Nightly News   |  April 13, 2013

South Texas sees rise in illegal border crossings

Despite a dramatic drop in illegal immigration nationwide, south Texas, along the Rio Grande, is now seeing a rise in immigrants crossing the Mexican border, as many flee the poverty and violence in Central America. NBC’s Mark Potter reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> we are back now with immigration reform , tonight we look at border security , a problem many consider central to the overall debate in a new "" wall street journal "" poll, 17% say the border is mostly secure.

>> they are running.

>> despite a dramatic drop in illegal immigration , there's been a rise in crossing of the border as many are fleeing the violence in central america . drug trafficking is also ramp ant here, innamie ining -- inflaming the argument for border reform. this is the chief deputy of brooks county texas, 75 miles north of the border . last year officials found the corpses of 129 immigrants who died after crossing the border . martinez fears that immigration reform will spark more illegal border crossings .

>> it has to, it just makes sense that it will increase the volume of people coming across.

>> elsewhere along the border in southern arizona , nbc news hit motion sensitive cameras and recorded these images of drug smugglers crossing private land. it's a concern for resident ares, and they say that this happens routinely. immigration reform cannot begin without first securing the border say the residents.

>> it's not secure at all, until you stop that, talking about anything else is just a waste of time.

>> another view is that a comprehensive immigration agreement could help secure the border . now you free up the agents to focus on narco traffickers who continue to plague our border .

>> but janet napolitano said that it's not only important to regulate the immigrant flow but also crack down on hiring violations.

>> we want to make it easier for employers to verify the legal residency or the legal presence of those working. and we want to make it easier for them to find a job.

>> the current immigration system is broken. and the argument insists on how to fix it without threatening border security .