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.
Friday, July 23, 2010
What I Accomplished This Summer
While our classes were not always as well organized or attended as we hoped, I still think they were useful for the men. Our English tutoring improved the men’s English skills so that they are now slightly better at communicating with their patrones. Also, we taught the men how to create and use an email account and how to use craigslist and google search during our computer classes. Finally, we conducted a workshop on heat stroke, which is especially important since the men are working in extreme heat and sun exposure.
Other projects we completed include the making of an instructional video to show new members of the center the new rules. We also researched wage abuse and how the men could take action against patrones that do not pay them for their work. This is a constant problems for them and is particular tragic given that there is little work for the men to come by and that many are earning money to support their families either here in the U.S. or in their native country.
On a personal level, we established strong relationships with the men. I really thought of them as friends and I think they thought of me in the same way. We shared good conversations and had laughs. We also watched much of the World Cup together. Several of them have my phone contact information and I hope to keep in touch with them. I think I got a lot more out of this experience because I was able to be friends with the workers, some of whom are migrants from Mexico or other Central American countries. I had a personal connection with these individuals rather than just witnessing them from objective perspective that we were getting from some of the other experiences. Being close to these individuals was the most moving aspect of this trip. I also think they had a lot more fun with us around; we made things more exciting for them.