Miami Film Festival Cancels Screening of Immigration Doc After ICE Detained The Movie’s Main Character
For more than a year, anti-Trump activists have speculated that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were targeting them because of their outspoken views and protests against the president. Initially, the fact that undocumented activists were getting detained by ICE soon after a rally or protest seemed like a coincidence.
An NBC News report shows that immigration officials had a “secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports.” All of this goes to show that ICE is watching closely, and this next story is, unfortunately, another casualty of what it means to fight for justice and against the government.
An undocumented immigrant from Argentina was detained by ICE last week after the release of a documentary that exposes controversial truths about the immigration system and ICE.
Claudio Rojas, 53, was initially detained in 2012 because he overstayed his visa. During this period of his detainment, according to the Associated Press, activists purposefully got arrested and detained in order to expose what was taking place inside the Broward Transitional Center, in Florida. More importantly, the activists wanted to help Rojas and others detained like him who also staged a hunger strike. The more information these activists had from the inside about Rojas, the better case they could build for him to be released.
The documentar is titled “The Infiltrators” and it won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival.
Filmmakers Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra told the AP that Rojas was the main focus of the film, and also say that he had always been an organizer of justice. As a result of the advocacy for Rojas, ICE released him and others. Now years later, and after the release of the movie, ICE has detained him once again.
Sandy Pineda, Rojas’s attorney alleges that ICE has apprehended him once again simply because of what the film exposed.
“I definitely think it’s retaliation,” Sandy Pineda told The Washington Post. “For them to take this stance and to just arrest him so suddenly for no apparent reason, it’s very unusual.”
Rojas was supposed to attend a celebratory screening in Miami with the filmmakers but now that has been canceled.
According to the Miami Herald, organizers of the Miami Film Festival canceled the screening of “The Infiltrators” because it became too controversial since the detainment of the leading character in the documentary.
The festival didn’t want to “appear to be taking a side” on the immigration matter or “to take a political stance,” the film’s producer told the Miami Herald.
The film festival has since apologized for their action against the film.