The Jan. 19 episode dealt with a possible deportation of one of the main characters and made a call to action. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Alba (Ivonne Coll), Jane (Gina Rodriguez), and Xiomara (Andrea Navedo) on The CW's <i>Jane the Virgin</i>.
Tyler Golden/The CW
The CW's primetime soap Jane the Virgin has been exploring deliciously salacious plotlines since it debuted to critical acclaim in October. The series hasn't taken itself — or its story of a young woman who gets accidentally inseminated by the sperm of a man with whom she once shared a kiss and who is also her boss — too seriously, but in the Jan. 19 mid-season premiere, the show addressed a very real issue: immigration reform.
Jane the Virgin centers on the eponymous Jane (Gina Rodriguez), who lives in Miami with her mother, Xiomara, (Andrea Navedo) and her maternal grandmother, Alba (Ivonne Coll). Alba is not a U.S. citizen, a fact that came to light when, after she found out she was pregnant, Jane filed a lawsuit against the OB-GYN who inseminated her. But soon thereafter, she dropped the suit, realizing that going to court, for any reason, was risking her grandmother getting deported.
However, after Alba was pushed down the stairs in the December mid-season finale and suffered a brain injury that caused her to be admitted to the hospital, the doctors found out that she's not a legal U.S. citizen. As Alba lay unconscious in the mid-season premiere on Jan. 19, Xiomara was informed that, as soon as her mother wakes up, she'd be deported to Venezuela.
<h1>And then the show, which oft adds commentary and subtext via typewriter-inspired subtitles, made a bigger statement about what Alba and her family were facing:</h1>
The doctor explained to Xiomara that her mother is facing medical repatriation — which is when hospitals, often at the order of health insurance companies, put sick patients who are undocumented on planes to their native countries. Xiomara's boyfriend and Jane's estranged father, soap star Rogelio (Jaime Camil), tried to use his celebrity status to pull some strings with the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Office by contacting the United Nations… and Gloria Estefan. But it was Jane's former fiancé, Michael (Brett Dier), who came through, saying that Alba is a key witness in an ongoing FBI investigation and needs to stay in the country to keep the case alive, thus stopping the deportation. While Alba is safe for now, it seems the issue could easily arise again on Jane the Virgin.
Immigration reform has been part of the conversation surrounding The CW series since November 2014, when Jane the Virgin co-star Diane Guerrero, who plays Jane's friend and co-worker, Lina, opened up about coming home from school at age 14 and finding out both her parents had been deported to Colombia. The actor urged U.S. lawmakers to find better solutions for immigrant families.