Borderlinks: Immigration & Border Migration
WHO WE ARE
We are a group of NYU undergraduate and graduate students who all have a passion for social justice and are working to learn about how to reduce inequities in our communities.
Photo credit: Alejandro Castellar, BorderLinks
Featuring in order from left to right: Carolina, Lala, Jess, Jamie, Amanda, Taymy, Kelsey, Anastasia, and Annabelle.
OUR SERVICE AND MISSION
In January, our group went on an Alternative Breaks service trip to the U.S./Mexico border. Our group traveled to Nogales, Arivaca, and Tucson to learn about the conditions undocumented immigrants face when crossing the border. We witnessed that when they try to seek asylum, they are detained by Border Patrol, and held at an ICE detention center. We went to the border itself and spoke to members of the Tohono O'Odham nation about their experiences with Border Patrol. We visited a detention center in Florence, AZ and spent time with incarcerated, undocumented detainees who told us about their individual experiences with immigration and subsequent detention. Most importantly, we were able to provide them with Spanish translation services to help them receive assistance through Mariposas Sin Fronteras, a local community organization that provides legal and emotional assistance to detained undocumented people.
During our time in Tucson, we met with representatives from No More Deaths and the Florence Project. We also witnessed Operation Streamline, a daily process through which about 75 undocumented migrants forgo their rights to a criminal trial, accept a plea deal stipulating deportation for illegal entry, and are sentenced in front of a judge.
At this time, we are looking to raise funds to help us host a series of community events to help spread and increase awareness around this social justice issue within the NYU and greater NYC community and also to help pay for the cost of the trip.
These images are a snapshot of our journey traveling from Tucson, AZ to the port of entry in Arivaca.
Border patrol agents conducting inspections at the border.
Carolina: The closer you get to a checkpoint the stiffer your body gets and you begin to wonder “Will I be asked to go through a second inspection?” This is the life of many daily in order to attend school, work or visiting a friend.
Taymy: My experience near the U.S.-Mexico border had a profound emotional impact on my understanding of the experiences of undocumented immigrants and how our legal system treats them. As a Latina and daughter of immigrants, this trip helped me connect to my ancestors and previous generations who sacrificed it all to come to the U.S. seeking a better, safer, and more prosperous life for their descendants: For me. Speaking to undocumented detainees and learning about their struggles reminds me of how resilient people are even under the darkest of circumstances. As a future psychologist, I hope to devote my services to relieving the mental health burden of these communities.
Kelsey: This trip challenged me physically, mentally, and emotionally. The manifestation of the systemic racism and oppression we witnessed was abhorrent and frankly embarrassing for me as an American citizen. We can do better. As a country and as individuals, we have to do better. I refuse to sit by as our system takes advantage of people seeking a better life and will work within my capacity as a student and soon-to-be professional to help create a country that respects the lives of all individuals.