If you’re interested in heartbreak, Crossing Over is the movie for you. Depicting illegal immigration in a number of forms, it’s the heartless who truly will enjoy this film.
Harrison Ford portrays an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer whose duties wear on him as notably as the years since he once warped through the strip and galaxy in American Graffiti and Star Wars. Reluctantly taking part in yet another raid, the scatter leaves him face-to-face with a young Latino mom whose eyes require no translation to convey a desperate plea to overlook her hiding spot.
As such, he can’t hide from his duty in the face of less forgiving agents. “Did you get her number,” a fellow agent feigns indifference.
When she reveals a son that will be hung out to dry in a less than accredited childcare situation, “Brogan” concedes to the gravity of not being able to undo every injustice, and the weight of another day forces him down even further. Of course, he relents but 2,000 miles of unprotected fence and gridlock in congress offer far from a fair chance for “Maria” to even the life and death odds.
The Wall doesn’t apply for all.
Tragedy inevitable, among the rest of the roster of illegal immigration stories is an Australian actress trying to get a work Visa, a secular Israeli seeking a religious exemption, and an entire Middle-eastern family put on notice after their daughter writes a school essay that explores a point-of-view of the 9/11 hijackers.
Otherwise, the paths they choose seek to work within and without of the legal framework, while the officials they are faced with act in kind.
Ray Liotta doesn’t hesitate to exercise his authority when the Aussie crashes into his car. Seemingly sympathetic, his intervention quickly descends and dumbfounds the attractive starlet when he invites her to lunch. “I’d like to explain your options to you,” he puts a kind face on the clear disadvantage she is at.
Little choice, not much imagination is needed to see where the plot is going. So by the end of the journey, which she actually ups in hopes of getting full status, a full body dousing in sanitizer still will not relieve you of the sludge that seems entrapped under your skin.
On the other hand, an Iranian family doing all the right things from the outset sinks well below the hijinks above and intersects with Ford’s travails. Duplicitously American, the head of the family, whose son is Ford’s partner, still adheres to the religious medievalism of the old country and goes to the extreme to put their thoroughly American daughter in line.
The Patriot Act Trumps the First Amendment
In contrast, the student’s family, who have intermediary status but not complete citizenship, finds that refuge in the first amendment does not extend to objectively exploring the motives of the hijackers. “I understand their need to be heard,” she declares in her essay.
Not interested in such conjecture – even if disapproving of the methods, the FBI agent declares that the young girl is illegal and removable. “They are shit out of luck,” says the abomination of an agent and the family splitting choice they are left with is unimaginable.
Of course, as we all know, the film and life provide happy endings to the uncertainty of making America a home. But Crossing Over makes a clear statement about the lack of empathy too many of us have in regard to the difficult decisions that must be made on the issue.
Brogan voices the sentiment as a young agent is way too eager to bust in on his first raid. “Don’t worry, you’re not going to miss anything,” Brogan’s words fall on deaf ears in the final scene and our callous consciousness.