NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit hasn’t touched upon immigration issues in a while, though it wasn’t shy about its view on abortions just a few months ago. But from what they’ve done before, it’s clear that the show believes that all legal and illegal immigrants are victims of the evil government and President Trump. This time around, they take things to a whole new level by accusing border defenders of being rapists as well.
The February 13 episode “I Deserve Some Loving Too” has the Special Victims Unit investigating a government employee who’s exchanging green cards for sex with immigrant women. The police personally locate the man’s victims, discovering that they were all married women who were threatened with either their or their spouses’ deportation if they refused sex. With a plan concocted by Lieutenant Benson (Mariska Hargitay), the SVU manage to entrap the rapist as he attempts to coerce a new victim.
As per usual for the show, the officers spend the latter half of the episode gathering up witnesses to testify, and the drama emerges from there. Fortunately, they’re able to convince the vulnerable women to tell their story in court without fear of deportation. However, the show takes a real turn for the political as the man makes his last case for why he raped several women: to protect the border. He literally claims that his raping of women was done to “protect our borders.”
Buchanan: Let’s show a little compassion for a fellow officer, Counselor.
Carisi: Oh, the same compassion that he showed his victims?
O’Toole: I was doing my job. I’ve been serving my country on the front lines of a foreign invasion for 20 years.
Carisi: Serving your country? By dipping your wick?
O’Toole: It was a test. It’s the only way to know if they really love their husbands.
Carisi: Okay, okay. Now, you told me before that if they really loved their husbands– they really loved their husbands– they wouldn’t sleep with you.
O’Toole: That’s right.
Carisi: But when they refused you, you threw ’em in jail. And if they did sleep with you, you gave ’em their green card. Now, you can lie to yourself all you want, but you raped these women.
O’Toole: No, absolutely not. I was just doing what I had to do to protect our borders.
Buchanan: Rory, he understands—
O’Toole: He doesn’t understand it. I’m holding the line between more mouths to feed, more people on Medicaid, in our public schools and our hospitals, okay? Taking our jobs. These people are bleeding the system dry and I stop that from happening.
Carisi: All right, stop. Not one more word from you. What you did to these women–how many of them have had to live with your violation in secret, in fear? You took advantage of them when they were at their most helpless, their most vulnerable, and you used the power of your government position to force them to demean themselves. They came here hoping for the American dream, and you made their lives a nightmare. I’m sick of your client, counselor. You want to talk deal? He needs to shut his mouth and nod yes.
First of all, if these women were legally filing for green cards for themselves or their husbands through marriage, then they don’t fall under the “invasion” of illegal immigrants coming through the border. Second, does anyone really buy that wanting to defend the borders can be a step towards rape? Considering this scene happens within the last five minutes of the episode, it’s almost like the writers don’t believe it either. Filling the villain’s mouth with what they consider right-wing talking points doesn’t make it any clearer.
Still, it does fall under how shows like Law & Order tend to view immigration issues. Namely, that the people who want to stop open borders are vicious monsters to helpless innocent victims who happen to be breaking U.S. laws. Predators do come in all shapes and sizes, but according to NBC, they all apparently have to share a political view.