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The Constitutional War on the Southern Border with Mexico

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Published on May 7, 2014

Illegal immigration has steeply declined over the last few years, throughout much of the southwest border. The one exception has been Texas, where apprehensions are up 69 percent.

The New York Times reported the immigrants now coming over the Rio Grande are not primarily Mexican workers. Instead, many are young families from Central America, and children without parents, seeking asylum in the United States. Immigrants are fleeing gang violence and harsh economic and political conditions in their homeland.

Within 25 miles of the American side of the border, residents are subject to property searches that would be deemed unconstitutional anywhere else in the country.

Since 2005, Border Patrol agents have killed 42 people at the border. High-powered cameras are common, and agents have conducted home invasions, using their extensive legal powers for search and detention.

Todd Miller is an author, and expert on the issue of immigration at the nation's southern border. He wrote "They Are Watching You: The National Security State and the U.S.-Mexican Border." This work examines powers provided to law enforcement agencies at the nation's borders.

Miller is our guest on the show today. He is here to talk to us about the forces driving immigration, as well as what life is like for immigrants. We'll examine some of the forces driving the Border Patrol, as well as how they received, and maintain, extra-constitutional powers. We will look at actions of the federal government, and how they affect the social and political situation for families in Central America.

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