US-Mexico Border: Summer 2024

U.S. - Mexico Border

This summer seminar begins by boarding a train to Atlanta or New Orleans where we will stop for 2 days and make connections with past and present immigration trends.  Another train ride will take us on to Tucson, AZ and the Mexico/Arizona border towns of Aqua Prieta, Sonora, and Douglas, AZ.  We will spend 2 weeks living in Mexico learning about the complexity of borders, regulation, laws and how U.S. policies contribute to the deaths of immigrants fleeing violence and poverty. 

This seminar focuses on the movement of goods and people across the Arizona/Mexico border. Given its geographic location and economic circumstances, Mexico is one obvious point of entry for the thousands of people entering into the United States each year. The nearly 2000-mile border that separates the U.S. and Mexico is among the world’s longest borders and is the northernmost region of Latin America. This border is not a simple physical barrier meant to regulate who and what crosses. It also forms a distinct economic and cultural region— the borderlands.

Mexico is now a major transit region for third-country migration, especially from Central America, now the largest source of U.S.-bound migrants. But migrants from many other countries can be found in the borderlands. The vulnerable position of undocumented migrants in the United States, and the potential for intimidation and abuse has led to significant instances of exploitation.

U.S. political rhetoric and policies – building new, large sections of a wall, flying migrants to northern regions of the U.S. - often obscure the actual realities for people who pass through the U.S. southern border. Frontera de Cristo, our partner for this experience, sees borders as places for encounter, compassion, and the sharing of culture. Through partnerships in both Agua Prieta and Douglas, they extend welcome and support to migrants and the surrounding communities.  Students will explore how U.S. policy responds to these complex realities, as well as how individual members of U.S. society perceive the human stories of those at the border. These are important issues for EMU students to understand because they directly impact families and members of our local community. Students in this intercultural seminar will learn from people affected by challenges in the borderlands, engage public policy, reflect on the complexity of issues, and reorient towards action.

Students will need a passport.

Seminar Leader

Deanna Durham, DASS


May 14 - June 8, 2024 (4 weeks)

Estimated Cost

$4,500 includes tuition and travel fee (subject to change)

Course Title

ICSSC 201 Intercultural Social Science: Gender, Migration and Humane Treatment in the Borderlands - 4 SH


Agua Prieta, Mexico
Douglas, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona


  • Routine – MMR, DPT series with last booster within 10 years, IPV or OPV, Hep BHepatitis A and Covid-19 as required for EMU enrollment.
  • In an effort to maximize the safety of our hosts and our students, EMU Intercultural Programs requires all employees and students who plan to travel for intercultural immersion, both domestic and international, to have completed their vaccination regimen for COVID-19 more than 14 days prior to travel. This requirement is one of the standard immunizations required for enrollment, effective Mar. 1, 2021. 

Routine immunizations and prescriptions may be obtained at EMU Health Services by appointment. 
Immunizations may also be obtained from your local health department or primary care provider.

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