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Crossing the line at the border: Dying to get back

While the number of illegal crossings at the border has plummeted dramatically — roughly half the number than during peak years — just as many people are dying. Meaning for those coming into the country illegally, it is now more deadly, more lethal, than at any time in recent U.S. immigration history.

For years the age of those dying has been constant — they have been young  — but today, these statistics are changing. According to two recent studies, what may be compelling older immigrants to risk death in the desert is this: more and more often, they are mothers and fathers who have long had homes in the United States, with American children who depend on them.

Source: Humane Borders

Read the full transcript here.

This week:

Searching for answers

An extended interview with Gladys Dominguez, the 19-year-old daughter of Alfonso Martinez Sanchez. Her father died attempting to re-enter to the U.S. through Arizona’s state border desert.

Voices of mixed-status families

Cindy Huang of PBS NewsHour spoke with five families struggling with the realities of U.S. immigration law.

Report on new Border Patrol tactics

The Congressional Research Service has just released a report evaluating several tactics used by the U.S. Border Patrol including lateral deportation — a tactic used to discourage re-entry by deportees. KPBS reports.

Catch up on Need to Know’s award-winning Border Patrol series:

Crossing the line at the border, part 1

The show’s first report on the subject aired in April and sparked a federal grand jury probe. In partnership with the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute, Need to Know investigates whether U.S. border agents have been using excessive force in an effort to curb illegal immigration.

Crossing the line at the border, part 1 update

One week after our initial broadcast, we took another look at the story of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas. Plus, an interview with Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva, who tells us that members of congress have inquired about his case before, but had heard nothing from the Justice Department.

Crossing the line at the border, part 2

On Friday, July 20, Need to Know aired the second part of our investigation into alleged abuses by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Correspondent John Larson investigates stories of physical abuse, sexual assault and even torture.

Read: Renewed call for inquiry into border abuses


Web extra: Interview with Andrea Guerrero

Need to Know’s report on the circumstances surrounding the death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, an undocumented worker living in San Diego, has led to a federal grand jury probe.

PDF: Members of Congress demand investigation

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.

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