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Community Engagement & Service

The Navigation of Migration and Community

US-Mexico Border

US MEX BORDER Alt Break 2016-2017

The Program:

Immigration is synonymous with the founding of the United States. Waves of migration have characterized the development of the country throughout its 250 plus year history, with notable populations coming from Western and Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and, most recently, Latin America. At the U.S./ Mexico border, although Latinos have long been present in the United States, the influx of migrants coming from various Latin American countries in recent years has once again revived fear and xenophobia into the conversations concerning immigration and national security. We will explore a variety of themes, from the root causes of immigration– such as foreign policy decisions, environmental destruction, economic trade, or crime– to the impacts that immigration has on people–such as lack of healthcare, labor rights violations, criminal justice violations, and education. Ultimately, this program hopes to create awareness of the multiple issues that migrants face when crossing the U.S./Mexico border and living in the United States, and shed light on how the current immigration system and foreign policy exacerbates the issue.

Engagement Itinerary:*

The 2018 itinerary is pending, but take a look at what they did last summer!

For the 2017 U.S.-Mexico Border Alternative Break, we are taking th e program to El Paso, TX and McAllen, TX. Anticipated program dates are Monday, May 12th through May 25th. We would like to spend the first week in McAllen working with different organizations that are directly related to our social justice theme. 

In El Paso, we anticipate working with Annunciation House and engaging in their Border Awareness Experience program to learn how immigration impacts the community both in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  This component of the trip includes a day trip to Ciudad Juarez to visit with community members and activists, visiting with experts at the University of Texas El Paso to learn more about the issue. *

Some components are subject to change as we work with community partners in establishing a concrete itinerary. 

Quick Facts

Destination(s): McAllen, Texas & El Paso, Texas

Dates: May 2018, exact dates pending

Cost: $1,600* last years price. Cost pending

Cost Includes: airfare, lodging, meals, ground transportation, travel insurance, guide, activity and entrance fees, and administrative fees. 

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Meet Your Student Leaders!

Shirley Araiza is a senior at American University currently majoring in Political Science and minoring in Public Health . Originally from Hillsboro, Oregon (outside of Portland), Shirley grew up the daughter of Mexican immigrants from Jalisco and Oaxaca who picked crops in Oregon’s agriculture industry for many years, and who had long lived in the shadows of their immigration status. This background has caused her to become interested in issues facing migrant and hispanic communities, and how the immigration system contributes to issues within these communities. She has hopes of eventually becoming an attorney or public policy professional, and moving back to Oregon and working around land and water use, labor, healthcare, and agricultural issues facing the state. She will be leading the US-Mexico alternative break for the second consecutive year in a row!