'Frontline: Immigration Battle'
(DVD / PG / 2016 / PBS)
Overview: Inside the hard-fought battles and secret negotiations over immigration reform on Capitol Hill. Explore President Obama's push for policy changes that could impact the fate of millions and define what it means to be American for decades to come.
DVD Verdict: Why has it been so hard for Washington to fix our country's broken immigration system? In 'Immigration Battle,' a special two-hour feature film presentation from FRONTLINE and INDEPENDENT LENS, acclaimed independent filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini take viewers behind closed doors in Washington's corridors of power to explore the political realities surrounding one of the country's most pressing and divisive issues.
More than 2 million undocumented immigrants have been deported since President Barack Obama took office, a number that lawmakers on both side of the aisle agree points to a broken immigration system. A wide range of solutions has been proposed, everything from increasing deportations and strengthening the border, to expanding protections for millions in the country illegally. For now, the push for comprehensive reform is stalled in Congress. But when the debate resurfaces, here are several figures that could be key to the debate.
As we watch this indepth documentary, we find out that there were an estimated 11.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States in 2014 — down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007 — a figure that is equal to about 3.5 percent of the population.
Mexicans make roughly half of this population, but in recent years, the number of undocumented immigrants arriving from Mexico has actually fallen off, while the number of immigrants making the reverse trip has pulled about even, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, the number of immigrants from Central America has surged, from 354,000 in 1980 to 3.2 million in 2013. Indeed, in total, roughly 350,000 new undocumented immigrants enter the nation each year, according to Pew.
Another revelation may not be that the U.S. and Mexico share a 1,900-mile-long border, but moreover in 2009, the Government Accountability Office calculated that it would cost an average of $3.9 million to secure a single mile of the southern border! At least $2.4 billion has been allocated to complete about 670 miles of vehicle and pedestrian fencing. Walling off the remaining 1,300 miles could cost an additional $5.1 billion, based on the GAO’s estimates. Watch this for yourselves and learn along with the rest of us here on 'Frontline: Immigration Battle'. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.