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Borders Beyond the Border: Immigration and The New North Carolina


New video! Watch Qahti Hart's video on “I don’t think I could do that again.” A Mexican immigrant’s journey to North Carolina.

Since 2000, North Carolina’s immigrant population has grown faster than that of nearly every other state in the U.S. The new arrivals, mostly from Mexico, have come to work in agriculture, construction, and meat processing, as well as other industries. Counties, cities and towns have adopted very different approaches to the influx, creating borders that are rarely seen but widely understood: between documented and undocumented immigrants; between races and ethnicities, and each group’s rich and poor; between government institutions that are more welcoming or more exclusionary; and ultimately between those communities that treat immigrants as a blessing, and those that see them as a burden.

Why do certain churches become immigrant hubs while others do not? Why are some markets immigrant-friendly, others less so? And why do some North Carolina police departments encourage immigrants to feel comfortable reporting crime, while others target immigrants for arrest and deportation?

This project, a collaboration between Duke’s Forum for Publics and Scholars and reporters and producers from The New York Times and Fusion, explores the evolving identity of The Old North State through the stories of those whose lives have been reshaped by migration. We will research, document, and produce work in a variety of media exploring how changes in migration patterns – along with shifts in economics and politics – are scrambling the old dynamics and creating new challenges. Through in-depth journalism and documentary filmmaking combined with a range of academic scholarship, Borders Beyond the Border aims to produce a body of work that will be both analytical and emotionally compelling — full of data, but also characters, all in the hopes of bringing some illumination and nuance to the changes occurring in North Carolina, and by proxy, the country as a whole.



*Cover image courtesy Qathi Hart