Al Jazeera America Presents “Borderland”
New TV Series Explores Issues of Immigration and Border Control featuring a Miami activist as part of the cast!
“Borderland,” is a four episode series in which six Americans retrace the footsteps of migrants who died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The participants in “Borderland” do not have much in common except for strong opinions on immigration. The show features Alison Melder, Republican staffer in the Arkansas State Legislature; Alex Seel, a Brooklyn-based photographer and artist; Gary Larsen, who employs migrant workers on his Washington State asparagus farm; Kishana Holland, a fashion blogger and publicist from Las Vegas; Randy Stufflebeam, Vice Chairman of the Constitution Party which opposes immigration and Lis-Marie Alvarado, daughter of Nicaraguan immigrants who is an avid immigrant rights defender and community organizer in Homestead/Miami area with the organization WeCount!
ABOUT LIS-MARIE Believes undocumented immigrants should not be subject to deportation and should be offered a pathway to citizenship. Lis-Marie arrived in the United States as an immigrant from Nicaragua when she was 12. “Growing up in a developing country that was devastated by U.S. intervention and civil war was very formative for me,” she says, noting it instilled in her a passion for justice and a determination to fight inequality. Lis-Marie signed on for “Borderland” after its producers contacted the Student/Farmworker Alliance, where she is a member of the Steering Committee and which advocates for better wages and conditions for workers in the fields. “It’s a huge mess,” she says of the current immigration picture. “When I hear the word ‘illegal’ being used by the news, by the different media outlets, it is really shameful. It dehumanizes people, and it reduces people just to being criminals, which they are not.” As the sole Latina and native Spanish speaker in the cast, Lis-Marie says she sometimes felt removed from the group. Still, “the U.S. is a country we all share. Whether we like it or not, here we are,” she says. “I am hopeful for the future and think we can change for the better.”
ABOUT BORDERLAND: “Borderland” begins at the Medical Examiner’s Office in Tucson, Arizona. The morgue’s freezer shows the consequence of U.S. immigration policies: over the last 15 years – since Operation Gatekeeper started fortifying the border near urban centers, forcing migrants into deserts and mountains – nearly 6,000 have died entering the U.S. In the four episode series, participants will travel to Guatemala; Chiapas, Mexico; El Salvador and Des Moines, Iowa – among other locations – to retrace migrants’ journeys north. They will meet individuals desperate to reach the U.S., and witness the violence and poverty that drives many to immigrate illegally. They will see communities working to create better opportunities for young people, and learn more about the support system and the perils of the journey north, including riding on top of the notorious train known as “The Beast.”
Kishana and Lis-Marie