Border Wars

TV review by Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Border Wars Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 15+

Homeland Security docu deals with danger, drugs, more.

Parents say

age 12+

Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 17+

Based on 1 review

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Community Reviews

age 12+

Review is unfair and biased about illegal immigration; very good show

The show covers mature themes, including the drug trade (the cartels, their violence, and the specific types of drugs they smuggle, inclucing heroin) and the politically charged issue of illegal immigration (including the fact that many would-be border crossers die of exposure and/or dehydration in the desert). It also touches at least once on the issue of forced prostitution and sexual slavery, and the instance I saw involved a pair of eight-year-old twin girls, who were being transported across the border by a man who claimed to be their godfather. First, I think the issue represents a very dark, unpleasant part of the real world that many parents would prefer to shelter their children from until they reach an age at which the parent feels their offspring can handle it. In addition, seeing a pair of eight-year-olds (their faces are blurred out but you can see their bodies) who look very much like themselves or their siblings or friends at school, and hearing about what might have been their fate, might be particularly upsetting for children. I write mostly, however, to protest the biased review. Bias is shown first of all, by the reviewer's repeated use of the euphemism "undocumented persons/individuals" The term attempts to whitewash the fact that people who cross the border without "documents" are breaking the law. It's particularly appalling to see the use of a term that seeks to bury a moral reality of law-breaking at a website designed to help parents navigate today's media without undoing their efforts to teach their children right from wrong. Further bias is shown by the way the review obsessively returns again and again to the issue of illegal immigration, even though the show is split pretty much 50/50 on the drug trade and illegal immigration, with occasional touches on terrorism and the sex trade. Further bias is shown in this passage [as I'll show in the bracketed interpolations below]: "But you can also sense that it's a promotional vehicle for Homeland Security, which has been heavily criticized in the past for racially profiling suspects and for being largely ineffective. [This introduces something extraneous to the show, and constitutes the reviewer's own opinion and conclusions regarding the outside information.] Border control officers are quick to justify their searches of specific vehicles and their drivers [In fact, the officers are explaining why they have seen evidence amounting to reasonable suspicion or probable cause, which under US constutional law is necessary to conduct a search.], while agents who are arresting illegal immigrants (the majority of whom are of Latino heritage) [The border covered by the show is the US/Mexican border, and Mexico's economy is at the time was in much worse shape than the US economy, so of course the majority of illegal immigrants are going to be of Latino heritage.] continually remind viewers that many of them have criminal records. [It's merely factual that many illegal immigrants have criminal records involving other kinds of crimes. It's also biased to overlook the fact that the immigrants who are caught were *in the process* of creating a "criminal record" for themselves, by breaking immigration law. The reviewer treats illegal immigrants as if they're utterly innocent.] " I've found the show to be even-handed and objective, and often, if anything, overly sympathetic to illegal immigrants. I think it could do a better job of comparing the US/Mexican border to the US/Canadian border, to create balance and provide a larger picture, particularly with regard to the fact that people (of non-Latino backgrounds) illegally immigrate across the Canadian border all the time, and that the relatively open border there arguably provides a much greater risk with regard to terrorism.

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