For thousands of years humans have migrated across miles and continents in order to improve conditions for themselves – Hittites, Greeks and Romans into Egypt; Celts and Vikings through Europe; Native Americans, Catholics, Quakers and Protestants into and throughout America. Heck, all life forms move from point A to point B for survival.
Brian Ging’s film Beyond Borders: The Debate Over Human Migration takes on both sides of the current legal and illegal immigration issues her in the United States. From Minutemen raging over about the
6 billion people
who will want to come to America (almost the world’s entire population) and a right wing talk show host complaining about laundry hanging over the front fence –his perception of an invasion by illegal immigrants, oh heck, immigrants in general– to Border Patrol officers and pro-immigration forces, from Noam Chomsky and popular Reconquisator “Ask a Mexican” columnist Gustavo Arellano, the voices are heard.
Immigrants, those here now and those who would-be, voice their reasons and desires for what is beyond the American Dream, the dream of all beings to have a better life for themselves and their offspring.
The film is balanced, though the anti-immigration forces are in my opinion appear really extreme and nutty. (Maybe they are!)
What if I took your camera right now?
asks one Minuteman in a hyperbolic metaphor for immigrants taking –uh what exactly? Minimum wage jobs? Temporary farm work? Are “real Americans” lining up for these gigs? And Ging makes the point of asking, through clever use of vintage film stock and interviews, who are “real Americans”? We all immigrated, or are descended from immigrants, some willingly, some through slavery.
Ging also explodes the myth about immigrants not wanting to learn English or assimilate. He also explores the declining world population and “replacement rates,” which give insight into one way population shifts may stabilize (if given proper economic and socio-political incentives.) our world is full of bounty and possibilities for everyone if we manage the Earth well enough; there is no need for fear mongering or xenophobia.