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Bringing the Border Closer to Home, One Immersion Trip at a Time

Bringing the Border Closer to Home, One Immersion Trip at a Time

Gary John Adler, Jr.

Many if not most Americans have never crossed the U.S. border with Mexico by land or spent any time in that region.

This is a good idea.

They don’t have to get all the way to the border, though. In most places, it would help them to see who washes their clothing and fixes their food, or to spend a bit of time outside of work with the person who raises their children.


I made a two week Borderlinks trip in 1996 - shortly after NAFTA was signed and the maquiladora factories opened up. Visited city hall in Nogales and met community leaders. Met with sanctuary church folks, visited communities that had occupied abandoned lands, claiming them under an article in the Mexican Constitution. Shacks were built being from fork-lift pallets and found materials . Everybody was helping everybody.
In one community we sat in on a study session for adult women. Multidisciplinary, the format was query by the instructor into what the women were dealing with and articulating core problems, through which math or civics or history might come into play. This is the Paulo Friere methodology of teaching the students to teach. The room was a shack with one table and benches and the air was electric. That one visit changed my life. If you have the chance - by all means do it. If you are a church member, check with committees to see if they link up with other church communities to organize such visits.