HUMAN-INTEREST STORIES

The UN is fighting for migrants with film screenings in 100 countries

Last week, the Trump administration pulled out of a global effort to tackle immigration. The reason, according to the US State Department: The UN-led Global Compact on Migration could undermine the United State’s “sovereign right” to enforce its immigration laws.

It’s the latest example of president Donald Trump’s drive to turn America inward—at the expense of everything that comes from abroad.

But as the UN struggles to make inroads on immigration at the government level, it’s also working to persuade individual citizens around the world. The agency’s International Organization for Migration is screening a Global Migration Festival. The group is showing 30 films in 100 countries for two weeks starting Dec. 5. The global schedule is here.

Films include the stories of people in places as diverse as Senegal, Argentina, and to Lebanon.

How much can movies help? Potentially a lot. “Will and Grace” and other TV shows that portrayed gay characters are attributed with playing a big role in changing views on gay marriage.

Pollsters—and psychologists—say rejection of immigrants stems from feelings of threat. Because of that fear, some start seeing those who are different as less than human. The best remedy is becoming familiar with “the other.”

Films that humanize immigrants could help achieve that. The bigger challenge might be getting people who harbor anti-immigrant feelings to the movie theater for a festival that’s all about immigrants.

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