New “Homeland Insecurity” Podcast Explores the 9/11 Roots of Anti-Immigrant Policies

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Leaders like Representative Alexandra Ocasio Cortez and immigration rights activists have popularized the phrase “Abolish ICE.” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has become synonymous on the left with family separation, workplace raids, and other policies terrorizing immigrant communities across the country.

The images of children and babies ripped away from their mothers, parents detained near schools, and the seven children who have died under ICE custody have undoubtedly stirred emotional reactions, even from those who had never thought about immigration as an issue until the Trump Administration.

As more people in the U.S. show concern for our nation’s immigration system, there is a new serialized documentary podcast that launches today. “Homeland Insecurity: How Fear Changed America” produced by the community-based organization Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) that reveals the politics behind what has allowed the Trump Administration to carry out its harmful policies against immigrants.

The show aims “to inform, to educate, and to inspire people to take action,” according to Erika Andiola, RAICES’s Chief Advocacy Officer and the podcast host. She told Luz Collective in a phone interview that the goal of the podcast is to influence people who might be in the middle of the political spectrum that have taken notice of the devastating actions of DHS.

As the podcast’s website states, it “comes at a time when DACA is under possible threat from the Supreme Court and when we’re seeing the beginnings of family separation 2.0 where ICE is using COVID-19 as a way to further harm immigrants.”

Andiola is a compelling narrator as a highly visible youth immigrant advocate whose previous roles included Press Secretary for Latino Outreach for Bernie Sander’s 2016 Presidential race and co-founder of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. Andiola, who immigrated from Mexico with her mother at age 11, brings a refreshing alternative to the typical voices narrating similar podcasts. Her authenticity accents the podcast’s positions in moving ways.

“I am very vulnerable in this entire process, I share my own story, my mom’s story. My mom is still in deportation proceedings,” Andiola says. “We don’t have an end to our story, it is still unfolding.” The captivating style of the podcast will have listeners feeling grateful that four episodes are releasing at once, making it easy to binge this fascinating examination into our nation’s immigration system.

“We were really inspired by the 13th documentary that digs into the history of slavery and the current situation…of the criminal justice system,” says Andiola of the podcast’s style. The hope is that just like 13th was able to make a connection between the country’s present day justice system and our nation’s history of slavery. “Homeland Insecurity” will link the current immigration situation to its origins in the backlash after 9/11.

The next set of episodes will release in July, months ahead of the 2020 presidential election. While the show does not expect to provide a solution to the nation’s immigration challenges, it does invite listeners to think about the actions they can take to get involved.

“We are not creating a solution, because we don’t have a solution under the Trump Administration,” Andiola says. “We are asking the audience to put themselves in my shoes and to think about what is going to be [their] choice. [We want this podcast] to inform their decision on who they vote for, and who they listen to.”

When asked about the desired outcome from listeners hearing the show, Andiola says, “I hope that it really allows for someone who doesn’t really understand immigration as an issue to feel like they are a lot more informed and educated, but also that they are able to have a different perspective and that they use that perspective to join us in this movement.”

Homeland Insecurity is out today.

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