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Act Two: Phone Home

Seth Freed Wessler reports on people going the opposite direction over the US/Mexico border. Each year hundreds of thousands of people are deported from the US to Mexico — tens of thousands more choose to leave on their own — and lots of them make the journey after years and years living in the states.

Act Two: Emails from a Dead Man

To get a sense of what may be broken about our process for bringing these Iraqis into the US, the ones who worked with US forces and who believe their lives are now in danger because of that, Kirk Johnson tells Nancy Updike about one guy. Almost a year of his emails were forwarded to Kirk, who printed them out and started to realize that he was looking at a dead man’s attempt to immigrate to the U.S.

Prologue

Ira plays audio from a YouTube video made by Jonathan Perez. In it, 24 year old Jonathan, an undocumented immigrant, walks straight into a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, tells an officer he doesn’t have papers, and gets himself arrested.

Act One: Breaking the Ice

Reporter Michael May tells the story of activists from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance who intentionally got arrested for being undocumented. They believed if they could get inside the Broward Transitional Center in Florida, they could prevent lots of the immigrants there from being deported.

Prologue

Ira tells the story of how Oscar Ramirez, a Guatemalan immigrant living near Boston, got a phone call with some very strange news about his past. A public prosecutor from Guatemala told Oscar that when he was three years old, he may have been abducted from a massacre at a village called Dos Erres.

Act One: Alien Experiment

Last Summer, Alabama passed HB56, the most sweeping immigration bill in the country. It's an example of a strategy called "attrition through enforcement" or, more colloquially, "self-deportation"--making life so hard on undocumented immigrants that they choose to leave the country.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to reporter John Bowe about the story of John Nash Pickle, who ran a company in Tulsa, Oklahoma that made steel tanks used in the oil industry. According to 52 Indian men whom Pickle hired and brought to America, Pickle was trying to compete with foreign companies, doing something most companies never try.

Act One: Cowboys And Indians

We continue the story of John Pickle. He hires skilled, experienced welders in India and brings them to the United States.

Prologue

It took almost a month for Eli Ramirez to make it to this country. A native of Guatemala, he was smuggled through Mexico in the transport tank of a fuel truck, he was stranded in the desert, and forced to drink his own urine to survive.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass tells the story of Marisela and Yadira, who were honors students in high school. They wanted to go to the best colleges, but they couldn't get federally-funded scholarships because they weren't U.S. citizens; they had come from Mexico when they were little.

Act Two: Exodus Of One

When she was three years old, Georgia was caught by immigration officials when a Milwaukee woman tried to bring her into the country illegally from Jamaica. She ended up at a residential detention center in Chicago.

Prologue

Ira talks with Lee Qi, who came to America from China. He worked in Chinese restaurants in small towns, live in tiny apartments with other illegal immigrants who worked there as well—apartments that were sometimes in the back of the restaurants.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass goes to jail in Bristol County, Massachussetts, where there's a large Portuguese community, and where even a law-and-order sheriff named Tom Hodgson opposes this particular immigration law. He also talks with inmate Jorge Aruda, who's being deported for a crime he already served his sentence for.