The Nine Network’s Multi-part Documentary Homeland: Immigration in America Premieres in St. Louis and on PBS Nationally in July

Three-Part Series Explores the Politics and People on All Sides of Immigration, and Reveals Complexity of Election-Year Issue

 St. Louis, MOJune 20, 2012 Homeland: Immigration in America, a three-hour documentary series produced by the Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis, will be broadcast nationally in July by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Locally, the three-part series, narrated by Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, will air on Nine PBS Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. beginning July 11.

Homeland explores the contemporary story of immigration in America. While immigration is a national issue this election year, it plays out daily in the lives of people in communities across the country. The series presents contemporary stories of immigrants and those who confront them, help them, employ them and craft legislation that affects them.

Immigration is one of the most polarizing issues facing America today. It’s a story of new immigrants who find themselves walking a fine line between access to and expulsion from the American dream. It’s also a story of American citizens who wonder if legal and illegal immigrants threaten their way of life. These intertwined and complex issues may have a significant effect on the choices people make when they go to the polls in November. The stories in Homeland reveal the complex economic, political, personal and cultural dilemmas that are often portrayed as simple choices of right or wrong. Immigration is not just a border state issue; it is a national and local issue with long-term consequences for communities and the nation as a whole.

Said Nine Network President and CEO Jack Galmiche, “We are a nation of immigrants, but issues of immigration are dividing our country. We hope the Homeland documentary will help lead to better understanding and productive dialogue.”

The documentary’s content is rooted in an extensive engagement initiative online and in the community throughout the St. Louis region to uncover key immigration issues. The Nine Network is providing customizable engagement tools to encourage reasoned dialogue in organizations, businesses and communities.

“Public engagement informed our approach to the documentary series and uncovered the compelling human stories that we hope will move viewers to a better understanding of immigration issues,” said Nine Network Senior Vice President of Community Engagement Amy Shaw. “We believe that public engagement before and after the documentary series will deepen the appreciation of immigration on all sides.”

Homeland travels to small towns and big cities that are dealing with immigration, such as tiny Monett, Missouri, where immigrants fuel the poultry processing industry. The series also meets with experts around the country, from Los Angeles, where UCLA professor Abel Valenzuela talks about the impact of immigrant labor, to Washington, D.C., where policy makers wrestle with the concerns of humanitarian, political and business interests. Among those interviewed are Michael Chertoff, former secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush; former governor and U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico); Juan Williams, political analyst, FOX News; Edward Alden, senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; and Sasha Chanoff, executive director, Mapendo International, an organization dedicated to refugee rescue, relief and resettlement in Africa and the U.S.

Part one, Refugees, takes viewers to the heart of our humanitarian position as a refuge for those fleeing violence, disaster, war and persecution around the world. The stories in this hour illustrate the forces and factors that can lead refugees to a life of stability and success, or isolation, welfare and homelessness.

Hour two, Jobs, looks at the spectrum of immigrant jobs and the complex maze of rules, regulations, caps and quotas challenging our country at many levels. Among the people included in this episode are a Taiwanese scientist educated in the U.S. searching for an employer to sponsor her visa, and immigrant workers in a sleepy Ozark town who have brought a much-needed economic turnaround but also language barriers and cultural clashes.

Hour three, Enforcement, cuts through the heated rhetoric to explore how communities and our nation struggle to enforce inconsistent immigration policies. One story in this episode shows why two Kansas City beat cops have adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward legal status, knowing that aggressive enforcement threatens to break community trust when illegal and legal immigrants live side by side, often in the same family.

Homeland: Immigration in America will air on Nine PBS Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. beginning July 11; Fridays at 2:00 a.m. beginning July 13; and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. beginning July 15.  

It will also be broadcast on the Nine World channel Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. beginning July 11 (this telecast will be at the same time as the broadcast on Nine PBS) and on Saturday, July 28 at 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Jobs and Enforcement only will air back-to-back on Nine World on Monday, July 30 at 7:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.

Homeland: Immigration in America is a production of the Nine Network of Public Media, St. Louis, Missouri. Production support was provided by the Missouri Film Commission through the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Executive producers: Leo Eaton, John Lindsay. Series producers: Anne-Marie Berger, Jim Kirchherr. Editor: Frank Popper. Writer: Jim Kirchherr. More information about the series and engagement opportunities can be found at pbs.org/homeland. For more on how issues explored in Homeland affect the 2012 presidential election, visit pbs.org/election2012.

About the Nine Network of Public Media

The Nine Network of Public Media is a multifaceted public media organization creating a network of individuals and organizations empowered by public media to strengthen civic life. One of the nation’s most watched public television stations, Nine offers the people of the St. Louis region multiple ways to explore the world, including the Nine Center for Public Engagement, nineAcademy, ninevoices.org, nineNet.org and four distinct broadcast channels (Nine PBS, Nine World, Nine Create and Nine Kids). The Nine Network’s rich legacy of serving the community was launched in 1954 and continues through our mission of bringing St. Louis together as we connect our region to the world and the world to St. Louis.

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