Borderplex: Southern Immigration (US)

Dates: 3/31 – 4/5
Location: El Paso
Price Range: $3,300 – $3,800
Theme: History & Culture
Faculty Contact: Kelly Violette and Ian Corey-Boulet
The border area around El Paso (Texas), Las Cruces (New Mexico), and Ciudad Juárez (Mexico) is pulled between the conflicting realities of the USA and Mexico. Because of its history, the region represents a fascinating window into the complexities of the U.S.-Mexico border – and, in fact, the complexity of many international borders around the world. While the debate over U.S. immigration rages on, a tight-knit community of government and non-profit agencies continues to adapt to the ebbs and flows of migration over the border near El Paso and Las Cruces. El Paso has been ranked the safest large city in the U.S. for four consecutive years, in front of New York City and Austin. Its standing as one of America’s safest large cities is due in large part to the cooperation between all the different organizations, government, nonprofit, and business, which come together here at the border. In this program, EPS and World Leadership School partner with various organizations to provide students with a unique and humanizing view of immigration in the Borderplex region. Students will fly to El Paso, Texas and will quickly be immersed in complex Mexican-American culture. The students will dive into a busy week filled with interactions with a diverse range of organizations. Students have a chance to see first-hand the government agencies responsible for controlling the border, including the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. District Court; they will hear from local NGOs to learn about the migrant workforce efforts and legal advocacy initiatives; and they will meet the leaders of a network of nonprofit agencies in El Paso, which provide shelter, food, legal aid and other services to migrant workers, undocumented immigrants, and asylum seekers who pass through El Paso. On the final day, the group visits White Sands National Park at sunset. Accommodations during this trip will be at a Franciscan retreat center, and students will be asked to commit to WLS’s “unplugged” policy (no cell phones on the trip).


Day 1 – Sunday, March 31st

  • Evening arrival in El Paso, Texas
  • Community Orientation and Welcome Dinner with Border Servant Corps

Day 2 – Monday, April 1st

  • Visit to Federal Immigration Court & Processing Center in Las Cruces
  • Immigration 101 with Crystal Massey

Day 3 – Tuesday, April 2nd

  • Visit to the Mexico/US Border and meeting with Border Patrol agent – SDG #16 (Peace,
    Justice & Strong Institutions)
  • Presentation, tour and community project with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank

Day 4 – Wednesday, April 3rd

  • Morning visit with Raices del Saber (Bilingual school) – SDG #4 (Quality Education)
  • Storytelling and gorditas making with Carmen Hernández

Day 5 – Thursday, April 4th

  • Morning presentation and visit to Casa Vides/Annunciation House (Shelter for Immigrants & Asylum Seekers) – SDG #10 (Reduced Inequalities)
  • Afternoon visit and sunset hike at White Sands National Park

Day 6 – Friday, April 5th

  • Walking tour of downtown El Paso and picnic lunch at Chamizal National Memorial
  • Transfer to El Paso airport for return flight

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