Border Immersion Trips by Project Puente:
1. El Paso / Ciudad Juarez Border Immersion: groups will visit several people and agencies on both sides of this unique border community.
This is our standard border immersion trip. Groups spend time on both sides of the border in the largest bi-national community in the world. We meet immigrants who have recently crossed the border at a shelter in El Paso. We chat with a woman who started a children’s library and tutoring center in a poor community in Juarez. We visit an immigration law office and other great organizations in El Paso. We do an exercise to learn what it’s like to feed a family on the wages of a maquiladora worker in Juarez. The experience is a true immersion into the realities, complexities, and interconnectedness of these two cities.
2. El Paso / Palomas Border Immersion: groups will spend time in El Paso as well as in Palomas, a quiet Mexican town just over an our from El Paso/Juarez.
Many people are concerned about taking groups to Ciudad Juárez, given the violence the city has been experiencing. Please feel free to give West a call if you would like to get a deeper understanding of what is going on there. In response to this concern, we are now taking immersion groups to Palomas, a small village just south of Columbus, New Mexcio and about 90 minutes from El Paso. Like communities all along the border, the economy of Palomas has been hit hard by the recent drug violence. Palomas’s economy used to be sustained by wealthy drug lords who had settled there. They have all left town- leaving Palomas with an 85% unemployment rate. While in Palomas, we meet with members of a Women’s Cooperative that began as a proactive effort to turn their desperate economic situation around. These families are truly inspirational. We also meet with social workers who are able to paint a picture of what the poverty in Palomas truly looks like. We meet with workers from a small furniture factory in town as well as with agents from Grupo Beta, the Mexican agency charged with both protecting migrants and warning them about what awaits them in the United States.
3. El Paso Immersion / Service Project: designed for groups who prefer to stay on the U.S. side of the border and would like to include a service project component.
Some groups prefer not to cross the border into Mexico. For those groups we offer another version of the powerful border immersion experience. Since El Paso and Juarez and one community in many ways- a visit to El Paso will certainly give participants a glimpse into the realities of the border. Participants will visit the border fence and talk to children who live on the Mexican side. We will visit with recently arrived immigrants and hear their stories at a shelter in El Paso. We will meet with families whose lives have been deeply impacted by the immigration policies of the United States. And we will learn about the work of some incredible organizations in El Paso. We are also more than happy to set up a service project component for groups that are interested in doing some hands on work while they are here.
General Information- Project Puente Border Immersion Trips
Facilitated by West Cosgrove, who has over ten years of experience in guiding immersion trips on the US/Mexico border.
These trips are an opportunity to observe, learn about, and put a human face to border issues. Groups will visit individuals and organizations that will allow participants to see how our economic and immigration policies affect people in Mexico as well as the United States.
Trips typically last five days and are designed for 12-14 people. The cost is $100 per person per day and is all-inclusive (includes housing at Casa Puente, food, transportation upon arrival, program activities).
Our ultimate goal is to build bridges between people in other parts of the country and people here in the border region, hoping it will lead to a greater understanding of border issues and empower and enable participants to return home and work to make the world a better place.
Please contact West at (915) 351-9205 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested or would like more information.
Photos from Palomas: