The contentious and often dramatic debate over immigration reform that has played out in America's streets and the halls of Congress has largely failed to address the root causes of migration. Global Exchange has a special perspective to offer travelers who want to understand Mexican migration from the inside.
On a Global Exchange Reality Tour to the US-Mexico border, participants explore the root causes of immigration and meet with a diversity of groups and individuals to hear what's happening on the immigration front line. Since 1994, more than 3,600 people have died crossing the border into the US. US immigration and border security policies like "Operation Gatekeeper" have increased human rights abuses and the number of border deaths, as migration routes are pushed farther east to remote stretches of Arizona's deserts.
The global economy also plays a significant role in this region and impacts immigration patterns. More than one million farmers lost their livelihoods when the Mexican market was flooded with American agricultural products after the passage of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Learn how NAFTA and other free trade policies have affected economic reality for millions of Mexicans and have compelled so many people to migrate to the US out of need for a job. As a participant you will be exposed to the issues, meet the people creating change and learn the connections between different struggles such as environmental and economic justice, worker's rights, immigrant rights and human rights. The tour will also include a visit to a maquiladora (foreign-owned factory), meetings with women's rights groups, labor leaders and border patrol agents, and involve interactive sessions and small group discussions.
Teachers interested in joining the tour can get a free copy of "The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration." This book was written by and for teachers as a result of several border tours that Global Exchange organized in coordination with Rethinking Schools.