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Beyond Walls and Policies, Crisis at the U.S. Border

Alvaro Manrique Barrenechea and Eric A. Holness
Faculty: Karla McKanders
Course: Vanderbilt Immigration Clinic


Project Description

This video project is a response overview to the trip taken by three Vanderbilt affiliates (1 professor and 2 professional students). The professor, an immigration law practitioner brought legal aid to those in the Central American Refugee Caravan that had made its way to the US-Mexico Border. Students helped serve as interpreters, and brought relief to other volunteers working with a local organization on the other side. The story is told from a student perspective.

What knowledge or skills did you learn?

The volunteers were able to experience, in real time, what was being lived out across the border. We learned about the horrific realities that exist for those seeking asylum in this country. What we learned could not have been disseminated through local media or social media venues, only experienced in person. The need for assistance in the U.S. border is overwhelming, and a clear indication of an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

What made this project interesting for you?

This trip was clearly relevant for those in, or preparing for, careers in law, as well as those coming from religious-theological education and practice. The project enabled us to blend our personal / professional / academic passions, and try to made the world a better place in the process. During our short time in Tijuana, we were able to help vulnerable individuals in a situation of extreme crisis with compassion, dignity, and love.