Integrity Legal

21st June 2009

Crossing Over utilizes multiple perspectives to tell the story of immigrants from different countries aspiring to obtain Lawful Permanent Resident Status in the USA. The movies touches upon the issues of illegal border crossing, false documentation, asylum status, green card obtainment procedures, workplace enforcement, adjustment of status, naturalization, and counter terrorism.

It was interesting to watch this film because it depicted all of the different United States agencies and offices that oversee the immigration process. The film also provided exposure about what United States Immigration officers are deputized to do. That being said, I felt it was a massively unfair portrayal of the personal character traits of most of the officers in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The portrayal at the beginning of the film made it seem as though all ICE officers were heartless authoritarian brutes. In reality, I doubt this portrayal is accurate. I understand the reason for this less than flattering depiction: it was used to contrast Harrison Ford’s relative compassion when compared against his colleagues. From this standpoint, one can give the filmmakers some leeway on this point.

In another plot line of the film Ray Liotta plays a corrupt USCIS officer who uses his position as a top level adjudicator to bequeath a Green Card upon an aspiring actress in exchange for sleeping with him. If I was a USCIS officer I would be infuriated by this depiction. Its not that corruption doesn’t occur, but that portrayals such as this make it seem as though all employees of the agency lack an ethical compass, which I am sure is not the case.

Overall, I liked the movie because it brought up some interesting human issues, but from the context of United States Immigration I think it portrayed the government as all, or nearly all, bad.

I will say that I liked Ashley Judd’s performance as a United States Immigration attorney although it seemed somewhat stilted in places. Also, there were a few instances in the movie where I felt the attorney Judd played should have been more zealously advocating on behalf of her client. Can we say, “writ of habeas corpus?”

In closing, this was one of Harrison Ford’s best movies in years, which is not saying much if you have seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The movie had an all-star cast and I would argue it had no particular main character, which was interesting. The film effectively drew together multiple plot threads and culminated in some very moving sequences. I would recommend this film to anyone who is interested in the Immigration process or just enjoys well made films.


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