About DukeEngage Tucson 2010

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. Hostilities against immigrants in the U.S. rise daily. Local, state, and international relations are increasingly strained.

For eight weeks this summer, seven students have been given the opportunity to travel to Tucson, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico to study the many faces of immigration. Following two weeks of meetings with local activists, a Border Patrol agent, a federal public defender, lawyers, members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, maquiladora owners, Grupos Beta employees, migrants, and local farmers, we will spend six weeks partnered with Southside Day Labor Camp, BorderLinks, or Humane Borders in order to further immerse ourselves in the issues of immigration.

This blog chronicles our experiences and our perspectives on what we learn while here in Arizona. We hope our stories are interesting and informative.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Didn't You Know?

From outcries that the White House is undermining national security and "what about the drug mules" to accusations of racism and human rights abuse, the immigration debate has set the stage for so much finger pointing I'm scared to lose an eye.

But there's one wrong that's the most common and most dangerous of all, and that's ignorance.

The truth is, most people wouldn't know border politics and life if it slapped them in the face. In fact, most "border issues" (including Jan Brewer), are built upon this concept of not knowing. And that's a devastating evil, if only because it can be easily avoided.

So, without further ado, didja know...

...that since 1994—the year NAFTA was signed—the bodies of 5,600 people have been found along the border, with thousands on U.S. soil?

Did you know that in your country, people trying to keep other people from dying in the desert is considered a crime? Groups like the Samaritans and No More Deaths struggle through loopholes and lawsuits, because according to our laws, setting out water for a man collapsing of a heat stroke is "littering," and ensuring that an injured person gets medical attention is "aiding and abetting."

Did you know the Border Patrol (now with 1200 more shipped to this area!) and others are often responsible for slashing, shooting, driving over, emptying, and vandalizing water bottles set out to prevent those deaths?

That many a migrant has been detained by the Border Patrol and been abused, physically and/or verbally, denied food and often water, and their wounds never treated?

After all, a cactus spine in the eye isn't worth the tax payer's money.

Did you know that the company contracted to build the All-American Canal—a border canal and the site of at least 550 migrant deaths—refuses to string rope along the canal to save the lives of those doomed to drown should they fall in? That the walls were purposefully made dangerously steep, making it impossible to climb out even if the canal were bone dry?

Did you know the border area is the one and only site in the country where it's legal to try 35 people en masse for the same crime in the span of an hour or so?

I don't blame people for not knowing what's going on. I've lived on the border most of my life, and didn't know the half of it until this program. But I do blame you if you don't try to amend it and learn the facts—and come to your own conclusions.

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