passage. As the film suggests, the 2010 bill, which has since been adopted in various forms in a series of other states, provides a financial boon to one of the most profitable industries in the United States: the prison system. After all, more inmates equals more profit, and an anti-immigration bill like SB1070 ensures that a steady stream of fresh inmates will continue to cascade upon the nation's prisons in large quantities. As a result of these measures, the United States prison system accumulates an astounding profit of five billion dollars annually.
The private prison industry, led by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), played an essential role in the formation of SB1070. According to the narrative set forth the bill represents an exciting new business model for these companies - the detainment of illegal immigrants as a means of expanding their bottom line.
These damning observations on the political and corporate machinations surrounding immigration reform are played out against a decidedly more humanistic landscape; one where spouses and children take center stage as the innocent bystanders of the war on immigration. By planting an unflinching eye upon their personal struggles, Immigrants for Sale allows us a greater understanding of the inadequacies of current immigration policies, and the need for continued debate and reform.