Border Issues: Mexico-U.S. Border Immersion

Social Concerns Seminar
SOC 33458
CSC 33458
CST 33458
ILS 33701


This seminar and experiential-learning course is broken into two parts. In the fall (for two credits), students will participate in a seminar that will expose them to various perspectives about immigration issues, especially those related to the México-U.S. border. During our in-class meetings in the fall, (approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes per week), we will discuss scholarly and journalistic accounts of why migrants leave their home countries, the struggles they face during the journey, how U.S. citizens are responding, and possible policy solutions. In the spring (for one credit), students will participate in an immersion trip to the Southern Arizona borderlands during the first week of January and in follow-up classroom meetings (approximately 50 min. per week) during the spring semester to process the immersion experience. During the immersion trip, we will observe Operation Streamline legal proceedings, be trained for and participate in humanitarian efforts, tour a Border Patrol and detention facility, visit the border wall and learn about its environmental impact, hear from faith leaders about their current and past border activism, and visit Nogales to experience everyday life in a border community. Throughout the course, particular focus will be given to the intersection of religion—especially Catholic social teachings—and border and immigration issues.

To be eligible, students must complete an application (See Application Process below). Enrollment is competitive. The 15 available spots will be chosen based on the application responses, with preference given to those submitting earliest. Students will be notified about their status within a week of submitting the application. This is a graded course. Department approval is required. For further information on the seminar, please go to the course description in Class Search. Due to the overlap in content, students who have completed the one-credit version (CSC 33966/SOC 33066) cannot take this course.

Immersion Location: 

Southern Arizona Borderlands

Immersion Dates: 

January 6-13, 2018


  • The dates, times, and location of the the spring post-immersion meetings will be announced at the end of the fall semester.
  • As part of participation in a seminar, we seek to live intentionally and simply during the immersion, please be flexible. We ask that you take the opportunity to invest fully and embrace the change of pace and amenities.
  • You will receive more specific details about your experience during preparation classes.
  • Most meals will be prepared by your team or in conjunction with your hosts on site.
  • Student leaders and your seminar director will be your liaison with community partner contacts.
  • Lodging is provided. You will be responsible for your own bedding. Please plan ahead as many sites ask for students to bring sleeping bags.
  • You must participate in all class sessions and entire immersion in order to complete requirements for the course. Immersion implies night stays. If you miss any class for any reason you will be responsible for making the class up. 


Kraig Beyerlein

Seminar Director

(574) 631-8517


$300 (plus airfare)
Students must provide their own transportation to and from Tucson, Arizona. All air travel must be confirmed with the seminar director by mid September. Partial travel scholar
Application Process: 
  • The fee covers food, housing, and supplies, and will be assessed through student accounts. If you are accepted into the seminar and decide not to participate after September 15, 2017, you will be charged the full seminar fee. Please inquire with the seminars staff about financial assistance. Some partial travel scholarships are available based on need. No scholarship applications will be accepted after November 22, 2017.
  • The application will remain open until the 15 spots are filled.
  • By submitting the application, you confirm you are in good academic standing. 
  • With questions about your application, email

The application is now closed for this seminar. For questions about future offerings or other seminars, email - Updated August 25, 2017


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