Scandal – Season 4, Episode 16 “The Results”
In the episode, Abby Whelan discovers that a 14-year-old girl has been impregnated by her high school teacher and is threatening to have an abortion. The girl’s father causes a car accident with another vehicle because he is illegally in the country and scared of being deported. This causes the boy in the other car to become brain dead. After getting convicted for this crime, R & B singer Toni Braxton’s character goes around destroying records so the man can’t be deported after serving jail time. He then runs away with his daughter who gave birth while he was incarcerated only to die during childbirth. At least one point in this series, the president illegally grants amnesty to all of the members of a Hispanic gang after they save Olivia Pope’s life.
Chicago P.D. – Season 2, Episode 13 “Reform”
In this episode, Detective Voight has to do a favor for his ex-wife who is the head of an immigration committee, and gets her husband out of jail for illegally crossing the border into America when they were younger because he is seriously injured in a car crash. The rest of the squad are angered by this decision but they go through with it anyway because they see that their leader had no other choice in the matter. Sometime during the episode, his wife says how she cannot deal with one more person being deported simply because of immigration status which leads to her having to make horrible choices about people getting saved or not during emergencies due to her position. All of this occurs while the main character Lt. Matthew “Matt” Casey is having problems with his girlfriend who is pregnant and has to decide whether or not to keep it or have an abortion.
Orange Is the New Black – Seasons 1, 3, 4 & 5
This show has had many controversies about immigration law throughout its seasons which range from people dying in custody because they were deported too soon, ICE agents hitting on inmates, and even a serious case where someone gets put in solitary confinement after using her phone time to look up information about her upcoming immigration trial for asylum purposes (if you don’t believe me watch here). If you would like to read more about these stories as well as others dealing with the prison industrial complex, check out this article.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – Season 14, Episode 3 “Devastating Story”
In the episode, a teenage girl is kidnapped by an illegal sex trafficker and then raped repeatedly before being set free to go back home to her family. The SVU team finds her but after she gets picked up again for prostitution another detective has a hunch that something isn’t right about this case and starts putting all of the pieces together from past episodes he had been on involving other people who have been trafficked. After some serious investigating, it is revealed that the teen was not kidnapped as everyone thought but allowed to be taken so she could pay off her mother’s debt as well as her mother’s boyfriend’s debt to a pimp. You can find more on this story as well as others involving sex trafficking, slavery, and related concepts here.
Grey’s Anatomy – Season 7, Episode 17 “I Walk the Line”
In the episode, Christina Yang is faced with having to bifurcate her cervix (that means dilating her cervix before delivering a baby) for a lady who was kidnapped and held hostage in South Sudan by rebel forces so she could give birth there and not be repatriated back to America where she fled from because of civil war. Another character was also deported after living in America for over 20 years with his family because he was undocumented even though he had been married to an American woman for almost as long. You can get more of the story here.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – Season 18, Episode 6 “Collateral Damages”
In this episode, a young girl is kidnapped by sex traffickers and then taken to be sold off in America after she was raped multiple times on her way there. Olivia Benson (a detective) has the opportunity to go undercover and find her but when she does, it turns out that the girl’s father handed her over willingly because he didn’t have any money or anywhere else to turn for help since their country was destroyed by civil war. Keep your eye out for even more stories involving trafficking in season two of this show if you are interested.
NYPD Blue – Season 2, Episode 3 “Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole”
This episode is actually dedicated to the topic of immigration law enforcement where Assistant District Attorney Sylvia Costas gets an opportunity to prosecute a guy who got arrested for drug smuggling after living in America for over 20 years under false documents. He was discovered by INS special agents who were looking for criminals though he turned out not to be one since he earned his money legitimately as a banker right up until his arrest. This case also demonstrates how bad mandatory minimums can be because if they didn’t exist then this man could have taken a lesser charge that would have meant less jail time than what he ended up with. You can find more on this story as well as others involving immigration law enforcement here.
Bones – Season 2, Episode 10 “The Girl in the Gator”
In the episode, Brennan (a forensic anthropologist) gets to help with an investigation of a dead girl who was smuggled over the border from Mexico after she is killed trying to get back home. A local coyote gets brought up on murder charges and his lawyer tries to defend him by saying that he wasn’t involved but really he had no idea what would happen to the people that paid him for getting them into America. This story symbolizes the immigrant experience very well even down to how it ends (with another person dying). You can find more on this story here.
House M.D. – Season 3, Episode 18 “Airborne”
A man dies of a mysterious illness that happens to affect patients that received organ transplants. House has the hunch that it was caused by an abnormal reaction due to having gotten an infected organ transplant after arriving in America illegally for this purpose because he couldn’t get treatment at home anymore. There are also two other cases involving immigration law enforcement where one is about a man who died of malaria before getting deported back to his own country and another who gets wrongly accused of trying to kill the president after being involved in a car accident but turned out not to be drunk, high or otherwise impaired (he had epilepsy). You can find more on these stories here.
House M.D. – Season 5, Episode 18 “Here Kitty”
In this episode, a cat is discovered to have rabies and starts biting people which leads to an outbreak in the United States. House finds out that it was brought over from China by a girl who has been illegally smuggled here for labor purposes due to how bad things are back home (a war-torn country). The girl’s boss gets deported after trying to get her medical treatment for what she did but House ends up getting her the help she needs anyway since he thinks this is what America should be about after taking care of him when his father died, etc. You can find more on this story here.
For more information, you may ask or consult with immigration lawyers in Houston.
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