South Park season 23 premiere tackles separation and detention of migrants

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been vocal about avoiding politics in South Park’s twenty-third season but they’re not shying away from tackling sensitive topics like immigration and abuses of power.

In the season twenty-three premiere, South Park’s residents come under fire as ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raiding homes and randomly plucking families from them. The first to be taken are Hispanic immigrants working as maids and handymen but then an anonymous phone call gets Kyle Brofloski’s family sent to one of these detention centers.

It doesn’t take long for the guards inside to realize Kyle isn’t Hispanic and they immediately remove him from the caged off area. The ICE Agents also apologize to Kyle and try to reunite him with his family as soon as possible. Kyle, however, is more concerned with what’ll happen to the other hundreds of children sitting in those cages.

While Kyle Brofloski is a fictional character on an animated comedy, his concerns mirror those of everyday Americans in 2019. Concerns over the crisis at the United States’ Southern border where refugee families are being torn apart by the government.

On top of that, the Trump Administration is expanding efforts to conduct more raids on manufacturing plants where undocumented workers are known to frequent, according to Time. The past few months have seen several raids happen which resulted in hundreds of children being displaced, most of the time without any notice. And the children are essentially left orphaned in the wake of these surprise raids. One pair of children in Mississippi were left alone for eight days after ICE arrested their parents, according to another Time report.

The aforementioned raids haven’t been limited to manufacturing plants, ICE is also making house calls to residences where they merely suspect an undocumented worker could be, according to the New York Times. Most of these cases are eventually dropped because ICE doesn’t have probable cause to enter a residence without permission but the government agency is still bold enough to overstep in this way. That may sound like a loaded statement, but there’s a reason we have laws that prevent police officers and government agents from invading personal property without just cause.

What’s more important here is that government agencies like ICE could potentially abuse their powers by conducting similar raids on average American citizens. The latest episode of South Park exaggerated about how much discretion said agencies possess but they’re clearly not afraid to walk up to tax-paying Americans’ homes in search of immigrants, so what’s to stop them from arresting whoever they see fit.

All in all, South Park’s writers know exactly how to touch on the current issues at just the right time. This particular dilemma has been in the headlines for the past few months and remains relevant as the crisis continues. The truly unfortunate part is the fact that families are still being separated and imprisoned in overcrowded detention centers.

What did you think of South Park’s latest episode? Let us know in the comments.

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