With the recent uprise of terror and bloodshed in regions across the globe, the conversation surrounding the immigration crisis has reached a critical boiling point. This is particularly true in the United States where the presidential election cycle has been awash in tough talk and political platitudes regarding the security of the nation's border to Mexico. The Empire's War on the Border transcends this shallow narrative by exposing a hauntingly tragic and deeply human dimension to the crisis.
Produced by the acclaimed investigative series The Empire Files, the film places journalist Abby Martin on the front line of the struggle. The insights she uncovers are as devastating as they are illuminating, and they often run counter to popular political rhetoric.
Within the first five years of President Obama's administration, a record number of nearly two million illegal immigrants were deported. Many points of entry into the United States have a greater militarized presence than ever before, a factor which has forced immigrants into taking more isolated and perilous routes. As a result, the desert is now littered with the remnants of the dead. In Arizona alone, over 7,000 human remains have been found along the border since 1994. These are the bodies are men, women and children who travelled an unspeakably treacherous journey to find a more blessed existence for their families in America. Government and law enforcement agencies have deterred the work of humanitarian groups like No More Deaths - whose volunteers set out jugs of water and other potentially life-saving supplies along the border route - with the threat of penalties related to littering and aiding and abetting terrorists.
As detailed in the film, the continuation of this crisis also spells big business for some. Enacted in 2005 by the Department of Homeland Security, Operation Streamline has empowered the prosecution of illegals to an unprecedented degree. In Texas, the incarceration of illegal immigrants entering the country has flooded the for-profit private prison system with a windfall of more than 1.2 billion dollars.
The political debate over immigration policy is complex, and encompasses issues related to national security, socio-economic concerns and human rights. The Empire's War on the Border clarifies much of this debate by framing it around the common human struggle for a better life.