Americans go to the polls on November 4 after one of the most tightly contested and open presidential races for some time in what may be the election that truly questions the role of the US as a global power.

Voters face an increasingly struggling economy at home and an increasingly costly war abroad. A range of other issues such as health care, immigration and the impact of globalisation will play a part in the 2008 contest.

We the People is a special series that will examine the issues weighing heavily on voters minds by travelling the country and meeting the people whose lives are most affected.

Episode Four - Immigration: No Way Out

The Hispanic community of Tulsa, Oklahoma
has more than doubled in the last decade
In this episode we focus on the Hispanic community of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has more than doubled in the last decade to more than 70,000 making it one-fifth of the city's population. Such numbers allow illegal immigrants to blend in more easily.

In 2007, the state of Oklahoma passed one of the country's toughest laws on immigration. The law, known as HB 1804, punishes anyone who hires or transports illegal immigrants. The new law has forced many illegal immigrants into the shadows. Families without proper documentation are scared to take their children to hospital when they are sick and it is harder to find work.

Immigration is one of the key issues in this year's presidential election and voters are paying careful attention to what the presidential candidates are saying about immigration reform. We the People travels to Tulsa and explores how immigration policy has divided the community.

Watch part one of We the People: Immigration

Watch part two of We the People: Immigration

Episode Three - Race

Race is already one of the issues dominating this year's US presidential election, gaining prominence with the emergence of Barack Obama as a viable candidate for the country's first black president.

Barack Obama's rhetoric inspires both teams
as they prepare for their debate
This episode of We the People follows two African-American teenagers in Washington DC who refuse to let racial stereotypes impede their dreams.

Alisha is a member of the debate team at Woodstream Christian Academy, an elite private school in the capital's suburbs.

Alexis is the star of McKinley Tech's debate team. The prestigious local public school is Woodstream's main rival for the debating crown.

We the People follows both girls as they prepare for and participate in a debate on whether public schools in Washington DC should stop teaching Black History Month.

Watch part one of Race

Watch part two of Race

Episode Two - The War: Coming Home

While most Americans would be hard-pressed to remember where they were and what they were doing when the Iraq war started five years ago, it has been a life-changing event for those most closely involved with it.

In depth

All the latest on the
US presidential election

On March 21, 2003, the Marines of Fox 2/5 were the first troops to invade Iraq.

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Mike Cerre, a former Marine himself, has followed the story of this average company of Marines, from their subsequent tours of duty in Iraq to their return to civilian life.

While most have successfully gone back to school, started families and pursued careers, others have been battling the physical and psychological effects of war.

Weaving the stories of these individual soldiers together, We the People explores a generation at war.

Watch part one of The War: Coming Home

Watch part two of The War: Coming Home

Episode One - Jobs: End Of The Line

In part one we look at the sagging American economy.

There are few places currently suffering more economic woes than the mid-west state of Ohio. Traditionally a major industrial centre the state has seen more than a quarter of a million manufacturing jobs disappear in the last eight years.

In video

Watch Jobs: End of the Line

Ohio has always proved to be a key battleground for US presidential elections - an all-important swing state. This year will be no different and the worsening economic situation has already prompted the presidential candidates to invest heavily in courting the state's voters with promises of new jobs.

In Dayton, a city of 160,000 people in western Ohio, manufacturing jobs once thrived but today, those well paying positions are almost impossible to find.

Delphi, the auto parts producer for General Motors and one of the city's main employers, shut five of their six plants. It also filed for bankruptcy in the US, after outsourcing hundreds of thousands of jobs to other countries like Mexico or China.

We the People travelled to Dayton to listen to how people are getting by with almost no prospect for restoring their core manufacturing industry.

Watch part one of Jobs: End of the Line

Watch part two of Jobs: End of the Line

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Source: Al Jazeera