We have already learned about the fears held by Ximena (Lisseth Chavez) this season as her illegal immigrant parents face their fear of potential deportation. In the September 5 season finale of The Fosters on Freeform, titled “Prom,” direct aim was taken at the timely subject of DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The writers of the show must be extra excited that President Trump that same day announced his intention to reform the Executive Order used by former President Obama to put DACA in place.
The episode began where the previous one left off, at the protest against a conservative speaker named Shiloh McCullen at the college campus where Ximena gave an impassioned speech.... against free speech.
Protesters: Say it loud! Say it clear! Immigrants are welcome here! We teach free speech! We teach free speech!
Ximena: The real enemies of free speech are flamethrowers, like Shiloh McCullen, who seek to normalize hateful ideas that lead to violent actions against vulnerable communities. I know! I am an undocumented immigrant, and cruel xenophobic language has taken a toll on me and my family. This is a learning environment. Where a student's humanity should not be challenged as some excuse for free, vicious speech.
Protestor: America First! Go back to Mexico! Build a wall! Build a wall!
Ximena: All over our country, people like me are scared. That is not my America. And you don't need to be a citizen to recognize that.
The rest of the episode revolved around the senior prom for the students at Anchor Beach Community Charter School. At the prom, Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Ximena talk about the student demonstration that Callie left as it turned violent. Ximena explains to Callie that her father works two jobs and her mother works six days a week to provide their daughters with opportunities. Ximena even delivered a standard talking point of the no borders crowd – her parents do the jobs Americans don’t want to do.
“All we want is to be citizens,” she tells Callie. Though, she opines, if all the hateful people are going to come out of the woodwork then, “Maybe this country was never great.” Callie remains silent and allows the ungrateful teenager to complete that sentence without challenge.
So, since Ximena boldly grabbed the bullhorn at the protest rally and loudly and proudly admitted that she is “undocumented,” I suppose it was quite easy for the writers to continue on with this storyline by having ICE agents show up at prom.
Callie discovers the agents are looking for Ximena and alerts her foster mother Stef (Teri Polo) who is a police officer. Stef is serving as a chaperone at the dance and decides to help Ximena avoid the ICE agents by putting Ximena in handcuffs on the pretense that she is arresting her on an underage drinking charge. When walking her past the agents they accuse Ximenia of making "threats to the security of the United States" at the protest.
Stef puts Ximena in her private car and partakes in a classic territory battle between local and federal law enforcement. But as soon as Stef goes back to argue with the agents a bit more, Ximena escapes and Callie and A.J. (Tom Williamson) drive her away. Stef continues to help them skirt the law by coaching Callie and A.J. on driving carefully so as not to be pulled over by the ICE agents on their tail.
Stef: Do you have your DACA card on you?
Agent: Are those those same kids?
Agent #2: South exit, check the vehicle heading your way. Over.
Stef: Where are you?
Callie: They said they were gonna take her after you process her. I didn't know what to do.
A.J.: They're on us.
Callie: ICE is following us.
Stef: Where's Ximena?
Callie: She's down in the back. A.J.'s driving.
Stef: Okay, they're not sure that you have her, or they would have pulled you over. Just drive carefully, please. Under the speed limit. Do exactly as I say.
Callie gets Jude’s mom to provide sanctuary for Ximena at her church. This leads to a ridiculous scene of Ximena, Callie and A.J. jumping out of the car and rushing to out-run the ICE agents hot on their tail into the church. After A.J. asks, “Now, what?” Callie responds, “We don’t leave until Ximena can walk out of here without being detained.” At least Ximena did apologize for dragging Callie and A.J. into her mess.
Jude: Noah's mom will get thereas soon as she can. She said that the doors on the west side are always open.
Callie: Okay, thank you. You should've just loaned me your car.
A.J. I wasn't gonna let you do this alone. Wait, there's the church.
Callie: Take your shoes off, okay? We're gonna have to run. -Ready?
Callie: Go, go, go! Come on! -Go, go, go, go! -Come on! Go, go, go, go! Go, go, go, go, go, go, go! Go, go!
Callie: They really won't come in here?
Ximena: They don't come into churches.
ICE Agent: Shoot!
This drama is standard season finale drama for The Fosters. The writers boasted about including a storyline voicing disapproval of Trump’s stance on illegal immigration. From an article in Variety, the show’s writer said, “We think it’s an important story to tell because these kids have been brought here by their parents, and many of them when they were babies, and they’re not Mexican citizens, or they don’t feel like they are,” Johnson says. “We’re supposed to care about keeping families together, but we’re ripping these families apart.”
How nonsensical is that? The DACA card holders are citizens of whatever country in which they were born. They may “feel” like American citizens but they aren’t until they are legally. So, now the cliffhanger has three teenagers locked in a church to avoid federal agents. Can Hollywood get any more stereotypical in playing on emotions and not legal facts?