Richard Levien’s Collisions takes head-on the immigration problem and paints a sympathetic picture of a family torn apart by current U.S. immigration policies. Yoana (Ana de la Reguera) is arrested during an ICE raid on her home. She is immediately taken to an unknown detention center for deportation.
Yoana has two children, daughter Itan (Izabella Alvarez) and Neto (Jason Garcia, Jr.). Fortunately, they were born in the U.S., they are American citizens. Both are now in the custody of Child Protective Services. Just before getting shipped off to foster care, the two reveal their Uncle Evencio (Jesse Garcia) lives near them, but has been estranged from their mother/his sister for years. Although Evencio is a Mexican citizen, he is in the States legally with a green card. As the only living relative, Evencio reluctantly takes custody of the kids.
“…arrested during an ICE raid on her home. She is immediately taken to an unknown detention center for deportation.”
Evencio is not too keen on raising his niece and nephew, so he hires an immigration lawyer to try and obtain Yoana’s release. Unable to communicate with their mother, Itan discovers where her monther is being held and begs Evencio to take them to the Arizona detention center. Thus, now begins a road trip for this unlikely family unit.
I’ve seen my fair share of political films like Collisions (see Greed). Levien’s story clearly takes the left’s viewpoint of the immigration debate. At the risks of sounding heartless, the messaging in these stories come across as extremely heavy-handed.
The goal is clear, Yoana and her kids are helpless victims and good law-abiding people, which is fine, but then along the journey, one thing after the other just compounds this fact. Levien’s story just tries too hard to paint a sympathetic picture of this family. First, the conceit—weren’t we told ICE was only going to arrest the undocumented with criminal records? Yes, but Yoana has an arrest on her record…because she stole baby formula when Neto was an infant (cue violins). Why can’t the kids talk to their mother? Because at the detention center’s phone cannot call cellphones. Yoana is also lost in the system, and the computer system is so bad, no one can find her.
"…she stole baby formula when Neto was an infant (cue violins)."