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In Philadelphia, this is Fresh Air. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Today, a dramatic look inside the Trump administration's crackdown on immigration. Documentary filmmaker Shaul Schwarz and Christina Cloche got extraordinary access to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers for a two year period as they arrested, detained and questioned undocumented immigrants. Their new series presents a compelling picture of the immigration system showing ICE officers, immigrants and their families, activists and a smuggler who guides immigrants from Mexico through treacherous desert terrain.
The six part series Immigration Nation is now available for streaming on Netflix. Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews jazz pianist and composer James Carney's new album, Pure Heart With. We're not going to yell out in the hallway through a closed door, man, is how we do business. Please open the door so we can talk to you.
That's the sound of an immigration raid getting underway in the new six part documentary series Immigration Nation, now streaming on Netflix. Our guests today are the series co directors and coexistent producers, Christina Eulogio and Shaul Schwarz. They spent three years filming immigration enforcement actions and their effects after President Trump took office and they had remarkable access to agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. As you'll hear, the filmmakers relationship with ICE deteriorated sharply after the agency saw rough drafts of the planned episodes.
The series follows ICE agents, their supervisors and spokesmen, activists, immigrants and their families, and even a smuggler who guides migrants across the U.S. border for hefty fees. The stories are compelling, and they raise questions about the impact of the Trump administration's crackdown on immigration. Shaul Schwarz and Christina Floorshow have collaborated on several previous documentaries, including the Emmy Award winning films A Year in Space and Trophy. Schwartz spent time around the U.S. Mexican border for his 2013 film Narco Cultura, which premiered at the Sundance Festival in 2013.
Schwartz and Claudio join me via Skype from Brooklyn.
Well, welcome to Fresh Air, both of you, and congratulations on the documentary.
So let's begin with the immigration arrests that we just heard. A bit of that opens the series. You want to just explain what's happening here a bit and then we'll listen and talk a bit more about how they get in.
Well, we are in New York City with fugitive operations. That's part of ice that basically gets what they refer to as targets. And an alien, I'm using their terminology, an alien that's committed a crime and they are looking to basically make an arrest to that individual.
In doing so, ICE usually does some pretty work and some kind of detective work to know where the individuals at or what's the best way to approach it.
And usually the individuals on these task force start very early in the morning. And the scene you are seeing is when they're knocking on a door, I'd say just after 6:00 a.m. in the Bronx. Right.
And we'll just note that there are quite a number of ICE officers sort of lined up in the hallway. So let's hear what happens. This is briefly edited for length. Let's listen.
We're not going to yell out in the hallway through a closed door man is not how we do business.
Please open the door so we can talk to you later. I'm sorry to bother you. It's great to talk to you. We don't have the commitment to go. But I want to show you some pictures. We will, of course, be using this address. Oh, all right. Come in. Yeah. If you want to put your name in an animal. Right. How many people are using the bathroom? That they're not telling me that I can use a living room.
I'll tell you everything that I care about. I'm going to I'm going to explain to the daughter what's going on. What was the point of what was actually a federal offense to come back to the country to have a warrant for his arrest? Can I see the warrant? I'm not obligated to show it to anybody. I have walked in here without it. All right. I have a warrant for his arrest. I got to take him to the southern district of New York.
He's going to be remanded today.
OK, but can I see any paperwork? You know, I'll give you a lot of paperwork. Say that you guys have permission to come in here. Oh, no, I have I have a warrant for him. And I know he lives here, so that's why I'm in here. Plus, you open the door and let me in.
And that's from the documentary Immigration Nation, which is co-director by our guest, Christina Clezio and Shaul Schwarz. You know, I've heard immigration attorneys advise people who lack legal status that if ICE officers show up at your door, you're not obliged to open the door, you're not obliged to let them in, which some might find a little strange, given that they're federal officials. Talk a bit a little bit about what we are hearing here and how ICE officers manage the rules to get into an apartment in a circumstance like this.
That is correct. Usually, if it's an administrative warrant, which a number of these warrants are with fugitive ops teams, they are not allowed to just enter a property unless they are given permission. So what generally happens is they knock on the door, they call it a knock and talk, and they convince the individual inside if they believe that the target that they're going after is in the apartment or is using the address, they use all sorts of tactics, as you hear, to get access to the apartment.
And then at that point, they can make an arrest and detain the individual that they were targeting. And so in this situation, because they only have an administrative warrant, they need the individual to open the door. And if not, they usually have to leave.
Right. So what begins as open the door, ma'am, so we can talk ends with. I don't have to show you the warrant. Correct.
It's it's a cat and mouse, if you will, for the ICE agents who work in fugitive operations.
There's a lot of prep work that goes in. They want to get in that door there. They're there. They've woken up early.
They're keen to get their arrests. This is also during an operation. You know, when Trump came into power, there was this push to install fear, if you will, to know that there's activities. New York City, I was upset they didn't see cooperation from the local police. And they wanted to make a point that if you're not going to play along, we're going to get out there and we're going to take people, you know, specifically, they go after what's called target.
Those are the people who both have an immigration offense and some kind of other criminal act that could be smaller, big. But there's also what's called the collateral arrest when you encounter people that are at that address that are simply here with an immigration offense. So this was part of an operation that was called Keep Safe. And it was kind of a push back to the city to show that they will be aggressive and they will get out there.
You know, they they begin when they knock on the door by saying policía police, are they police? They are police, but that is a tactic they are literally taught. The idea is like if they say ice, the door is not opening as far as they're concerned.
And just to add to that, you know, I think what we started to see during this period of time is that there was much more awareness of ICE officers coming to doors early in the morning. And so there was also a push back from immigration advocates and immigration lawyers to know your rights to state to individuals that you're not obliged to open the door if somebody comes to your door and says that their immigration. And so I had to get creative with their tactics.
And so they're trained to say police are trained to convince them to open the door. Just as I was sad to say that, you know, this is we're looking for somebody that's using this address. And generally we saw most people comply with that, but others don't. And so there was always a pushback is that they would go to a number of doors in the morning and, you know, they would maybe be able to enter into one out of five apartments or one out of six.
And as time went on through this period of time, we saw that getting increasingly more difficult for them. And you noted that there would be a target person for the arrest, but then if there are other people there who don't have legal status, they would arrest them to typically call them collaterals and they like to get the numbers up. There's a moment here where we hear the officer involved in the raid that we heard. I think his name is Brian, talking about how this whole collateral thing didn't sit so well with him.
Let's listen. I don't really I don't do collateral. I just don't think it's right. Like, if I get somebody that's not cooperative, it's a different story. But if you let me into your house and talk to me, I'm not going to roll your fingerprints and arrest you just because you're here illegally. I know it's my job, but I've you know, I got guys that are aggravated felons and I'd like to catch I don't care about the guy that's my is on business and cooperating with me.
Just for the sake of numbers, anyway, interesting, isn't it, in immigration nation, I think one of the most fascinating things about this six part documentary is how many ICE agents you get in candid moments expressing opinions.
I want to play a couple of them here besides those. One is a couple of officers. And this is in Charlotte, North Carolina, where ICE has gone on an aggressive enforcement campaign after a new local sheriff was elected who terminated a program in which people arrested locally would be routinely turned over to immigration authorities.
So I decided to react to that by going out and arresting people into the community, which created quite a reaction. And what we're going to hear here is a couple of ICE agents returning from one of these actions where they've arrested several immigrant.
My last stop on the guys like me. He goes, What are you doing? So you're under arrest for us. Goes, you can't arrest us for being here illegally anymore.
Is it really he can't arrest us for being here illegally anymore. They told me at a press conference that this is a sanctuary place and you're not allowed to arrest me anymore.
They did. They lied to you.
And want to play one more clip and we'll talk.
This is another officer, Mike, who is working along the U.S. Mexican border, driving along in a pickup and sharing his view of his job. Let's listen.
I can't tell you how exhausting it is day in and day out to be putting cuffs on people that you want to. You can't blame one iota for what they did. They didn't kill their wife. They didn't set off a bomb somewhere. They didn't rob a bank doing exactly what I would do in their situation, which is to try to come here. I don't like that about my career, but I still think it's important to do it and I put my personal feelings aside, which, yeah, maybe that's what every Nazi said.
Right. And I put my feelings aside, but I actually believe in the cause of trying to enforce some sort of sovereignty over our borders. And no one's figured out a better way to do it yet.
And that's from the documentary Immigration Nation, a six part documentary series now streaming on Netflix co, directed by our guest, Shaul Schwarz. And Christina Closure. This is a remarkable look inside of eyes.
Did most officers have some ambivalence about arresting and deporting these people who many of whom they had to see is pretty desperate about seeking to better their lives?
I'd say some. I think some did. I think perhaps the majority did not or didn't show it quite.
But, you know, ISIS is a big agency and there's definitely all kinds of shades of officers. There was definitely overall an involvement during the Trump era that kind of went from the top down of this, proud to do the job and to push back and to show. So I think we show that in the show of the no game and the people kind of really feeling, you know, I remember when we started, they said, you know, now we're supported.
The gloves are off. And there was a lot of people felt excited about that. They get to do their job in their language.
But, you know, there are certainly officers were different and questioned that. I remember we spend a lot of officer a lot of time with an officer called Judy in New York.
And I think she questioned from the beginning her tactics and her showing discretion to how to do her job was less offensive way and really trying to to minimize the situation.
So I think we saw all shades of of reactions.
You know, I have to ask you how you got this incredible access to ice, which is not known for opening its doors to media.
Yeah, we I had a relationship with ICE from prior work on working the Mexican-American Drug War, and I had worked with Homeland Security Investigation, which is a part of ice, back almost a decade ago on some of the drug work they do.
And during that, I met an ICE spokesman, which I stayed an acquaintance or became really a friend of.
And for the years, I would ask him during the Obama times, once or twice, if in very unusual ways, but if we could also do an immigration story.
And the general feel I got at that time is, you know, no one's really complaining. Let's no no need for this. And, you know, immigration was has always been a hot issue, but it wasn't what it became under the Trump era.
And as Trump was campaigning and shortly after he had won the election, me and Christina, we wonder if ice position would change. We certainly expected them to come under a lot of heat during this administration. And we thought this might be a time where they would want to trust someone to go in there.
And we pitched them with the idea. We said, listen, you're going to come under a lot of heat. Most people don't understand the complexity of the issue and what ICE actually does as a whole.
And we would love to do a portrait of the agency under this administration and see what the position your officers are in and see how that whole immigration system looks in this time. And that's kind of how it started.
So you had a contract with them, right, which guaranteed you independence, but it gave them the right to review the material once you were prepared to air it and objects on certain limited, specific grounds. What what could they object to? Correct.
So we had what was called a multimedia agreement. And it's not it's something that all production companies have if you are working with the government agencies such as DHS. And so within that contract, it said that I had the right to review the cards for factual inaccuracies, law enforcement, sensitive information. So tactics that they use that are not publicly available or publicly known in any sort of privacy Fourth Amendment rights.
And when you showed them some early drafts of the episodes, what happened? So that's when really the tone changed. We had a really good relationship for two and a half years, we had the ability to work within the system all over the country. And when we started to show them cuts, they clearly determined that this is not favorable to them and that this is not something that they liked. And so they started to push back on other things, not only the three things that we mentioned that were in the contract, but also they tried to editorialize some of the content.
Yeah, they eventually four months, we would be back and forth with the spokesman. They would come up with us, to say the least, bizarre legal ideas of why certain things should be deleted. And they were the pattern was very clear when it was unfavorable and when they had anything, they they would just go at the opportunity. They claimed really at times quite ridiculous claims. You know, to give a quick example, there was a machine that takes your fingerprints.
When officers are out in the field, they saw a scene that officers do it and take a couple of collateral arrests and told us that we should take out the scene because that is law enforcement sensitive. Well, we Google that and we saw that it was all over the place.
All over the place as in like they're on their own website, right? Yeah.
So then at first we were like, this picture's all over media. Then we saw that the picture was actually distributed by ICE spokesmen who are the ones telling us that this is law enforcement sensitive. It's really unfortunate.
I think we are grateful to the boots on the ground, kind of men and women of ice for being super real, for letting us be flies on the wall, for being open, for being honest, for being complex. And that's a show we wanted to put forward. And I think if you know, the request that they made, that did make sense. Some of them were not in the contract. They said, you know, please take the last names of our officers and delete those.
And we were like, of course, that seems like a request that is very fair.
But we just wish it didn't kind of become what it had. But it was also very telling about this administration.
You know, the Trump administration's policy of separating families at the border or zero tolerance is portrayed in the film.
There's one case, a man named Bernardo, who came from Guatemala with his son Emilio, and they were separated. And you filmed him at a detention center, I believe, in El Paso while his son was allowed to go and live with Bernardo. Sister in law. Was that in Houston? I'm trying to remember. Yes, right.
So I want to hear a moment here where Bernardo was talking to you at the detention center, utterly distraught, in tears.
We'll listen to just a bit because it's in Spanish. But I thought I just wanted to get a sense of the emotional impact of some of these scenes. Let's listen to this man who's been separated from his son. Is this incidental, is better?
No, no, no, nothing. Can you give up other? Essentially, he's saying that I haven't seen my son in three months and we don't know what's going to happen, you know, it gradually dawned on the media and the public what was happening with this child separation, but not immediately because it was implemented before it was publicly announced.
You were following, you know, immigration enforcement through this period. Did you see this unfold in real time? Yeah, pretty much.
We when the story broke, we were inside the El Paso Detention Center.
So as we kind of tiptoe to get the story and I remember being there one day and asking one of the deportation officers if he knows if there's any separated family of fathers, we were in a male cell here and he went into the cell.
Sam is his name.
And he kind of really nonchalantly asked Hazor, you know, how many of you have been separated from your kids? And out of 20 in that room, 18 raise their hand. And I do remember me and Christina kind of being like ho.
And that's where we met Bernardo and some of the other fathers we portray in the show.
All right. Let me reintroduce you will take another break here. Christina Clezio and Shaul Schwarz, our co directors and producers of the six part documentary series Immigration Nation, now available for streaming on Netflix. They'll talk more about what they observed of immigration enforcement after we take a break.
I'm Dave Davies, and this is fresh air support for this podcast. And the following message come from the Glenn Levitt's new Caribbean Reserve expression, a new single malt with a bold tropical twist that is selectively finished in barrels that previously held Caribbean rum, offering a sweet and smooth taste. Learn more at the Glenlivet Dotcom, the Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, single malt Scotch whisky. Enjoy our quality responsibly. 40 percent alcohol by volume 80 proof 20-20 imported by the Glenlivet Distilling Company.
New York. New York. This is Fresh Air. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. My guests are Shaul Schwarz and Kristina Classico, co directors and producers of the six part documentary series Immigration Nation, which is now available for streaming on Netflix. They spent three years filming immigration enforcement and its effects with remarkable inside access to immigration officers as they arrested and detained undocumented immigrants. When we left off, we'd heard about a man named Bernardo who'd come to the U.S. from Guatemala and was arrested and detained and separated from his teenage son.
What's really remarkable about this, I think, is that you not only show Bernardo, who's at the detention center in El Paso, but you find Emilio, his son, who is at his aunt's house. In Houston, and you really cover both ends of the story. There are times when Emilio and his father Bernardo are talking, we hear both ends of the conversation. We hear Emilio, the son, talking to his mother in Guatemala. And this is pretty remarkable stuff.
How did you track this down and managed to cover both sides of this drama?
Yeah, because we met Bernardo initially and he, you know, wanted to tell his story. I wanted to share what he was going through. He also told us that it was very important for us to not just tell his story from in detention, but to tell the story of his son, of his sister in law and his wife back in Guatemala. And so we kind of felt that we started to understand that when you detain an individual within ICE detention, you're not just detaining that person, that there is a circular effect that happens to all members of their family.
So whether it be Rebecca, who is in Guatemala, who is waiting for for Bernardo to make sure that he is safe, whether there is Emilio who felt at the time that he was the reason that they were separated, you know, this like trauma and blame.
And you start to see the effect of the whole cycle that it's just not the person in detention, but is everybody else, the entire family. And so we started to go to we went to Houston, we talked to Amelia, we talked to Irene, the sister in law. And then we also went we felt it was really important to show the life in Guatemala in what was happening there. And so we went to see Rebecca and the other two kids to understand what they were going through because of this separation in this detention.
And Bernardo, you know, we should also note that that Bernardo was seeking asylum. Right. And he was presented with the choice. Right. You can go back to Guatemala, be deported. You will send you and Emilio back to Guatemala, if you will give up your asylum claim. Right. So there was an out for him if he just gave up his his case, right? Correct.
And I think that the trick was, is that a lot of the tactics and that we were saw and that we talked about earlier is this idea to make life so unbearable that you will just give up. And so we saw it, for example, with Bernardo. We saw it with another character, Bertholt. We saw it with another character, Deborah, that you put the paperwork in administrative processing. You make it terrible for them to stay here, that they just want to give up, even though they are trying to respect the laws and trying to do everything in their power to do it the right way to file for asylum, to ask for protection that our laws, our laws allow us to do.
But this administration wants to make you give up.
You know, the case of Berta is interesting. She came with her granddaughter, right, who a local gang wanted to take her for, quote unquote, marriage. And so they left, came and applied for asylum. And then Berta, well, you know, presented herself as the law provides. And while waiting for a resolution of the case is held in a detention center for 17 months.
You know, the Trump administration has said we've heard they've heard the president say, look, this this this request for asylum has become a gambit that, you know, economic migrants play. They all come with the script. Oh, you know, in my village, I face danger if I go back and therefore I'm seeking asylum.
In your experience, talking to the many, many immigrants that you spoke to, did you get any sense of that anyone was trying to kind of game the system and misrepresent the dangers that they faced?
Yes, there were some I think there are some people who used that as a loophole. With that said, there's many who don't who you get a sense that their case is super real.
There's many who had fear that that didn't exactly qualify, wasn't documented well enough.
But what we would see overwhelmingly, especially as time kind of pushed forward and the remain in Mexico policy, so to speak, came, is that there wasn't a real attempt to weed out those who are gaming the system and those who are real.
There was an attempt to send the message that you are not wanted in Berta's case, like like we said, she did everything correctly. Her case was very, very strong. There was great documentation of past issues.
Here is a lady that could qualify for a bond from ICE. They get all, but they choose to hold her for 17 months. And the reason was sending a message. If you come here, this is what this is pre making. Immigrants wait in Mexico, so, yes, I do think there was a loophole in asylum that was sometimes there and some people took advantage, but I think the correction, so to speak, was not a real attempt to correct.
And we've seen other reports of people whose job it is and USCIS to interview these people and saying that the system was constantly putting pressure on them to find anything to toss them.
So, you know, we have to we have to kind of be careful about the lines here.
You know, the last episode of this series takes us to the border where Customs and Border Protection, you know, seeks to stop people who are coming across the border. And there are also officials of ice. And it's what I guess the investigation and security division is that what it's called, our homeland security investigations.
Right. You have a little anecdote of one agent who is also a paramedic who assists people who are dying, starving and dehydrated in the desert. He gets a call on the radio that there's a guy out on the road who's in pretty bad shape. He finds them and he's a young Guatemalan man who is lost. And the agent could see from the truck that he has little spines and thorns and barbs in his lips, which tells him he was so desperate he was eating the cactus.
Yeah. I mean, this unit is an elite border patrol unit called BORSTAR Border Trauma Search and Rescue. And their role is complex because they're tasked with one helping those that they find lost in the desert and to then detaining them. And so there's this complexity that happens. And I think when the officer approaches him on the side of the road, he had already seen he had seen this before. This wasn't the first time that he found a migrant that had crossed and spent 15 days in the desert and had to eat cactuses and had no water.
And so their job is to help them. But then at the same time, the flip side of that is because they are still a law enforcement agency, that individual was detained. All right. He literally picks the barbs out of his lips and tongue and then before he arrests them. Exactly. It's an amazing moment where, again, if you look at it in the cat and mouse, the cat gets a mouse, helps him for a second, but everybody and the immigrant is thankful.
But it's just the sheer information that we saw kind of unfold of the immigrant saying that he was left to die and someone else has died and that he's walked 15 days and how dehydrated he is.
And even I mean, this was near Tulsa and he asks him if he's next to L.A., just the confusion.
And it was to us and to our cameraperson, Eric's filming there.
It was so haunting to see. But I think for the agents on the ground, this is the reality. This is something that happens day to day. And there is this kind of feeling we got there and elsewhere filming the show that they're almost desensitized in a way to that.
And even as he helps, right after the young Guatemalan man is taken by the ambulance, he talks to one of his colleagues and say how fun this area is and how they kind of chase people. And there's a duality of this chase that leads people deeper into the desert where they might die.
And at the same time, seeing this agent, being able to change his hat on and be very kind and picking out the thorns and helping and perhaps saving lives.
We're going to take another break here. So let me reintroduce you. Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clezio are co directors of the six part documentary series Immigration Nation, now available for streaming on Netflix. We'll be right back after a break. This is fresh air.
Black voters play a crucial role for any Democrat who seeks to win the White House. But some big divides amongst that bloc and some serious ambivalence could determine who is elected president this November. Listen now on the Code Switch podcast from NPR. This is Fresh Air, and my guests are Christina Clezio and Shaul Schwartz, co-director and co producers of the new six part documentary series Immigration Nation, now available for streaming on Netflix.
We meet a guy named Cesar or Cesar, I guess, who's in an interesting example of an undocumented immigrant. You want to just explain his situation?
Yeah, he is. Well, he was brought here when he was two years old. He eventually becomes legal, has a green card, and he joins the U.S. Marines.
Well, Cesar commits a crime after being in the Marines of possession of marijuana, a large quantity, by the way, but signs a plea deal does not spend a day in jail and continues his life.
12 years later, he takes a vacation to Costa Rica. And on the way back, he is arrested, turned over to ice and deported.
Cesar is one of hundreds, possibly thousands of deported veterans, people who have served in our armed forces and have been deported after for committing a certain crime. And unlike most of these veterans, Cesar chose to come back home and live as a fugitive. He believes that he's an American. He did not want to stay in Mexico, and we met him after he had been in hiding for over six years.
Right. And we'll listen to a moment from the documentary. And this is where he has gone to try and visit the newly elected governor of Arizona, Michelle Lujan Grisham, who as a congressperson had expressed support for veterans in this positions who had been deported. And he's going to see the governor because she could grant a pardon to him for the marijuana conviction that led to him being deported, which presumably would allow him to regain status and live legally in the United States.
And what we'll hear here is where an assistant to the governor has come out, a young woman, and explained that the governor is too busy to meet with him now. And so Salazar is standing in this reception area. There are a lot of people around and he pleads with this young assistant to help him. I'm tired and I'm tired of the politicians not listening to us, how can they do this to us? We were willing to give our lives.
I would have given my life for you right now. I would stand in front of a bullet for any one here.
All I ask is for her to say, you know what? You guys are worth the you guys are our Marines. Our our Army. You should have never been deported. This shouldn't never happen. This is a tear in the American fabric of our society. And we need to mend it and we need to mend it with actions, not words. We need to do it now. Save me these. I want to come home legally, it's quite a moment he's wearing his Marine uniform there as he is in the governor's reception area.
Do you know if he ever got to meet with the governor or was it ever resolved?
He did not meet with the governor. But I am happy to say that a few weeks ago, Cesar actually received the pardon from the governor.
So he is in the process of getting trying to fix his status, even though he was pardoned.
He's still currently undocumented and is trying to work with his immigration lawyers to change that.
So it's it's not clear that that will happen. He still has to make his case, correct? Correct. It's it's unclear. We have seen other veterans that were pardoned that were able to do it. But since Caesar did choose to come back, it's hard to say.
And he's trying to make his case, even though the governor did pardon him.
Caesar is one of many veterans who are really activists trying to change this. And I think this is something that really hit us hard. And it says something about the system in large. This debate is so heated and we're so quick to disagree and scream at each other as a country about it.
And the strange thing is, I think we saw a lot of things that we think we could agree on. And this is a great example.
I mean, how many Americans really think we should be deporting our veterans?
I doubt many. Yet this has been active since the Clinton days.
How is it that undocumented people can join the military and then be deported for it? How does this happen? Yes.
So you have to be a legal permanent resident or a green card holder in order to join the military. And so it's not undocumented individuals. You have to have some sort of status in the country in order to join the military. And so, Caesar, at that period of time, he had a legal permanent residence and a green card holder. So he was able to join the military.
But during President Clinton, there was a reform which was really a very restrictive that's our last time we have overhauled the immigration system. And it was really a very restrictive reform.
And as part of that, it said that legal residents, including green card holders, which commit a crime at the first it was felonies that's been dropped to nonviolent crimes as well, later could be deported. It didn't specifically target veterans, but it included them. And so ever since then, we've seen these people basically turn into deportable. And just as a reference, immigrants widely serve our country. There's been over half a million immigrants, legal residents that decided to join the armed forces in this country.
Did you need to get specific permission from everyone that you filmed? I'm wondering what kind of legal and ethical issues come into play when you're, you know, filming, you know, an arrest or some other operation?
Sir, we did get specific permission from anybody that we filmed in any of the characters that we profiled throughout the series. It became tricky, especially when we are embedding with ice, because, for example, when you go to a door with ice at six a.m. and knock on the door, we needed to make it very clear from the outset that we were not with ice, that we were independent journalists and that we were requesting to come in and document.
A lot of times people would say, no, you know, I'm not interested. And we would back off and wait outside and others would say, yes, you can come in and document. I think people wanted to record what was happening. And so after that, we would follow up with them again and say, you know, we need you to sign releases. You know, we would like to tell your story. We'd like to continue on.
And so those were the processes we take. And even when we were in detention centres, we had a protocol that we would need individuals that we spoke to to sign releases.
And just to add, when we met Cesar, the deported veteran, he told us about his story in that he was a fugitive in his own country.
And I remember the first question was like, are you sure you want to do this? You would basically be calling yourself. And he said, I'm already never hi. Kind of almost like a gimmick.
And I remember that when we got closer to Cesar, maybe a month into shooting, we looked at him and when his wife was there, too, and we said, Cesar, when we asked you, you kind of said that.
Are you sure? Do you want to do this? It's better if you don't. It's better that we back up now.
And I remember that at that time, we like him like actually sitting with his wife and digesting that and coming back and saying, yes, let's do this. But a lot of these it's an example of these relationships that you would have to manage over a course of a time to make sure that those who are telling their stories really understand what they're doing. And, you know, now that it's come out, we've had great response from a lot of the immigrants and from some of the ICE agents, but predominantly from the immigrants coming back and kind of saying, you know, oh, my God, this this has come to life and and just seeing what they went through.
And we're grateful for those who took the leap of faith and gave us the trust to tell their story.
Well, Cheryl Schwartz, Christina Clezio, thank you so much for speaking with us. Thank you. Christina Clezio and Saul Schwartz are co directors and co producers of the six part documentary series Immigration Nation, now available for streaming on Netflix. Coming up, Kevin Whitehead reviews jazz pianist and composer James Carneys new album, Pure Heart. This is Fresh Air.
We're only months away from Election Day. And every week or even every few hours, there's a new twist that could affect who will win the White House. To keep up with the latest, tune into the NPR Politics podcast every day to find out what happened and what it means for the election. Jazz pianist and composer James Carney has worked as a music editor in the film industry, produced a Brooklyn concert series and led a few varied bands of his own.
Along the way, he's met a diverse set of musicians. He collected a handful for a new sextet record. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead has more. Composer James Carney with a hat tip to a central New York roots mayor of Marcella's That's a nice little town. It's from the Pianist new album Pure Heart, recorded in 2016 but worth waiting for. Carneys good idea was to round up diverse musicians and a sextet that cuts across generations stylistic preferences and social circles.
The three horn players hadn't played together before, but they blend well even when the terrain keeps shifting. Trumpeter Steph Richards, tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and Oscar Noriega mostly on the low Woody bass clarinet.
Most of these players didn't know each other before recording Pure Heart, but James Carney gave them ample opportunity to mix in many jazz bands with multiple horns when players don't get to improvise together. But here they do. The horns and conversation feed off each other's ideas on one exchange between trumpeter Steph Richards and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane. She grabs a descending to note figure. He plays on tenor and reworks it, letting it waft downward like a falling leaf.
And right at the end there, Ravi Coltrane calls back to the falling to note figure that episode started with. There are also three way conversations, among the horns were Oscar Noriega jumps on bass clarinet. These trialogues aren't so different in principle from the jostle of horns in old New Orleans jazz bands. But here are the improvised colloquies may have an inquisitive air. There are a lot of rising phrases as if these new acquaintances were asking questions. And collective improvising from Dixie Land to Miles Davis Funky Bitches Brew, the rhythm section plays a crucial role in defining ensemble style.
It wasn't only the horn players who didn't know each other before this project. It was the first meet up of two New York mainstays, bassist Desmond Douglas and drummer Tom Rainey. They make a tough team kicking the band along. Here they are with Ravi Coltrane and the leader.
Pianist James Carneys compositions are just complex enough, not too clever, they let the players expound without making them tongue tied.
Carney has a good sense of ensemble color and to judge by his album Pure Heart, he has good instincts about interpersonal chemistry. He throws a party where everyone's eager to mingle. Kevin Whitehead is the author of the new book Play The Way You Feel The Essential Guide to Jazz Stories on Film. He reviewed Pure Heart, the new album by jazz pianist James Carney on tomorrow's show. Miami Herald columnist and author Carl Hiaasen will talk about the pandemic and politics in Florida and his latest novel, a hilarious satirical crime story set in Palm Beach involving wealthy widows, the president and first lady and some very large Burmese pythons.
It's called Squeeze Me. I hope you can join us.
Fresh Air's executive producer is Danny Miller, our technical director and engineer is Audrey Bentham. Our interviews and reviews are produced and edited by Amy Salit, Phyllis Myers, Sam Briger, Lauren Krenzel, Heidi Saman, Teresa Madden, Thea Challoner, Seth Kelly and Joel Wolfram.
Our associate producer of digital media is Molly Kvasir.
Roberta Shorrock directs the show.
And today we are very happy to introduce our new associate producer, Carla Latimore. Welcome, Carla. For Terry Gross, I'm Dave Davies.