Arizona: Immigration In The American Southwest

This program provides students the opportunity to understand lived realities of immigration in the United States. We begin the program in Phoenix, AZ by delving into the legal and administrative complexity of immigration while exploring the influence that local private businesses have on the economy and the region. We then travel to Tucson to experience a different side of the United States, working hand-in-hand with members of community schools in a peer exchange project. Through direct collaboration with families separated by the border between Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, México, we recognize how the strands of the American story are woven by a variety of people within and beyond our borders. We conclude the program by visiting the Arizona/Mexico border and engaging in meaningful conversations with local immigration agents.

This program is open to all students with a preference towards students who have a demonstrated interest in U.S. politics, history, and current events. All interested students are encouraged to apply by October 29. Financial aid is available for all trips with priority for students who have not previously received aid for a Deerfield trip.

Preliminary Itinerary:*

Day 1: Travel Day to Phoenix, AZ

Day 2: Phoenix / Travel

  • Visit with immigration lawyers – Our visit focuses on understanding the main challenges of immigration in a border state, the milestones that immigration law and practice have faced in the past, and the different legal and administrative processes that a newcomer has to go through to live in the United States.
  • In the afternoon we depart Phoenix and drive to Tucson. On the way, we make a quick stop at the Huhuam Heritage Center and learn more about the history, culture, and language of the peoples of the Gila River Indian Community.

Day 3: Tucson

  • Tour of Tucson area – We divide into small groups to engage in an Amazing Race that will orient us to the city. We regroup over lunch to discuss our perceptions of Tucson.
  • In the afternoon, we head to the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and meet with the leadership of the organization.

Day 4 – 6: Pima High School Exchange

  • Students begin their exchange with Pima High School where they will participate in an activity to define key terms that will be used throughout the exchange. Students divide into mixed groups, further deepening the connections with local students. They are guided through a design workshop to define an authentic problem that needs a solution.
  • Both groups of students will join together for a hike in Sabino Canyon, riding the tram up to the top and hiking down together to have some bonding time in the middle of the project.

Day 7: The Desert

  • After breakfast, our group heads to the Saguaro National Park to hike and meet with National Parks Service representatives. We learn about the history of the park, the NPS’ ongoing conservation efforts, and the Park’s youth engagement programs. We dive into a half-day of service with the National Parks Service to learn which challenges are most salient and how they are dealt with.

Day 8: US – Mexico Border

  • We travel to the border town of Nogales, a focal point for the current debate around legal and illegal immigration. We meet with current agents and engage in a frank and respectful dialogue, seeking to understand better how their experiences with border security influence their opinions on immigration.
  • Once back at the hotel, we gather our thoughts, check our notes, divide into two teams and have a lively, structured debate regarding immigration and border control.
  • Our experiences provide the context for our program closing, allowing us to reflect on our journey and make commitments to ourselves and to others to do something positive with the privilege of learning in this environment.

Day 9: Travel to Phoenix for return flights home

*This itinerary is subject to change

Program Notes:

  • Families are responsible for transportation from the Phoenix airport to the student’s destination for the remainder of March break.
  • During this trip students will stay in hotels and eat meals at the hotel, local restaurants, the school, and share picnics.