For a full description on the program, please visit the DukeEngage in Tucson, AZ page.
Immigration is perhaps the single largest domestic challenge facing both the United States and Mexico today. People die nearly every week attempting to cross the border. Under a faltering economy, hostilities against immigrants in the U.S. have been mounting, with evidence in every state across the nation, including, to a large extent, in North Carolina. In 2010, Arizona came under international scrutiny with the passage of one of the toughest immigration laws in U.S. history. Local, state, and international relations are strained.
Led this summer by BorderLinks, a well-respected bi-national organization with a 20+ year history of educating around global political economics, this program has grown from an active collaboration between BorderLinks and the following Duke-affiliated units: the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South, the Center for Documentary Studies, and Student Action with Farmworkers. Students accepted into the program will spend the summer learning about the US/Mexico border, with a focus on national security, human rights, and comprehensive immigration reform. Students will also have opportunities to connect these experiences in the border region to realities back “home” in North Carolina. Tangible outcomes of this project will likely include documentary projects that students will share through exhibits, forums, class presentations, independent studies and thesis projects.
The first important group activity will be a 2-day preparation workshop led by Student Action with Farmworkers, taking place during the spring semester. This workshop will include an evening labor camp visit, meetings with farmworkers and immigrant organizations, campus organizing workshops, documentary presentations, and evaluations/final debriefings. All students accepted into the program will be required to attend this training.
For the 8-week program, the first three days will be spent in Tucson, AZ with BorderLinks. Students will participate in orientation activities, meeting with community leaders, academics, and immigrants to learn from others’ first-hand experience about the program themes. The next ten days will be spent on an educational travel seminar throughout the border region of Southern Arizona, under the leadership of BorderLinks’ bi-national staff. Participants will stay with host families during part of this time, and will work together on a service project while also hearing from activists, policy makers, academics, and local residents, including recent immigrants. The next six weeks will be spent in Tucson, AZ with each participant working directly with a community service organization by day and coming together for weekly dinners, reflections, and documentary work at the BorderLinks headquarters. Students will spend part of this 6 weeks living on site at the BorderLinks headquarters (in the dormitory) and part of the 6 weeks living with Spanish-speaking host families in Tucson. While some weekend time will be free, students will also have the opportunity to participate in one to two weekend group trips to the border region and/or surrounding areas.
Volunteer opportunities will range from working with immigrants, day laborers, and homeless people to organizing “know your rights” clinics and participating in research related to immigration, to assisting with community action/interaction and publicity efforts. We plan to continue to placing students with some of the organizations that students have enjoyed and contributed to over the past three years, including Border Action Network, Humane Borders, Southside Presbyterian Church and Day Labor Center (religious affinity not required for this placement) and possibly BorderLinks. All students will also have additional service opportunities such as the service project during the educational delegation, a weekend visit and patrol on the US-Mexico border desert, and various one-time efforts such as assisting at a community soup kitchen.