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Act 1: Send in the Gowns

Marshall Project reporter Julia Preston and producer Jonathan Menjivar visit an immigration court in Laredo, Texas to find out how one of Trump’s mandates—to quickly expel immigrants from the US—is going.This story was produced in collaboration with The Marshall Project where Julia is a contributing writer. Julia’s print version of the story, “Lost in Court,” is on the The Marshall Project website.

Act 4: Let’s Do the Numbers

One of the things we were excited to investigate when we went to Alabama was to answer the question at the heart of the immigration debate: what does it cost taxpayers when we let in millions of immigrants, documented and undocumented? In Albertville, how much was it? We asked economist Kim Rueben and her colleague Erin Huffer to run the numbers.

Act 5: Today

In 2012, the fever broke, and the Albertville city council stopped targeting Latino residents. The mayor says he and the council are taking a cue from the public schools.

Act 1: Fear

Brian Reed continues his story about the town of Homer, Alaska. He talked to all sorts of people involved in the debate over whether the town should welcome immigrants.

Act 2: Loathing

In the first half of the show, we documented a community that was worried about what might happen, theoretically, if undocumented immigrants arrived. In this act, Producer Zoe Chace looks at a community where the immigrants have already arrived – Rockville, Maryland.


The Department of Homeland Security’s new policies on deportation have sown fear and confusion among undocumented immigrants. Ira Glass and Lilly Sullivan go to Chicago and meet a family trying to navigate the situation.

Act 1: Lies Become the Truth

Ira's quest continues. He calls his Uncle Lenny, who gets his news from Fox and the Wall Street Journal, and lives with an entirely different set of facts, and Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the CATO Institute, who explains that the central issue in Donald Trump’s candidacy is based on something that isn’t true.

Act 2: 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 1: Flight Simulation

James Spring tells the story of the "Caminata Nocturna" — a simulated illegal border crossing run by a small town in Mexico. The event was recently criticized by conservative media as a training camp for illegal immigration.

Act 2: 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.


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 1: 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.


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.