Saturday, June 14, 2008

Week One (Group)

Hola. Somos de la Universidad de Duke en Durham, Carolina del Norte, y estamos aquí con un programa que se llama DukeEngage. Este programa existe alrededor del mundo y nosotros escogimos venir a Tucson, Arizona, y Nogales, Sonora. Vamos a trabajar con organizaciones en Tucson como No Más Muertes, Los Samaritanos, Coalición de Derechos Humanos, y una iglesia presbiteriana que se llama Southside por seis semanas después de regresar de Nogales.

Hi. We are from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and we are here with a program called DukeEngage. This program occurs all over the world, and we chose to come to Tucson, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora. We are going to be working with organizations in Tucson like No More Deaths, Samaritans, Human Rights Coalition, and Southside Presbyterian Church for six weeks after returning from Nogales.

This speech was heard many times during our first week of this DukeEngage program. Our group had the opportunity of meeting with many different people and organizations to learn about border issues, so introducing ourselves and the program was a regular occurrence. During the first week, we participated in a delegation through BorderLinks, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering knowledge about and rights of the border. Below is a brief description of the places and people we were able to learn from on this delegation.

In Tucson, Arizona:

Crossing Arizona:
Crossing Arizona is a documentary that displays all views of illegal immigration through the Arizona desert. Many people are featured, from both right and left political views, and it is a very comprehensive exhibit of the vast issue at hand.

Mike Wilson:
Mike is a member of the Tohono O’Odham Nation. The reservation is near Tucson, Arizona, and migrants regularly die on the land. Mike is an active member of Humane Borders, an organization dedicated to placing water stations in the harshest parts of the desert. Due to his status as a Nation member, Mike is the only person allowed to put out water on the Reservation.

Operation Streamline and the Tucson Courthouse:
Operation Streamline is a new government program created to deter illegal immigration. Daily, 50-70 migrants are brought to trial in the Tucson Courthouse, charged with a federal crime, and deported. It takes less time for a migrant to plead guilty and be repatriated than to plead not guilty and suffer the judicial process.

Casa Maria:
Casa Maria is a part of the Catholic Worker Community in South Tucson. It provides food to the homeless and food boxes to neighborhood families. It also distributes blankets in the winter and works for justice in causes that affect the homeless. Workers at Casa Maria willingly live on a ten-dollar per week salary, as suffering with the people is a Catholic Worker policy.

In Mexico:

Alberto Morackis and the Nogales border wall:
Alberto Morackis is a local Nogales, Sonora, public artist who uses the border wall as a place of expression. His work reflects migration and issues of the border. Militarization of the border in Nogales began with the building of the wall and Operation Safeguard in 1994 and has since increased. The 14-foot wall prevents the crossing of people and animals between Nogales, Sonora, and Nogales, Arizona.

Casa de la Misericordia:
The House of Mercy is a partner of BorderLinks on the Mexican side. Besides housing BorderLinks delegations during their time in Mexico, it also has an adult education program and offers many opportunities for children in the area.

Grupos Beta:
Grupos Beta is a federally funded agency with approximately 15 sites along the United States and Guatemalan borders with Mexico. It offers basic services such as food, water, a phone call, and information to repatriated migrants.

Altar, Sonora:
Altar is a starting point for many migrants heading north. People gather from all over Mexico to find guides, also known as “coyotes” or “polleros,” to help them make their way to the United States. These guides often lie to the migrants about distance and travel, and they charge a very high price for their services.

CCAMYN (Centro Comunitario de Atención a Migrantes y Necesitados):
The Attention Center for Migrants and those in Need, CCAMYN, is a catholic center in Altar that offers shelter and food for migrants. It is a free and safe place for those often taken advantage of by guides. CCAMYN also offers valuable advice about the dangers of the desert before migrants travel north.

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