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Arizona Immersion

"The immersion exposed me to unimaginable suffering, but also let me see that there is hope and beauty in every circumstance. Immigration is no longer just a policy buzzword I hear on the news. It is a reality that both hurts people and offers salvation. I see the ways immigration can transform people's lives for the better, but also how immense suffering and injustice is enlaced into our country's legal system." -Abby Alvarez

*This cycle's program is only open to LEAD Scholars and USAA Participants*  

Monday, March 22nd - Friday, March 26th, 2021

Cost: $50 (financial aid and ELSJ core credit available)

This year, the Ignatian Center is delighted to continue the partnership with Kino Border Initiative, a binational organization that works in the area of migration and is located in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The KBI’s vision is to help make humane, just, workable migration between the U.S. and Mexico a reality. Its mission is to promote US/Mexico border and immigration policies that affirm the dignity of the human person and a spirit of bi­-national solidarity through:

  • Direct humanitarian assistance and accompaniment with migrants;
  • Social and pastoral education with communities on both sides of the border;
  • Participation in collaborative networks that engage in research and advocacy to transform local, regional, and national immigration policies

The majority of time on the virtual immersion will be spent interacting with the KBI staff at the KBI aid center (comedor) for deported migrants in Mexico, where participants will have the chance to speak with migrants at the border on video calls. The core of the experience is listening to the stories of individuals impacted by the immigration system and building relationships with them. The group will also have the opportunity to see video footage of hiking in the desert and crossing the border, learn more about the criminal prosecution of immigrants in Tucson, have a live conversation with a local ranching family, chat with a migrant in the U.S., and learn more about the immigration system.  There will be a particular focus on advocacy and activism for students to engage in around immigration issues.

Time commitment and expectation:

We ask that participants dedicate the entire week of March 22-26 to this experience, just like you would an in-person immersion. Outside of our time together on Zoom, we will incorporate media resources (articles, podcasts, videos) as well as independent reflection prompts in order to make the experience as fruitful as possible.

That being said, we plan to limit our Zoom time to ~6 hours/day. These 6 hours will be broken down into 3 daily sessions. 2 hrs in the morning, 2 hrs in the afternoon, and 2 hrs in the evening. The daytime sessions will consist of live and pre-recorded sessions with our host organizations, while the evenings will be centered around reflection on the day's activities. Our expectation is that you will be present at every session and engage fully in the entirety of the process.

Please note that applicants must be available Monday nights from 5:30-6:30 starting February 8th for our preparation meetings. These meetings will allow you to get to know your group and learn more about the communities you'll be connecting with during the immersion.