Wife of target wants Border Security cancelled

Posted by admin on Mar 18th, 2013

Published: March 18, 2013, 12:00 pm. Canada.com

Deportation should not be a form of entertainment — at least according to those who have signed a petition aimed at the cancellation of a show on the National Geographic Channel.Border Security: Canada’s Front Line has been the subject of growing controversy for filming the raids against illegal immigrants and then airing them as part of a reality show. Word that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews personally signed off on the production of the show — after Canadian Border Services Agency agents were accompanied by cameras during a bust — accelerated the backlash against the program.

The details became public when Helisia Luke of Vancouver learned from a Freedom of Information Request on Friday that people who were detained after an immigration raid on a local construction site were asked to sign consent forms for their appearance on the show.

Luke publicly posted the contract between the Canadian Border Security Agency and production company Force Four Entertainment that Toews endorsed in June 2011. Government officials believed the venture would be a positive promotional vehicle for the agency via the Shaw Media-owned National Geographic Channel along with the Global Television Network.

Subsequently, the petition started by Diana Thompson — whose husband was arrested in the raid and is now facing deportation back to Honduras — passed 7,500 signatures by Monday morning.

“My husband Renan was one day from completing his immigration sponsorship forms,” Thompson wrote on the petition website Change.org.

“We married in November and Renan still had final sponsorship documents to submit. He was supporting family in Honduras, as well as my own daughter Aaliyah. Our family’s suffering is a private matter, and should not be broadcast as entertainment.

“My husband has been caught in a systemic problem — he had to work in order to support us and for the sponsorship application to be looked upon favourably, but a work permit wasn’t yet granted. He will be deported to Honduras within a week where he fears for his life. Deportation, exploiting human suffering, coercing migrant workers, and tearing apart families is not entertainment. Not only did the show film the raid, the camera crews came to the houses of the men who were arrested.

“Would these raids have happened on this scale, in such a militaristic way, if a reality TV show wasn’t being filmed for National Geographic Channel?”

Force Four has countered that the series is produced using the techniques of a documentary and that none of the staged elements associated with most celebrity-based reality TV shows are incorporated for the sake of sensationalism.

Nonetheless, the petition got a boost on Twitter with links from both Naomi Klein and Sarah Polley.

Border Security’s concept was adapted from an Australian show by the same name that debuted in 2004 and is now into its 11th season. But the American equivalent, Homeland Security USA, lasted just a few months on ABC in 2009, while fielding criticism that the show was anti-immigrant.

Comments are closed.