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Linklater`s Fast Food Nation and Immigration
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May 14, 2007, 03:40 AM
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Richard Linklater`s recent film Fast Food Nation is one of the most powerful and graphic recent films dealing with the topic of illegal immigration. The film reminds me of Upton Sinclair`s The Jungle. However, in Fast Food Nation, the workers depicted often have the addition issues of being illegal aliens.

Fast Food Nation does not take a stand on how immigration policy ought to be handled. It does deal extensively with themes like:

  • The use of drugs to control illegal alien workers
  • The actual process of illegal immigration(and involvement of Coyotes).
  • The sexual exploitation of illegal aliens by corporate managers.
  • The alienation of American youth in a situation in which they have few job opportunities in which they see any real future or meaning.
  • The use of illegal immigration to facilitate cruelty to animals.
  • The role of corrupt attorneys in helping corporations exploit the labor of illegal aliens
  • The allegation that illegal immigration encourages unsafe working conditions
  • The allegation that illegal immigration can facilitate public health risks through an unsafe food supply.

I bought this film used for $6.67 my local video store. I`d encourage folks that enjoy films that are concerned about illegal immigration to add this video to your library. It will bring up a lot of discussion points-and it is a film that you could loan to even a liberal friend.

I tend to think that the most graceful way we get ourselves out of the illegal immigration mess is by a transitional phase of allowing existing folks temporary work visas, tightening the borders and gradually improving working conditions, legal rights and visa fees for workers such that use of guest worker labor gradually become less and less profitable for corporations to use. I also expect at some point, we`ll need campaigns to boycott companies that use illegal alien labor-but package this program so that it isn`t a disaster for Mexico and our other Latin neighbors.

The left has a much more successful track record of those kinds of boycotts than the right has—and films like Fast Food Nation are the means by which the left is starting to become conscious of the issue of illegal immigration. We need a lot more cultural material to start to really address the issue of illegal immigration and Fast Food Nation is a start.