Netflix's newest docuseries delving into a major topic in American politics right now. Selena Gomez's Living Undocumented trailer is bringing real stories of immigration to Netflix. The show is set to premiere on Oct. 2, and it promises an intimate look at the fears undocumented immigrants live with in 2019.
Netflix's Living Undocumented will follow eight families affected by current immigration policies. The official synopsis reads:
"[These] families took the extraordinary risk of allowing film crews to chronicle their lives as they faced potential deportation. Ranging from harrowing to hopeful, their journeys illuminate and humanize the complex U.S. immigration system. Living Undocumented depicts the struggles many must endure in their quest to pursue the American dream."
The series was produced by Aaron Saidman and Eli Holzman, who are both Emmy-winning producers behind Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, with Gomez serving as executive producer. The actor, of course, has collaborated with Netflix before, acting as a producer on their hit show 13 Reasons Why. According to Variety, Saidman and Anna Chai are co-directors on the series. Chai is also an Emmy award-winning director and producer of shows like The Mind of a Chef, The Layover with Anthony Bourdain, and This American Life.
In a press release received by Bustle, Gomez explained why she wanted to be involved in the project. "I chose to produce this series, Living Undocumented, because over the past few years, the word immigrant has seemingly become a negative word," she said. "My hope is that the series can shed light on what it's like to live in this country as an undocumented immigrant firsthand, from the courageous people who have chosen to share their stories.”
Immigration is a hot button issue in the States, and the system is imperfect, to say the least. As a voice over says in the trailer, the wait for a green card can be over 20 years, and the pathway to citizenship can be tedious. Wait time for citizenship has reportedly doubled since 2017, according to The New York Times. And recently, those fleeing danger in their home countries seeking asylum in the United States have been put in detention centers at the border, even if they attempted to enter legally — since you physically have to be in America to seek asylum. And the U.S. policy on asylum seekers could be getting more strict.
Because of all of these rapidly changing immigration policies, misinformation, and the racism that can infiltrate the immigration debate, it was important to Saidman to show real humans going through it and might add to the conversation. "Rather than discussing this issue with only statistics and policy debates, " he said in a press release, "we wanted viewers to hear directly from the immigrants themselves, in their own words, with all the power and emotion that these stories reflect."
This isn't the first time Gomez has weighed in on the immigration debate. On June 29, Gomez spoke out about the treatment of the children in these detention centers at the border in an Instagram post. "Kids in cages! Sleeping on concrete floors with aluminum blankets! No access to simple dignities! How is this still happening???" she wrote. "It’s absolutely inhumane to treat anyone like this let alone children. I can’t even imagine what they are going through. We need to get this to finally stop! Don’t stay silent on this human rights issue- please call your reps 202.224.3121 #CloseTheCamps #FamilesBelongTogether."
Now, just a few months later, Living Undocumented will be another step forward in Gomez's activism.